Landowners have until March 15 to submit applications to Fish, Wildlife, & Parks (FWP) for enrollment in a new program called Unlocking Public Lands that may qualify a landowner for up to $3,000 in annual tax credits. Through this program, a landowner who enters into a contractual agreement with FWP to allow public recreational access across private land to reach a parcel of otherwise inaccessible state or federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or United States Forest Service (USFS) land is entitled to receive a $750 annual tax credit per contract, with a maximum of four contracts per year.
The Unlocking Public Lands program is a product of the 2015 Legislature, which expanded a program called Unlocking State Land passed by the previous legislature. While Montana contains nearly 31 million acres of BLM, USFS, and state land, much of this land requires landowner permission to cross private land to reach the state or federal land.
“The concept of offering a tax credit in exchange for allowing public access across private land to reach public land is a unique and innovative way to provide incentives to landowners willing to accommodate public access,” said Alan Charles, FWP Coordinator of Landowner/Sportsman Relations. “The Department hopes these new opportunities and incentives may appeal to landowners throughout the state.”
More information about the program, including enrollment criteria and the application form, can be found at http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/hunterAccess/unlockingPublicLands/.