Outdoor Life announces the expansion of its Open Country program.

Open Country, launched in 2012 takes aim at a critical issue for sportsmen: access to public lands for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting. New this year, Outdoor Life will award monetary grants to six grassroots projects making a difference on the issue.

“The only way to move the needle on access is to be proactive,” said Andrew McKean, editor-in-chief of Outdoor Life. “We've been so inspired by sportsmen across the country who are working hard to solve this issue in their own backyard. But for every group that's creating access on the ground, there are two more that need funds and inspiration to bring their project to fruition. By providing some seed funds and calling additional attention to their projects we hope to work together to create even more access.”

Outdoor Life plans to highlight six grassroots groups or individuals who are actively working on public land access and/or public land habitat improvement projects. Each of the six projects will be covered this fall in the publication and online with links to fundraising pages, offering Outdoor Life readers the opportunity to assist. Thanks to the support of Outdoor Life's Open Country partner, The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, each of the six designated projects will receive a $500 mini-grant.

“Outdoorsmen want to see positive change in terms of public access to hunting and fishing land,” said McKean. “One of the things we've heard over and over from these grassroots organizations is that they need help getting the word out about their projects and they need help with small but essential things-lunch for volunteers or fenceposts to help mark boundaries of public refuges. We think the new additions to our program help address those issues because sportsmen have a powerful voice, especially when we work together.”

To learn more or get an applications for Outdoor Life's Open Country Grant Awards program visit www.outdoorlife.com/opencountry.  Mini-grant applications must be received by June 16, 2014.