Voluntary Public Access on Private Land (VPA-HIP)

Voluntary Public Access and Habitat incentive program  
Public fishing access  

The Voluntary Public Access on Private Land (VPA-HIP) program is a new initiative to provide more access to anglers and hunters. Using federal funding from the USDA/Farm Service Administration, KDFWR is providing financial reimbursement to qualified landowners in exchange for allowing the public to hunt or fish on private land. The landowner retains all rights to his land and may withdraw from the program at any time. KDFWR will assist by providing signage and trash pickup. For additional information, see “Participating in the VPA Program”, below.

Keep in mind that these fishing and hunting access sites are on private land. Continuing access is dependent upon the good behavior of the public users. Please observe all regulations, show common courtesy towards the landowner and others, and leave the site as you found it.

VPA Fishing Access Sites

VPA Fishing Access Sites

Hunting Access

We currently don’t have any hunting access sites to list here, as this is a new program. In the near future we hope to add hunting sites for doves, deer and other game. If you have a site that you think might be suitable, please see the “Participating in the VPA program” section.

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 fw.publicaccess@ky.gov.

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.

Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program

General Program

  • Program will expand existing Public Dove Field Access Program, and create CREP Hunter Access Program and Landowner Fishing Access Program.
  • Hunting opportunities for the public for deer, dove, turkey and small game will be increased.
  • Fishing opportunities for the public through new access to private lands containing streams, ponds, lakes and boat ramps will be increased.
  • Wildlife viewing and other recreational activities for the public will be increased.
  • Participating private landowners will be compensated annually for allowing the public to use their land for hunting, fishing and other recreational activities.
  • KDFWR can not do any construction.
  • Program is committed to keeping areas free of trash and litter.

CREP (Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program) Hunter Access

  • Program strives to make at least 10,000 acres of the Green River CREP available to hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing through access agreements.
  • Program will use funding to establish access agreements for hunting and wildlife viewing and will provide incentives to encourage landowners to select higher quality and better management activities to improve habitat.
  • Depending on type of Mid-Contract Management Option, landowners may receive incentive payments ranging from $13 - $42 per acre.
  • The CREP Hunter Program will begin with letters being sent to all participants.

Dove Field Access

  • Program strives to increase the number of fields currently enrolled by 25 through increased payment and adding more fields.
  • Program will provide up to $10,000 for a 40-acre dove field depending on land and access quality, and type of crop planted.
  • Program will begin with private land biologists contacting known landowners.

Landowner Fishing Access

  • Program will initially improve stream access along priority areas including Elkhorn Creek, Lake Cumberland tailwater, and Green River.
  • Program strives to enroll a minimum of 15 stream bank fishing access sites, 10 boat ramp sites, and 10 lake/pond sites by July 2011.
  • Highest priority will initially be given to those with land adjacent to “high quality” fishing areas.
  • Initially, landowners in priority areas will be contacted by Department personnel, however, all private lands across the state are eligible for the program.
  • Highest ranking stream access sites may receive compensation up to $2,500 and additional compensation may be added based on specific needs of the site.
  • Highest ranking boat ramp access sites may receive compensation up to $1,500.
  • Highest ranking private lake/pond access sites may receive compensation up to $2,000.


  • The Department has received $651,000 for the first year (3 year program) to administer the program and provide compensation to private landowners involved in the program.
  • Compensation provided on an annual basis.
  • Voluntary enrollment.
  • Mutually agreed upon terms set by both the private landowner and KDFWR will accommodate landowner’s special needs and requirements.
  • Access areas will be marked with signs and directions to locations will be made available to the public.
  • Landowners enrolling for multiple years up front will receive bonus payments.
  • Informational materials will include brochure, fact sheet and details on KDFWR web page.
  • Applications for specific access programs will be graded based on specific criteria set by the Department.
  • Preference will be based on amount of land provided, ease of access (parking & terrain), number of restrictions and other pertinent information.
  • This program is in its infancy and it is hoped it will continue for many years, allowing us to expand the number of hunting, fishing, and other recreational opportunities for the public.
  • Department will continually evaluate the program and make improvement as necessary.
  • Department will hire a coordinator and two seasonal positions as well as utilize existing staff as necessary.
  • Staff will concentrate on meeting the needs of the private landowners enrolled in the program (signage and litter removal) as well as the public using these areas.
  • Interested landowners should contact the Department for more information at 502-564-7109 ext. 4457 or fw.publicaccess@ky.gov

Future Site Status

  • Confirmed and soon to open: 0 sites
  • Evaluated sites to be confirmed: 0 sites
  • Submitted but yet to be evaluated: 5 stream sites, 1 pond site, 1 boat ramp site

All sites represent 31 streams in 36 counties (current to 03/31/2012)