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COMMENT PERIOD OPENS ON EXPANSION OF VOLUNTARY PUBLIC ACCESS PROGRAM

February 7, 2012

MADISON - The public has 30 days to comment on an environmental assessment for a federal grant that encourages private landowners in Wisconsin to open their lands to public hunting, fishing, trapping and wildlife observation.

The Department of Natural Resources received a $936,040 Voluntary Public Access grant in August 2011. Those funds would be used to purchase access leases in 37 counties. In September 2011, Wisconsin received a second allocation of $1,030,045. The DNR proposes to expand into an additional 12 counties where grant funds can be used to lease land and provide the public with new opportunities for hunting, fishing, trapping and other wildlife-dependent recreation.

Along with the original 37 counties already approved for enrollment into the program, the proposed expansion would include Polk, Barron, Clark, Jackson, Juneau, Adams, Sauk, Columbia, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake and Kewaunee counties.

The DNR received the funding in the most recent federal Farm Bill as part of the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP)[Exit DNR]. As part of the funding award, the agency is required to complete a Programmatic Environmental Assessment in accordance with National Environmental Policy Act requirements.

The department released a Notice of Availability Feb.7, 2012, announcing a 30-day public comment period. Comments will be accepted until March 7, 2012.

A copy of the document can be found on the Voluntary Public Access page of the DNR website. Comments may be submitted to Melissa Keenan via e-mail at melissa.keenan@wisconsin.gov or via regular mail at DNR, 101 S. Webster St., PO Box 7921, Madison, WI, 53707-7921..

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Melissa Keenan, 608-266-5560

Last Revised: Tuesday, February 07, 2012




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