Share an Access Opportunity With onX

June 24, 2020 | Outdoors

onX is pleased to announce our Report a Land Access Opportunity project. Through this platform you can share your on-the-ground knowledge about the barriers and opportunities to improve access to public lands and waters.

This project has been created with the support of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) and Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA), and we will work to identify the best-fitting of these three partners for each project.

After reading the instructions, anyone can submit a location with a detailed description about an area where they want to see improved access for outdoor recreation. No onX membership is required. onX members may share locations directly through the App using the Waypoint Sharing feature. Non-members may sign up for a free App trial or submit locations through the reporting form.

onX Web Map showing land boundaries for access use.

So just what sort of information are we looking for? Outdoor recreators may report properties currently for sale that could secure a new public access route to public lands, public land parcels that have no legal access routes, gates or roadblocks restricting travel to public lands and public waters that are difficult or impossible to reach. Private landowners can tell us about places that are open to allow the public to cross their land to responsibly reach public land or they can let us know about places where the public is trespassing when trying to reach public land.

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Once a location is submitted, the team at onX will add the location to a database, ensure that the description matches the location and follow up with the submitter if there are any questions. We’ll also make sure that the point is categorized correctly for the type of situation it represents. We’ll then send the submissions to the partner that best aligns with each project, research each area more thoroughly and then determine which projects will have the greatest impact. If there is a cluster of access reports from a single area, we’ll dive in to try to determine why the area has such limited outdoor recreation opportunities.

Woman backpacking or hiking in the mountains with three children.

“One thing we’ve noted over many years of access work is that there is a mountain of work to do to secure access to many beautiful places and public lands, to open new recreation opportunities near cities and, surprisingly, to secure access to places we already enjoy,” noted onX Founder Eric Siegfried. “We believe the only scalable way to do all this work is to empower people within their community to have a voice and to take action. We thought a good first step was to give people a place where they can easily report an access concern or opportunity, then get connected with the appropriate organization who could help. With that in mind, we’ve created this first iteration of Report a Land Access Opportunity. It’s another small step to achieving this vision, and all of us at onX are excited to see what we can do next with our incredible access partners and you.”

BHA, TRCP, and RMEF logos overlaid on a mountain scene.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has protected or restored over 7.9 million acres of land for elk conservation since 1984 and has improved public access to over 1.3 million acres. Using innovative techniques, RMEF finds opportunities to conserve and enhance habitats and migration corridors across the United States. onX began collaborating on access improvement projects with RMEF in 2017 and has included RMEF’s project layer in the onX app since then. RMEF is a proven leader in working with willing landowners to acquire and swap land and to secure easements.

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and onX began collaborating on access analyses in 2018. Together, the TRCP and onX have released two reports detailing the extent of 15 million acres of landlocked state and federal lands in the Western United States. The TRCP has strong ties with land management agencies as well as non-profits working around the country to improve access and conserve wildlife.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers recognized early on that a lack of access is the top reason why hunters and anglers quit their traditions. With their extensive network of local chapters around the country, BHA has fought for the protection of stream access laws, raised awareness when access is threatened and stewarded habitat improvement projects.

Woman looking at phone while hunting and hiking beside fenceline.

The more on-the-ground intel we receive through Report a Land Access Opportunity, the more holistic a picture we can provide to the nonprofits and land management agencies working to improve access.

The first round of submissions will be open through December 2020.