Landowner Fishing Access Program Info
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) is developing a new program to help promote and increase recreational fishing and boating opportunities throughout Kentucky. Information, as well as commonly asked questions, about the program is provided below. For more information you may contact the department at (502) 564-7109 ext. 4457or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the Landowner Fishing Access Program?
The goal of this program is to promote and increase recreational fishing and boating opportunities in Kentucky. Private landowners who own farm ponds, lakes, boat ramps, or stream access can enroll in the program and receive a financial reimbursement from KDFWR to allow the public to access these areas. Landowners are not selling or giving up the rights to their land, but merely agreeing to allow the public access to these specific areas for the sole purpose of fishing and/or boating.
Who is eligible to enroll in this program?
Any landowner who owns access to a stream, river, lake, or farm pond including boat ramps or canoe access sites.
How much financial incentive is there to enroll in the program?
KDFWR will provide a financial reimbursement to landowners who enroll in the program. The amount is based upon scoring criteria that will be evaluated by Department personnel and the type of access the landowner is enrolling (stream access, farm pond access, or boat ramp access). Additional reimbursement may be provided for parking facilities, vegetation control, access road improvements, fencing, gates, and signage. The amount of reimbursement is calculated on an annual basis with longer agreement periods resulting in higher reimbursement. Reimbursements are made on an annual basis for both single and multi-year agreements.
When will the landowner receive reimbursement?
Reimbursement for each agreement year that runs from March through February will be received in February. Reimbursements will be prorated based on the number of months the access site has been enrolled in the program for that agreement year.
When does a landowner need to apply for enrollment into the program?
The landowner can apply at any time during the agreement year. A Department review will decide whether the site becomes enrolled in the program during the current agreement year or is deferred to the beginning of the next agreement year.
Does the Department offer other similar type programs?
There is a similar program allowing public access to private lands for hunting.
Is a participating landowner liable should the public hurt themselves while accessing their property?
KRS 411.190 generally relieves the landowner of any liability suffered in connection with fishing or boating while enrolled in this program unless the liability suffered is due to the landowner’s willful or malicious failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, structure, or activity. KRS 411.190 can be viewed here.
How long can a landowner enroll in the program?
A landowner can choose to enroll in the program on an annual basis or can elect to enroll for multiple years. Maximum enrollment in the program initially shall be 3 years.
Can a participating landowner establish special restrictions on his property?
A landowner can require special restrictions be established at their property prior to enrolling in the program. Examples of such restrictions may include, but are not limited to the following: (1) no alcohol; (2) no off-road vehicles (ATV’s); (3) no campfires; (4) no swimming; and (5) day use only.
Can a participating landowner temporarily close off access to their property?
The landowner may temporarily close off access to their property for weather, fire danger, or other circumstances that would put the public in danger or jeopardize the resource. A landowner may also request that the Department close off their property during certain periods of the year (i.e. no fishing during winter months) in the initial agreement.
Will the Department post signs on enrolled property?
KDFWR will post signs informing the public about the access site and associated boundaries. Signs may include language concerning where to park vehicles, as well as, rules and regulations at the site. Replacement of signs will be the Department’s responsibility.
Will the landowner be required to maintain the land enrolled in the program?
KDFWR will help maintain the site through regular site visits and inspections of the property. Trash will be picked up and removed during these inspections. The Department will not be responsible for repairs needed to parking areas and access roads. Maintenance issues should be discussed with the Department prior to enrolling in the program.
The success of this program will hinge upon the participation of qualified landowners and the cooperation of the public using these areas. Landowners will expect the public to have respect for their land and the public will expect ease of access to areas in the agreement. The Department is committed to this program by maintaining proper signage, keeping access areas clean, communicating with landowners, and informing and educating the public about these access sites.