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Walk-In Area Program Again Passes Million-Acre Mark

PIERRE, S.D. -- South Dakota’s Walk-In Area Program surpassed last year's record enrollment of 1.03 million-acres.

“Our long-term goal was to reach 1 million acres by 2006, but due to the hard work of our conservation officers and dedicated landowners, we hit our million-acre goal last year,” said Game, Fish and Parks Walk-In Area Program Coordinator Bill Smith. “2006 was again a record-setting year, enrolling 1.08 million acres.”

While the program continues to grow, the long-term success of the program relies heavily on partnerships between the department and landowners and the future of the Conservation Reserve Program, with more than 400,000 acres of CRP expiring in 2007.

To help ensure these new areas will remain enrolled in the program in future years, hunters must also play a vital role. “Hunter behavior and ethics plays an important part in a landowner’s decision to re-enroll a Walk-In Area,” Smith said. “All it takes is one hunter littering, shooting up signs, spooking livestock, damaging crops or otherwise acting in an unsafe manner to insult landowners and keep them from re-enrolling their land.”

Hunter involvement extends beyond the field, all the way to Washington, D.C. “Hunters should also be active in getting CRP renewed in the upcoming 2007 Farm Bill,” said Smith.

Hunters wishing to know more about the locations of these new Walk-In Areas can now access that information online via the Game, Fish and Parks Web site at www.sdgfp.info. The link can be found under the subheading "What’s New." Printed Hunting Atlases should be available at most license agents by about Sept. 1

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