Landowners have until March 15 to submit applications to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks for enrollment in the Unlocking Public Lands (UPL) Program or the Public Access Land Agreement (PALA) Program.
These programs are designed to provide recreational public access to state (Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation) or federal (Bureau of Land Management or United States Forest Service) land where no or limited legal public access currently exists.
For enrollment in UPL, landowners will receive a tax credit in the amount of $750 per agreement and up to a maximum of $3,000 tax credits in exchange for allowing access across the private lands, roads or trails to reach inaccessible public land. Landowners decide how the public may cross their private property and may limit access to foot traffic only.
For enrollment in PALA, landowners will receive monetary compensation, including possible reimbursements to facilitate public access to inaccessible public lands based on the location, duration and opportunity provided. Compensation amounts vary based on a variety of factors. The governor-appointed Private Land/Public Wildlife (PL/PW) Advisory Committee will review complete applications at an upcoming meeting and make a recommendation to the FWP director whether to extend an agreement.
“Offering a tax credit or a reimbursement for access to public land is a unique and innovative way to respect private property rights, build hunter/landowner relations and increase public access,” said Jason Kool, FWP hunting access bureau chief. “We hope these opportunities and incentives may appeal to landowners throughout the state.”
While Montana contains millions of acres of public land, much of this land is inaccessible and requires landowner permission to cross private land to reach the adjoining state or federal land.
More information about these two programs, including enrollment criteria, application forms, and fact-sheets describing these and other FWP public access programs can be found at: fwp.mt.gov/hunt/landownerprograms.