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 not currently accepting new applications due to the elimination of Federal funding.  Many of the sites are still in use thanks to the generosity of the landowners. 

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.

Hunting Access

We hope to add hunting sites for doves, deer and other game if the program receives more funding. If you have a site that you think might be suitable, please keep us in mind if the program resumes.

Landowner Fishing Access Program Info

In 2010, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) is developed 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 are provided below. For more information you may contact the department at (502) 892-4457.

What was the Landowner Fishing Access Program?

The goal of this program was to promote and increase recreational fishing and boating opportunities in Kentucky. Private landowners who owned farm ponds, lakes, boat ramps, or stream access could enroll in the program and receive a financial reimbursement from KDFWR to allow the public to access these areas. Landowners were 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 was 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 was there to enroll in the program?

KDFWR provided a financial reimbursement to landowners who enrolled in the program. The amount was based upon scoring criteria that were evaluated by Department personnel and the type of access the landowner was enrolling (stream access, farm pond access, or boat ramp access). Additional reimbursement was provided for parking facilities, vegetation control, access road improvements, fencing, gates, and signage. The amount of reimbursement was calculated on an annual basis with longer agreement periods resulting in higher reimbursement. Reimbursements were made on an annual basis for both single and multi-year agreements.

Does the Department offer other similar type programs?

There was a similar program allowing public access to private lands for hunting.

Was 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.

Could a participating landowner establish special restrictions on his property?

A landowner could 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.

Could a participating landowner temporarily close off access to their property?

The landowner could 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 could 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.

Did the Department post signs on enrolled property?

KDFWR posted 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.

Was the landowner required to maintain the land enrolled in the program?

KDFWR helped  maintain the site through regular site visits and inspections of the property. Trash was picked up and removed during these inspections. The Department was not be responsible for repairs needed to parking areas and access roads.

The success of this program hinged upon the participation of qualified landowners and the cooperation of the public who used these areas. Landowners expected the public to have respect for their land and the public will expect ease of access to areas in the agreement.  In its initial three years, the program was very successful and was only discontinued due to lack of Federal funding.  The Department is committed to the resumption of this program and is actively seeking new sources of funding.