A new federal grant of nearly $1 million will allow the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to offer incentives to more private landowners to open their lands to fishing and hunting.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture grant, part of the federal Farm Bill, is the second awarded to the department in as many years. Last year, the state received $1.5 million to increase recreational access to private lands.
“Hunters and fishers consistently rank access to the land and water as one of their top concerns,” Nate Pamplin, assistant director of the state’s wildlife program said in a news release. “This new funding will bolster current state efforts to expand recreational opportunities in our state for years to come.”
Don Larsen, private lands coordinator for the agency, said the $993,231 grant will be used in three ways:
- Provide incentives to private landowners to allow hunting on forested properties in Kittitas, Klickitat, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens and Yakima counties.
- Work with landowners in Columbia, Garfield, Lincoln, Walla Walla and Whitman counties to improve habitat enrolled in both the federal Conservation Reserve Program and WDFW access programs.
- Initiate a “Feel Free to Fish” program in southeast Washington, paying private landowners for shoreline access to river fisheries.
Washington was one of 11 states to receive grant funding in this second year of the Farm Bill’s Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program.