Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program
Share the land, keep traditions alive and earn money, too
The Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP) provides financial incentives to private landowners who open their property to public hunting, fishing, trapping and wildlife observation.
Landowners enrolled in VPA-HIP are also eligible to apply for additional financial assistance to create or improve wildlife habitat. Eligible practices include invasive species control, native grass and forb establishment, prescribed burning and more.
Funding was authorized in the 2008, 2014, and 2018 Farm Bills. Funds from 2018 are administered and provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture NRCS.
Apply online to enroll in VPA-HIP or contact the Program Coordinator for more information.
Resources for landowners considering enrolling in the Voluntary Public Access Program, including incentive rates and application materials, can be found below:
- Apply via fillable pdf form [Download]
- Landowner brochure[PDF]
- Habitat incentive rates[PDF]
- Habitat restoration contractors[PDF]
For VPA users
Resources to help recreators find and enjoy VPA lands can be found below:
- Code of Conduct (In English) [PDF]
- Find a property by county
- Find a property by interactive map
- Public brochure [PDF]
- Take user survey here
Important: Do not contact landowners of VPA properties asking for permission to access VPA properties. The success and future of the VPA-HIP depend on ensuring landowners' continued interest. Please follow the Code of Conduct [PDF - English | Hmong | Spanish] and reference the frequently asked questions [PDF] before accessing VPA properties.
Information regarding program performance, frequently asked questions, and program contacts across the state can be found below:
- Final Performance Report (2019) [PDF]
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) [PDF]
- VPA-HIP Service Areas [PDF]
Under sec. 895.52 of the Wisconsin Statutes, landowners are generally immune from liability for injuries received by individuals recreating on their lands. This law provides liability protection to landowners for injury or death of individuals participating in outdoor recreation. Courts have consistently interpreted this statute to protect landowners in furtherance of its purpose, which is to encourage landowners to allow others to recreate on their lands.
Under sec. 29.617, the department agrees to pay for damages arising from the operation of public hunting or fishing grounds. Claims may include damage to crops or property such as gates or fences.
This material is based upon work supported by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under number #NR205F48XXXXG001.