Landowners have until March 16 to submit applications to Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks for enrollment in the Unlocking Public Lands Program to be eligible for up to $3,000 in tax credits.

The Unlocking Public Lands program is 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 legal public access currently exists.

In exchange for access across the private lands, landowners will receive a tax credit in the amount of $750 per agreement and up to a maximum of $3,000 tax credit per year. Landowners decide how the public may cross their private property and may limit access to foot traffic only.

“Offering a tax credit in exchange for allowing public access across private land to reach public land is a unique and innovative way to increase public access,” said Jason Kool, FWP hunting access bureau chief. “We hope these opportunities and tax incentives may appeal to landowners throughout the state in a different way.”

While Montana contains nearly 29 million acres of public land, much of this land requires landowner permission to cross private land to reach the adjoining state or federal land.

More information about the program, including enrollment criteria and the application form, can be found at http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/hunterAccess/unlockingPublicLands/.

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