Assessing the economic benefit of the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP): 2016

Date Published: 

Sunday, December 31, 2017


  • Thomas Treiman

Paper Summary/Abstract: 

With 93% of the state’s land being privately owned, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) focuses on creating access to outdoor recreational activities by leasing land from private land owners. MDC administers more than one million acres of public land and actively manages more than 200,000 acres for wildlife habitat on these public conservation areas each year. According to Southwick Associates’ Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation report, Missouri was ranked #8 for total number of resident hunters in the U.S. and #6 by total number of non-resident hunters. In fiscal year 2014, there were 576,000 hunters and 1.7 million wildlife watchers in the state. The number of small game, deer and turkey permits purchased has remained relatively constant over the past three years.

MDC received a three-year grant for $1.1 million through the 2014 VPA-HIP. The state’s overarching goal is to provide and expand recreational activities, such as small and large game hunting and wildlife viewing, for urban and rural residents and non-residents alike. More specifically, their goals are to:
• Increase and enhance wildlife habitat for small game and other wildlife species on private land.
• Increase the interest and number of small game hunters by providing additional lands and hunting opportunities on private lands.
• Increase youth hunter recruitment by providing access to private lands that provide hunting opportunities with less competition and hunting pressure relative to MDC Conservation Areas.
• Provide wildlife watching opportunities on private lands, especially on lands in close proximity to major metropolitan areas.

This research estimates contributions of newly enrolled acres and expanded outdoor recreational activity resulting from the 2014 Farm Bill VPA-HIP investments.

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