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Landowner Relations Program

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Access Program
 

What is the Access Program?
The Access program is a cost-share program funded through Heritage funds with the main objective of working cooperatively with private landowners across the state to create and maintain public access.

Why do we need the Access Program?
Arizona consists of about 72.6 million acres, of which only 18% is privately owned. About 33% is public land while 13% is State Trust land. Some 4.5 million acres of State Trust and other public lands, or 6.1% of Arizona, is "landlocked" by privately owned lands and not legally accessible by public means such as established right-of-ways, easements, etc.

Access restrictions in Arizona have increased substantially over the last decade. Private landowners continue to close off access to public lands that are landlocked by their private property where access was once permitted.

What can the Access Program provide to a landowner?
The Landowner Relation Program utilizes funds provided through the access program to perform various projects with private landowners in exchange for short-term or perpetual access agreements. These projects vary in scale depending on the importance of the access point as well as the length of the access agreement.

Access funds can also be utilized to purchase perpetual public access easements on privately owned roads that can provide public access to federal lands.

What type of projects can be accomplished?
The projects that can be accomplished vary greatly, depending on the landowner's and wildlife habitat needs. The Department has assisted in cost sharing on brush treatments to restore grasslands, dirt tank clean-outs, installing water distribution systems and drinkers, fencing and grassland reseeding. P

What about Private Property Rights?
The Department respects the rights of private landowners. Accordingly, private landowners have every right to deny access through their property, and they will do so if the common problems that have historically caused landowners to deny access through their lands are not effectively addressed and continuously monitored.

The seven most common reasons for landowners denying access are:

- Vandalism
- Trespassing
- Littering
- Off-road activities
- Disruption of landowner operations
- Liability Issues
- Undocumented Immigrants and Drug Trafficking (Southern Arizona)

Contact Information
For additional information or questions on the Access Program Please contact Al Eiden, Private Lands Stewardship Coordinator at (623) 236-7624 or aeiden@azgfd.gov.

Additional Resources
- Sample Access Agreement [PDF, 49kb]
Access agreements are customized with each situation. The above document is an example of an access agreement.

- Landowner Signs - View samples

New! Visit our new web-based mapping tool that provides hunters, anglers, and other outdoor recreationists with access information to and through private lands at azaccessmap.com.

 

 
 
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External Resources [More]
- Environmental Protection Agency
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