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Access Questions

Forest Crop Law (FCL) and Managed Forest Law (MFL)

The public may use MFL-Open lands for hunting, fishing, hiking, sight-seeing and cross-country skiing. Only hunting and fishing are allowed on FCL lands. All DNR hunting and fishing regulations and seasons apply. All other uses are prohibited unless the landowner gives permission.
What if I am denied access to or asked to leave open MFL/FCL lands?

Anyone denied access to or asked to leave open MFL/FCL lands should report that information to a local DNR tax law forestry specialist or call the DNR call center toll free at 1-888-WDNRINFO (1-888-936-7463).

Do I need permission to access open MFL and FCL lands?

You don't need permission from the landowner; however, contacting the landowner is encouraged, especially if the landowner lives near the site or when access is not readily apparent.

If the MFL-Open lands are not on a public road, can I access the property?

Landowners with MFL-Open lands are required to provide access across their MFL-Closed or non-tax law lands if other reasonable access is not readily available. In these situations, landowners may post signs indicating the preferred access route for the public to access the open lands. The public should contact landowners to ask where the access is if it is not readily apparent.

Can I cross lands that are listed in the plat book as "USA" or "USA trust" to access MFL-Open or FCL lands?

Please be aware that federally designated and listed tribal trust lands (which are typically listed as "USA" or "USA trust" in plat books) within or outside of established tribal reservations are not open to public access and that failure to obtain tribal permission to cross those lands could subject you to a trespass citation.

Can landowners deny access to MFL-Open or FCL lands?

No, landowners cannot deny access to MFL-Open or FCL lands, including limiting the number of hunters on the land or restricting access to a certain hunting period or season. Landowners can post signs indicating the preferred access route for the public to access the open lands.

If the landowner has no legal access to the MFL-Open land, how do I access those properties?

Landowners who have no legal access to their own MFL-Open lands will need to change the designation to MFL-Closed or withdraw the land. MFL-Open lands need to be accessible by the public.

Are the open MFL/FCL lands signed?

Landowners of open MFL/FCL lands are not required to sign their lands as open. Any posting of signs is the landowner's choice. If landowners do post their open MFL/FCL lands, signs must clearly identify both the uses that are and are not allowed.

The DNR listing shows lands as MFL-Open or FCL, but when I got to the property, there were "No Trespassing" signs posted. Is the property open to public access or not?

Lands identified on the DNR website as open to public recreation must be open to public recreation for the entire year. If you are sure that you are on the right property and see that the landowner has posted "No Trespassing" signs, please report this occurrence to the local DNR tax law forestry specialist or DNR warden.