News release: Landowner enrollment to begin for Walk-In Access Program

March 13, 2023

Enrollment opens Wednesday, March 15, for Minnesota’s 2023 Walk-In Access program, which pays landowners to allow public hunting on private lands.

Since 2011, the Walk-In Access program has enrolled parcels of 40 acres or larger with high-quality natural cover. Land enrolled in conservation programs like the Conservation Reserve Program or Reinvest In Minnesota is preferred, but enrollment in such programs is not a requirement. This year, landowners can receive $18 per acre enrolled. For more information about what land is eligible for this program, visit the DNR website

A $3 fee paid when purchasing a hunting license allows a hunter to access enrolled parcels, which are marked with highly visible signs posted by DNR staff. Walk-In Access is often seen as a win-win for hunters and landowners, Walk-In Access Program Coordinator Amber Knutson said.

“For just $3, hunters have nearly 30,000 acres of privately-owned land available to them,” Knutson said. “Hunters can have confidence that they’re welcome on that parcel, and that can be a big time-saver in the field.”

Participating hunters can access Walk-In Access parcels Sept. 1 through May 31. Hunting laws are enforced by DNR Conservation Officers. Landowners aren’t required to purchase additional liability insurance since enrolled lands are covered by recreational use laws under Minnesota state statute.

This program is primarily funded through a Voluntary Public Access grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Additional funding sources come through a surcharge on all nonresident hunting licenses, Walk-In Access validations, and donations.

Landowners can sign up for the program at their local Soil and Water Conservation District office or by contacting Knutson at 507-537-6464. More information is available at the DNR’s Walk-In Access page

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