The Forest Legacy Program allows landowners to ensure that their property remains sustainably managed forever.
The nationally competitive program, administered by the U.S. Forest Service, uses federal and matching funds to sustainably manage environmentally important forests. This may involve buying the property outright or purchasing development rights through a conservation easement.
“Loss of forested areas can cause big problems for overall health of a region’s natural resources,” said Kerry Wieber, forest land administrator for the DNR’s Forest Resources Division. “This program helps private forest landowners make certain that future generations can enjoy and use these forests.”
The program provides economic incentives to landowners to keep forests as forests, encourage sustainable management and support strong markets for forest products.
One successful Michigan project is the Pilgrim River Forest on the Keweenaw Peninsula, a 1,299-acre project that received $900,000.
All interests in land acquired by the Forest Legacy Program last forever, and agreements must contain language to ensure perpetuity. Michigan’s program also requires that land remains open to the public, at least for non vehicle access. Landowners who don’t have an existing management plan will need to create one before a project can be completed.
Applications are due June 14 and the state can request up to $7 million for an individual project. Currently more than 155,000 acres in Michigan are managed through the Forest Legacy program.