Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Minnesota
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Minnesota Project

Evaluation of Walk-in Access User Program

September 2012 - June 2014


Participating Agencies

  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

The Walk-In Access (WIA) program provides public access to private land and pays landowners by the acre to allow hunting access. The program is currently in its second year of a three-year Walk-In pilot program. The program has grown to more than 15,000 acres giving hunters access to more than 150 sites across 21 counties. Feedback indicates that the Walk-In access is working for both hunters and landowners. The majority of WIA acres are enrolled for multiple years and are also enrolled in a federal or state conservation program designed to maintain cover on the acres. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funded the first two years of the program and the Minnesota Legislature has approved additional funding for WIA. A $5 surcharge on non-resident hunting licenses has been directed to the program and resident hunters have the opportunity to donate $1, $3 or $5 to the program when purchasing a small game or deer license. Hunter support is key to the program. Using the land, respecting the land and identifying a method to fund the program for the long term will be essential to build the future of the program. Objectives: 1) Develop a survey instrument and self-administered mail back questionnaire to WIA users to determine basic attitudes and support for the WIA program. 2) Develop a dataset for analysis so that data can be presented at Legislative hearings, public meetings, and to wildlife staff. 3) These results will be compared with other surveys and programs to develop recommendations for future funding and management of the WIA program.