South Dakota works to open hunters' access to public land

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department is trying to improve hunter access to public land that is "landlocked" by private land.

The Capital Journal reports that the department is launching an effort to open or ease access to about 50,000 acres (20,235 hectares) of the 290,000 currently inaccessible acres (117,360 hectares).

Some of the landlocked land has been effectively closed to the public for decades.

Mike Cornelison works with the School and Public Lands' office, which manages about 197,000 acres of the state's inaccessible public land. He says section lines have been abandoned or weathered away, making it impossible to know the public right-of-way location.

The department is negotiating with landowners to let hunters cross through their land, including through a walk-in program lease or an easement agreement.

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