Skip to main content

Forest Legacy Program helps ensure future forests; nominations due May 3

How are forest lands in Michigan protected for the future?

Michigan’s Forest Legacy Program offers several paths. This program provides funding to purchase or secure conservation easements on environmentally important forest lands to ensure they will be enjoyed by our next generations.

The Forest Legacy Program is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

“The Forest Legacy Program protects forest lands so they will provide the benefits of forests forever,” said Kerry Heckman, forest land administrator for the DNR’s Forest Resources Division. “Forests are critical for the renewable forest products we use every day, clean air and water and the places we love to hunt, hike and fish.”

Have a parcel that could benefit from Forest Legacy Program protection? Nomination applications for the nationally competitive program are due May 3.

Download application ►

Past examples of forest lands secured by the program are parcels in the Keweenaw Peninsula and Pigeon River Country State Forest. More than 156,000 acres have been protected in Michigan. These forests were competitive for funding in the program because they are managed as working forests to keep them healthy and thriving, while also containing prime fish and wildlife habitat, offering outdoor places to enjoy and providing environmental benefits.


Forests protected by FLP will always be forests

The Forest Legacy Program provides an opportunity for landowners to keep forests as forests, encourages sustainable management and supports forest product markets.

All interests in land acquired by the Forest Legacy Program last forever. Agreements must contain language ensuring that rights are perpetual.

Michigan’s program requires that Forest Legacy lands are open to the public for nonmotorized access at a minimum. Landowners who don’t have an existing forest management plan will need to have one developed before a project can be completed.

The DNR will review and prioritize eligible projects and may submit up to three to compete nationally for funding. Projects nominated by May 3 will compete for funding in the fiscal year 2026 federal budget, which begins Oct. 1, 2025. The state can request up to $20 million for projects.

Apply to nominate your forest land

Find further details and download a nomination application on the Forest Legacy Program webpage. Additional Forest Legacy Program opportunities through the Inflation Reduction Act will be announced later this year. Contact program lead Kerry Heckman for more information.

Note to editors: Accompanying photos are available below for download. Caption information follows.

  • Walled Lake: An aerial view of Walled Lake, a property protected by the Forest Legacy Program in 2020.
  • Timber harvest: Equipment is used to harvest timber as part of a sustainable forest management project.