The Voluntary Public Access Habitat Incentive Program is a new program led by the Franklin Land Trust, in partnership with the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC), and the Massachusetts Forest Alliance, and funded by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The goal of the program is to increase public access on privately-owned lands for hiking, fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing by providing financial incentives to landowners.
The VPA program offers temporary or permanent easements to landowners who allow public access for hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, and hiking on their land. Landowners can choose between a full access easement, or a trail easement. Funding rates will vary depending on how much land is enrolled and the duration of time.
Eligible landowners must have a forest management plan, or a conservation plan and live within a designated 28 town region in northwestern Massachusetts, (see map). Proof of ownership must be provided in order to be eligible to receive Massachusetts VPA funds.
Click here for a program information guide.
Click here for VPA FAQs.
Click here to download an application.