The Open Fields and Waters Program is a statewide,
two-year pilot program of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Its focus
is to expand hunter and angler access to private lands. At the end of the
two-year cycle, the program will be evaluated as to whether it should be
continued and how it might be improved.
The program was created as a component of the Commission's Recruitment, Development
and Retention (RDR) plan, which seeks to increase the participation of hunters
and anglers in Nebraska. The number of hunters and anglers in Nebraska has
been in decline for years. The RDR plan is an effort to ensure that the state's
rich outdoor heritage is passed on to future generations. The motivation
for the Open Fields and Waters Program is to attract new or inactive hunters
and anglers, especially into activities with expanding opportunities, such
as deer and spring turkey hunting.
DROUGHT IN NEBRASKA – How has the drought affected public access sites?
USDA has opened Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) tracts in Nebraska to emergency haying and grazing. Some public access tracts listed in this atlas may have been hayed or grazed. If landowner actions result in significant habitat
degradation, payment will be adjusted or withheld. For example, the USDA can authorize landowners with CRP to harvest forage from enrolled lands through emergency haying and grazing and managed haying and grazing provisions. This can be beneficial as landowners may use these techniques to enhance habitat for subsequent years. When landowners enrolled in OFW with CRP lands use these provisions, the areas still will appear in the atlas and be posted open to hunting. However, Game and Parks staff will inspect these areas and adjust contract payments for acres that no longer provide acceptable wildlife cover. News Release with more info >>
landowners talk about Open Fields and Waters Program
Benefits to Landowners
Receive payments on a per-acre basis for land or water enrolled.
Protection under the Nebraska Recreation Liability Act for allowing access.
Hunters and anglers would be provided walk-in access. No vehicles are allowed,
except on trails specified by the landowner.
Help ensure Nebraska's rich outdoor heritage by allowing expanded hunting and
Play a role in conservation by providing a means to control problematic wildlife
Signs will be posted on enrolled lands by Commission staff.
All enrolled lands will be published in an atlas.
Encourage hunting and fishing, which will lead to increased conservation funding