From the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
-- The Nebraska Game and Parks Board of Commissioners was pleased to learn May 29 that landowners have enrolled 14,346 land acres, 120 pond acres and 17 river miles in the new Open Fields and Waters program. The board held its regular meeting at the Curtis Community Center in Curtis.
“This is a pilot program and the fact that we have already enrolled 52 contracts speaks to the program's potential popularity,” said Rex Amack, director Commission director.
The enrolled lands comprise 6,263 acres of woodland, 186 acres of wetland, 5,730 acres of grassland, and 2,165 acres of cropland. Another 21 contracts, for 16,049 land acres, are pending. Eight pond acres and 2 river miles also are pending.
The commissioners understand new access programs take a while to get started because landowners often have existing commitments to friends, family and people who lease for agricultural and/or recreational purposes.
“We expect the program to grow considerably in the second year — then we will give it a full review,” Amack said. “We are very grateful to the landowners who have been pioneers in this new effort; they are playing an important role in maintaining Nebraska's rich outdoor heritage.”
The Open Fields and Waters program's focus is to expand hunter and angler access to private lands. Landowners who enroll receive payments on a per-acre basis. Payment rates differ according to geographic location and hunting quality.
Interested Nebraska landowners have until June 11 to enroll in the program for the fall hunting season. For additional information, landowners may call or stop by the nearest Commission office or visit OutdoorNebraska.org.