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​Voluntary Public Access-Habitat Incentive Program

Please Note:  The USDA funding received by the Commission for the VPA-HIP Program has been allocated to projects that exhaust the funds.  A call for new projects will be issued via press release when the Commission is able to consider new projects.​

The Voluntary Public Access-Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP) provides funding for the Commission to offer a one-time payment to Pennsylvania landowners for allowing public fishing access and habitat improvement on their property.  The goal of the program is to ensure public fishing opportunities for Pennsylvania's anglers.

How does it work?

The Commission works with willing landowners to pursue a conservation easement agreement that permits fishing access and habitat improvement on specific portion(s) of stream frontage on their property.  Landowners retain full ownership and control of the land.  Commission staff and the landowner work together to designate trails that anglers may use to access the stream frontage, as necessary.  The Commission provides signage to assist landowners with identifying what portion of their land is publicly accessible.

The Commission will give highest consideration to opportunities that meet the following criteria:

  • Waterways that have been identified as high priority based on fishing quality and access demand
  • Waterways that are inhabited by native species and/or threatened or endangered species
  • Unique opportunities exist to provide public access and create partnerships
  • Extending corridors of contiguous public fishing access and conservation easements
  • Matching funds are available

Easement acquisition is contingent upon the completion of due diligence, Commission approval, and funding availability.

How much will I be paid?

The amount of compensation depends on several factors including the length of stream frontage that is made available for public access, the location of the property, and the fishing quality of the stream. 

Where does the money come from?

The VPA-HIP is a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

What should I do if I'm interested?

Landowners who are interested in the VPA-HIP program should contact Mackenzie Hogan at 717-836-3599 or