MDC created the Missouri Outdoor Recreational Access Program (MRAP) to increase outdoor recreational opportunities on private land. Under this program, MDC provides annual incentive payments to private landowners who open their land for public recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing.
MDC received a three-year grant for $1.1 million through the 2014 VPA-HIP. The 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. Specifically 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.
The goal of this research is to determine the estimated net increase in economic benefits associated with VPA-HIP investments. This is based on increases in sporting and recreational activities that would not otherwise exist. In other words, this net increase is defined as the recreational and economic activity over and above current levels (prior to new VPA-HIP investments). The net increase is calculated using the recreational spending that can be associated with the additional days spent on the newly enrolled VPA-HIP private lands.
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.