The Missouri Department of Conservation says the application period runs through October 15th for landowners interested in participating in the Missouri Outdoor Recreational Access Program. The MRAP program provides annual incentive payments to landowners and other financial assistance to improve wildlife habitat in exchange for the landowner opening up their property for public walk-in hunting, fishing, or wildlife viewing.
The landowner can choose options of all access hunting and fishing, small game and turkey hunting, youth only hunting and fishing, archery hunting, fishing only, or wildlife views. Most MRAP access types are open to the public year-round, however, archery hunting and small game and turkey properties are open only during relevant legal seasons.
Offered lands must meet minimum eligibility requirements such as being at least 40 contiguous acres or at least a one-acre pond for fishing access. Wildlife viewing properties must be at least five contiguous acres and be located within highly populated counties. Eligible lands must be comprised of at least 20% quality wildlife habitat such as native grass fields, crop field buffers, restored wetlands, or managed woodlands.
The annual incentive payments are between $15 and $25 per enrolled acre. The program’s funding comes from a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant. 10,000 acres can be enrolled in the program this year with federal funding.
Public use is limited to foot traffic only. Properties must be open one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. Equipment and gear are carry-in-carry-out daily.
Participating landowners are offered liability protection through Missouri’s Recreational Use Immunity Law.