In 1993, the Oregon Legislature created the Access and Habitat Program. The new law created an incentive-based program to improve public hunting access and wildlife habitat on private lands in Oregon.
The program’s motto, “Landowners & Hunters Together for Wildlife,” conveys the program’s basic mission to foster partnerships between landowners and hunters for the benefit of the wildlife they value. The program also seeks to recognize and encourage the important contributions made by landowners to the state’s wildlife resource.
The funding for the Access and Habitat Program comes from 3 sources: a $4 surcharge on all hunting licenses, the annual auction and raffle of 10 deer and 10 elk tags, and funding from the Green Forage and Deer Enhancement and Restoration Program.
Access and Habitat activities are designed to be grass roots in nature. Individual landowners are encouraged to submit proposals for evaluation and possible funding. Contact your local ODFW wildlife biologist for assistance in drafting a proposal. The biologist will also put you in touch with our Regional Access and Habitat Coordinator. If you are interested in serving on the Access and Habitat Board or a Regional Advisory Council, contact the Access and Habitat Program Coordinator. More Information
A 7-member citizen board provides oversight of the Access and Habitat Program. Appointed by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, the board consists of 3 members representing agriculture and timber landowner interests, 3 members representing hunter interests, and 1 chair who represents the general public. Six, 7-member councils throughout the state act as advisory councils to the State Access and Habitat Board.
Since its inception in 1993, the Access and Habitat Program has provided hunting access to over 8 million acres and improved over 1.6 million acres of wildlife habitat. Ninety percent of A&H projects provide public hunting opportunities on private lands. The Enhanced Law Enforcement patrols maintain public access to over 3.5 million acres of productive Oregon industrial timberlands. In addition, A&H funds open nearly one million acres of farms, ranches, and other private lands througout Oregon.
This biennium, A&H used grant funding made available the 2014 Farm Bills to provide 260,000 additional acres of hunting access, including property in the Willamette Valley and Central Oregon where participation in A&H has historically been low. The projects active during the 2015-2017 biennium improved habitat on over 40,000 acres of private land. Common habitat enhancements include juniper removal, noxious weed control, spring development, riparian restoration, and wildfire emergency seeding.
The Access and Habitat Program was reauthorized by the Legislature in 2009, extending its benefits to Oregon’s citizen and wildlife resources through December of 2019.