Access Yes! Bids Due by End of February

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Idaho landowners who want to take part in Fish and Game's Access Yes! program have until the end of February to bid for 2004.

Funding is still quite limited for this new access program, with allocations going equally to the seven regions except for the Magic Valley, which will have an extra $10,000 because of the amount of acreage in the program last year, more than any other region. Landowners deal with regional Fish and Game offices in this program. Local sportsman committees decide which lands can be enrolled.

Access Yes! began operations in 2003 using funding taken from other Fish and Game programs. Until a permanent funding mechanism is found, money will be limited, but initial assessments of the first year of operation indicate it is popular with hunters and the landowners who participated.

Access Yes! is intended to increase hunting and fishing access to private lands and to public lands that would otherwise not be accessible through private lands. It compensates willing landowners who provide access to private land or through their property to public land. In 2003, Access Yes! accounted for access to 107,000 acres of private land and access through private land to an additional 240,000 acres of public land.

Fish and Game spent $117,000 on the program in its first year with $300,000 budgeted for the program in 2004.

Expanding Access Yes! to provide more hunting and fishing access on private and public land will require additional funding. About $1.2 million is needed to provide Idaho hunters and anglers access comparable to access programs in other western states.