Forest Legacy Program

To effectively protect and conserve environmentally important forest areas that are threatened by conversion to nonforest uses, through conservation easements and other mechanism.

The FLP is a voluntary private land conservation partnership between the Forest Service, participating States, land
trusts, private landowners, and others.

The Program works with State partners and operates on a willing seller and willing buyer basis and is completely nonregulatory in its approach.

No eminent domain authority or adverse condemnation is authorized for this Program.

Participating States are required to complete an Assessment of Need (AON), which analyzes the need and areas of priority for the program and describes how the program will be implemented within the State.
Examples of Funded Projects



Blue/Tumbledown, Maine - Hancock Timber Resources Group put on the open market 11,800 acres of forest land in western Maine, including the peak of Tumbledown Mountain, one of Maine's most popular recreation spots.

In addition, another 10,000 acres surrounding Mt.

Blue State Park was put on the market by another timber company, with a portion of it sold immediately to a liquidator who cleared all the timber and immediately subdivided it into 40 acre lots.

Working with a Maine-based forest products company, Hancock Lumber, and the local community, the state of Maine secured the protection of Tumbledown's summit and purchased an easement on other lands that are now owned by Hancock Lumber, ensuing continued timber for its mill.

All told, over 21,000 acres have been protected, ensuring continued public access to outstanding recreational lands and maintaining sustainable harvesting to support the economic backbone of western Maine.

Forest Legacy funding of $2.2 million was provided to help supplement private and state funding for this $5.04 million project.


Mountains to Sound Greenway, Washington Forest Legacy funds helped to protect tracts critical to the scenic and ecologic integrity of this unique corridor from expanding development.

Surrounded by protected land on two sides and rural development on the others, the Mountains to Sound Greenway and is highly visible from both Rattlesnake Ridge and I-90.

The acquisitions preserved scenic values, habitat, wildlife corridors, water quality and working forest opportunities that would have otherwise been lost to private development.

Individual tracts of the Mountains to Sound Greenway protected with Forest Legacy funds include Rattlesnake Ridge, Issaquah Creek and Lake Sammamish, critical in protecting local water quality and an important fishery and salmon rearing resource.

The acquisitions were a locally-driven multifaceted effort by private, public, and non-profit initiative to protect targeted landscapes for multiple use management.


Anderson Tully, Tennessee - In 2001, Anderson Tully Company announced its intention to sell 11,807 acres of unleveed, bottomland hardwood forest on the Mississippi River in Lauderdale County, Tennessee.

Because of the company's excellent forest stewardship record and long history of cooperation with the state in making the land available for public access and hunting - the property was extremely attractive to both forestry and wildlife agencies in the state.

The most likely alternative for this property was purchase by private interests and loss of public access.

The Nature Conservancy worked with the state agencies and Anderson Tully to negotiate a $15 million purchase price, $1 million less than the appraised value of the property.

Without Forest Legacy, this project would not have been possible.

The Forest Legacy program contributed $8 million, which was matched by contributions from The Nature Conservancy, the Wild Turkey Federation, state Wetlands Acquisition Fund, and the North American Wetlands Conservation Program, the state Natural Areas Program - to name a few - and enjoyed strong support of both the Tennessee and Mississippi congressional delegations.

Because of the work of this partnership the Anderson Tully property - now known as the John Tully Wildlife Management Area - will remain open for public access, Forest Stewardship Council certified timber management will be conducted by TN Division of Forestry at a demonstration forest on a portion of the property, and high-value waterfowl habitat on the Mississippi River will be protected on into the future.


Peaceful Valley Ranch, Utah - Just one mile downstream from the East Canyon Reservoir, this area serves as a source of drinking water for seven counties in the Weber Basin Water District.

All told, 16,000 acres of critical watershed lands have been protected Through this project.

The landowners of this 7,300 acre ranch facedadvancing age,declining income and development pressure in this beautiful area just east of the growing Salt Lake City region.

Working with the state of Utah, the MacFarlane family sold at a significantly reduced price an easement over the entire ranch that ensures public access, prevents development, protects drinking water supplies and keeps this longtime family working the land.

This project also leveraged a donation to the state of Utah of an easement valued at $8 million on an 8,800 acre property owned by another part of the MacFarlane family.

Forest Legacy funding of $900,000 was used to leverage state and private funds and the donated easement for this $15 million project.


Green Cathedral, Maryland The town of Crownsville, just outside of Annapolis, is home to the largest undeveloped forested parcel on the Severn River.

The Green Cathedral property is 292 acres of important fish spawning and waterfowl nesting areas, and its forests provide the natural process of filtering water that drains into the Severn River and the Chesapeake Bay.

Prior to acquisition, the tract was slated for residential development, but the developer agreed to terminate the contract if a buyer for an easement could be found.

Forest Legacy funds contributed $650,000, to be combined with local resident donations, to preserve this critical watershed.

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Office - Refer to the web site below for Regional and Area State and Private Forestry offices of the Forest Service and for addresses and telephone numbers of Regional Foresters and Area Director of the Forest Service.

Program Accomplishments

Not available.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Landowner participation in the program is voluntary and consists of conveying land or interests in land to achieve land conservation objectives and preparing and periodically updating a Forest Stewardship Management Plan or a multi-resource management plan.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Projects are evaluated and prioritized by State lead agencies, in consultation with the State Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committees.

All States, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and Guam, and other territories and possessions of the United States may be eligible.

Beneficiary Eligibility

State agency, landowners of private forest lands, and land trust organizations.


Each State must prepare an Assessment of Need (AON). This document analyzes the need for the program and describes how the program will be implemented within the State. The FS Regional, Area, or Institute Responsible Official must concur with the State's AON. Requirements for an eligible project are: (1) project is within an approved Forest Legacy Area and fits within the priorities of a State's AON; (2) an approved Forest Stewardship Plan or a multi-resource management plan for the project; (3) complies with FLP State and National criteria; (4) a completed grant application; (5) an approved appraisal, meeting Federal acquisition appraisal standards as outlined in the Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal Land Acquisitions; (6) negotiated terms of a conservation easement, if applicable; and, (7) adequate non-Federal cost share.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

The participating State, private landowner, and participating land trust, when applicable, will negotiate the terms of the conservation easement or acquisition.

Forest management activities, including timber management, may be allowed on tracts when consistent with the State AON and the purposes for tract acquisition.

In addition, an initial appraisal of the property and a Forest Stewardship Plan should be initiated.

This program is excluded from cover under E.O.


Application Procedures

Application requirements must comply with the Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR 3016), Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State and Local Governments. Individual participating States have application duties and procedures.

Award Procedures

The Forest Service will conduct an annual project selection process to arrive at a prioritized national project list for inclusion in the Presidents budget. The Forest Service then issues grants to states for the project specific earmarks designated in the Congressional appropriations bills.


States are required to submit Form SF-424 for each eligible project. An annual project selection calendar with due dates will be developed each fiscal year, and will identify deadlines and approval times.


Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978, 16 U.S.C. 2101 et. seq., as amended by the 1990 Farm Bill, Section 1217 of Title XII of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990, Public Law 101-624, 104 Stat. 3359, 16 U.S.C. 2103c; later amended by the 1996 Farm Bill, Federal Agricultural Improvement and Reform Act of 1996; Public Law 104-127; Title III, Conservation; Subtitle G Forestry; Section 374, Optional State Grants for Forest Legacy Program.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

An annual project selection calendar with due dates will be developed each fiscal year, and will identify deadlines and approval times.


Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Federal contribution cannot exceed 75 percent of the total project costs, and at least a 25 percent non-Federal cost share is required. The non-Federal cost share may consist of: funds, donations, land or interests in land, in-kind contributions, direct costs, indirect costs, and others as determined by the Forest Service. Funds will be provided to the States on a per-project basis, as determined by the annual Appropriations Law. The non-Federal cost share can occur at any phase of the project within the legal grant period, including planning, developing future projects, acquisition, capital improvement, management, or administrative activities.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Assistance is provided via grants to States. Typical grant period is two years. Grants can receive a no cost extension up to five years with justification and is approved by the Forest Service.

Post Assistance Requirements


States are required to submit annual progress reports on outstanding grants.

States are required to monitor properties with conservation easements.

Project specific Forest Stewardship Plans are required to be established and updated periodically.


Use of all funds will have to meet Federal and State audit requirements.


State Lead Agencies are required to retain complete grant files on each grant issued. States must report annual accomplishments data in the Forest Legacy Information System.

Financial Information

Account Identification



FY 07 $57,107,000; FY 08 est not available; and FY 09 est not reported.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Not applicable.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Forest Legacy Program Implementation Guidelines of 2003.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Refer to the web site below for Regional and Area State and Private Forestry offices of the Forest Service and for addresses and telephone numbers of Regional Foresters and Area Director of the Forest Service.

Headquarters Office

Forest Service, State and Private Forestry; Cooperative Forestry; 1400 Independence Avenue, SW; Stop Code 1123; Washington, DC 20250. Telephone: (202) 205-1389.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Project evaluation and priority ranking is based on the three national core criteria (importance, threatened, and strategy, as defined in the 2003 FLP Implementation Guidelines) as well as project readiness and other evaluation considerations developed in consultation with States and FS Units.

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