Public land hunting is the rage these days with hunters across the country seeking out the challenge of taking wild game on equal opportunity hunting lands across the U.S. Public lands provide an incredible opportunity for hunters, fishermen and outdoor enthusiast across the country. But did you know there are 9.52 million acres of landlocked public land? These are some of the most pristine and game-rich grounds across the country, with zero access to public hunters.
Is there any hope for unlocking some of the 9.52 million acres of landlocked public lands?
onX is making a move to help make a difference in public land opportunities on these landlocked public land areas. Knowing that Americans are locked out of 9.52 million acres of public lands—onX has partnered with TRCP (Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership) to help increase access.
Over the past several months, members of the onX team have worked closely with the team at the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership to produce a Landlocked Public Lands Report, a 15-page document that reveals a startling 9.52 million acres of public lands—from forests and prairies to riverbanks and foothills—across the Western U.S. are inaccessible. This report will be sent to Washington, D.C. for lobbying.
In Washington, the report will be used to push for the reauthorization of LWCF (Land and Water Conservation Fund) and to expand law/policymakers’ understanding of how the issue of access has changed and how resources can be used more effectively to serve the GPS-equipped hunter/angler.
The crew at onX are the experts when it comes to mapping designed to help define public and private land boundaries. Defining public / private land boundaries benefits both private landowners and the public, helping hunters to know where they can legally hunt and preventing trespassing. onX is a strong supporter of private property rights and working with landowners to increase access where possible.
onX is working to help unlock the lands for increased public land hunting opportunities.
How is onX working to help solve the landlocked public land problem?
Using their refined data on public lands and roads, onX conducted an analysis to determine the accessibility of every piece of federal public land in the West. This first-of-its-kind, multi-step process produced the total acreage of all landlocked lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service and other federal agencies in 13 Western states.
For the purposes of this report, landlocked public lands are defined as federally managed lands that cannot be accessed directly from a public road (direct access) and cannot be accessed via adjoining public land by way of a public road (indirect access). Only permanent legal access was considered for this report, but existing access across some private lands may be given at the discretion of the landowner, and in many places permanent public access is assumed but not proven.
The report being sent to Washington notes, “Even though the Land and Water Conservation Fund is the single most powerful tool for opening landlocked public lands and connecting even more Americans to their best days afield, the program is set to expire on September 30, 2018. If this were to occur, conservation groups and public land management agencies would have limited ability to open and expand access to America’s public lands, despite the commitment of many public officials to do just that.”
So what can you do to help? Let your lawmakers know the future of public land access depends on the Land and Water Conservation Fund. To learn more and take action, go to unlockingpubliclands.org.