Forest Legacy Program Nomination Applications Now Available

May 3, 2013

The Department of Natural Resources today announced that the application to nominate forest land for enrollment in Michigan’s Forest Legacy Program is available online. The program protects private forest lands from conversion to non-forest uses.

The application, a map and other information can be found at www.michigan.gov/privateforestland. Completed applications and all required documentation must be postmarked and submitted to the Forest Legacy Program by Friday, June 14, 2013.

Michigan’s Forest Legacy Program uses federal and matching funds to purchase development rights and conservation easements (legally binding agreements transferring a negotiated set of property rights from one party to another) on environmentally important forests within designated geographic areas, known as “Forest Legacy Areas.” This is accomplished without removing the property from private ownership.

“The Forest Legacy Program offers an opportunity for private forest land owners to ensure the management and protection of the forest resources on their property forever,” said Bill O’Neill, DNR’s Forest Resources Division chief and state forester. “The program promotes forest management and assists in sustaining a healthy forest products industry in Michigan – on both privately and publicly owned forest land. In addition to protecting environmentally important forests and wildlife habitats, it also promotes uses such as hunting, hiking and other outdoor recreation.”

It is important to note that all easements and interests in land acquired by the Forest Legacy Program last forever, and must contain such agreements and language to ensure perpetuity of the easements.

Participation in Forest Legacy is limited to private forest landowners. To qualify, landowners are required to prepare a management plan. The federal government may fund up to 75 percent of program costs, with at least 25 percent coming from private, state or local sources. In addition to gains associated with the sale or donation of property rights, many landowners may also benefit from reduced taxes associated with limits placed on land use.

For more information about the Forest Legacy Program, visit www.michigan.gov/privateforestland.

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