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Hunt > Landowner Programs Recreation Management Area - Biennial Rule Program

Biennial Commission Adopted Public Access Rules

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ Recreation Management Area - Biennial Rule Program works with those private landowners whose needs fall outside the limitations of the Block Management Program. Biennial Rules provide for enforcement and access management of year-round public recreation on large tracts of land.

Program at a Glance

Recreation Management Area - Biennial Rules are a creative way to maximize the potential for year-round public access to the benefit of wildlife management and the residents and visitors of Montana.

Who is Eligible

To be eligible for development of a Recreation Management Area - Biennial Rule, private landowners, or their representative, must be willing to provide year-round recreational public access to a large expanse of private land.

Agreement Details

The landowner in collaboration with FWP develop recreation management rules to define public use on private lands. The drafted public access rules then go through the Fish & Wildlife Commission process before the rules can be adopted. This process consists of commission endorsement, a public comment period, and final commission approval to formally establish rules for private land in collaboration with the landowner. Biennial Rule agreements are valid for two years and the Department and landowner will work to draft a landowner agreement that describes how access will be managed.

Landowner Liability

Landowners enrolled in the Recreation Management Area - Biennial Rule program are provided liability protection under state law through 70-16-302, Montana Code Annotated (MCA) as long as no access/trespass fees are charged. Landowners are also possibly eligible for reimbursement through FWP's Livestock Loss Reimbursement Program.

Landowner Benefits

Landowner benefits of Recreation Management Area - Biennial Rules are primarily a commitment by Fish, Wildlife & Parks to provide hunter and general recreation management and enforcement dependent upon need, property rules and program availability year-round in lieu of a payment.

FWP will also develop property maps with associated rules for each property enrolled in collaboration with the landowner.

In recent years, FWP primarily worked with corporate timber companies or private non-governmental organizations with large land-holdings in western Montana.

How to Discuss a Potential Biennial Rule Process

Landowners should contact their local Fish, Wildlife & Parks Hunting Access Coordinator, local FWP biologist or warden to discuss options to meet landowner needs and desires.