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Forest Legacy Program nomination applications available now; must be submitted by June 13, 2014

Contact: Kerry Wieber, 517-643-1256 or Ed Golder, 517-284-5815
Agency: Natural Resources

March 18, 2014

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 13, 2014.

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 is a great opportunity for private forest landowners to get involved in the sustainable management of Michigan's world-class forests," said Bill O'Neill, DNR's Forest Resources Division chief and state forester.

"We're using this nomination process to reach out to folks who want to protect the integrity of their land, while continuing to provide habitat for wildlife, supply resources for the forest products industry and enhance recreational opportunities," O'Neill said. "Both public and private lands benefit from this program."

It is important to note that all easements and interests in land acquired by the Forest Legacy Program last forever, and must contain agreements and language to ensure perpetuity of the easements. Michigan's program also requires that the land be open to the public for non-motorized access. Additionally, landowners are required to prepare a management plan for their property.

Participation in Forest Legacy is limited to private forest landowners. 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.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.




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