The Public Access Program is one of the original Wildlife Conservation Board programs established under the Wildlife Conservation Law of 1947 that created the WCB.
Initially much of the activity associated with the Public access Program focused on the protection and development of public access areas in support of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the promotion of hunting and fishing opportunities. In many cases this led to the construction of fishing piers, fishing ponds, boat ramps, wetlands for waterfowl, duck blinds, and development of parking lots and restrooms at CDFW managed wildlife areas. Overtime as the public demand for other wildlife oriented uses grew and expanded, including uses such as bird watching, kayaking and hiking, the WCB also broadened its program to accommodate these types of uses, helping fund construction of ADA trails, kayak "put-in" areas, interpretive signs and bird observation shelters.
In most years the WCB receives approximately $1 million from the Wildlife Restoration Fund for minor capital outlay and local assistance grants. The majority of these funds are used to support Public Access Projects.