MI Forest Legacy Program

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

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Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Anticipated deadline: Jun 14, 2020

Applicant type: Organizations

Funding uses: Project / Program

Location of project: Counties in Michigan: Alcona County, Alger County, Allegan County, Alpena County, Antrim County Show all

Location of residency: Michigan

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The Forest Legacy Program seeks to protect privately owned and environmentally significant forest land from being converted to non-forest uses. This program is a strictly voluntary program and involves the acquisition of land in fee ownership or rights in land through a conservation easement. If a conservation easement is acquired, the land remains in private ownership but does provide for public access. The Forest Legacy Program encourages partnerships with local governments and land trusts, recognizing the important contributions that private landowners, local communities, and environmental organizations make to forest conservation efforts.

The purpose of Michigan’s Forest Legacy Program is to use federal funds and matching funds to purchase development rights, conservation easements, or fee simple interest on those environmentally important forests threatened by conversion to non-forest uses within designated geographic areas, known as Forest Legacy Areas. Unless fee simple interest is purchased, these forests shall remain in private ownership except for the conveyed easement items, such as development rights, which become State-owned and protected. Michigan’s Forest Legacy Program requires that the rights of public access be conveyed to the State on all land or interest in land acquired with FLP funding. 


  • Identify and protect environmentally important, privately owned forests threatened by conversion to uses inconsistent with traditional forest uses. 
  • Reduce forest fragmentation caused by parcelization/subdivision and development.
  • Provide environmental benefits through the protection of riparian areas, native forest plants and animals, and natural ecosystem functions. 
  • Maintain scenic resources.
  • Enhance recreational opportunities.
  • Promote forest stewardship.
  • Provide undeveloped buffer areas to already protected areas.
  • Complement other state or federal interests or assistance programs.
  • Protect rare, threatened, endangered species.
  • Enhance habitat connectivity

Assessment of Need (AON) 

The AON provides an analysis regarding what defines "threatened" and "environmentally important forests". The AON also outlines a how Michigan's Forest Legacy Program will evaluate and prioritize proposed projects. Michigan's AON includes relevant information about both public and private lands, addresses the issue of how best to maintain the integrity of forest land for future generations as well as addressing a number of pertinent forest land issues identified by the State. 

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Eligibility:
    • Participation in Forest Legacy is limited to private forest landowners.
    • To qualify, landowners are required to prepare a multiple resource management plan as part of the conservation easement acquisition.
    • 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.
  • In order to participate in the national Forest Legacy Program (FLP), Michigan must conduct an Assessment of Need (AON).
  • Property Eligibiilty
    • Be located within an approved Forest Legacy Area that has been determined to be an environmentally important forest area that is threatened with conversion to nonforest uses.
    • Complement Federal lands or Federal investments.
    • Provide Public access to the greatest extent practicable.
    • Provide opportunities for the continuation of traditional forest uses, like timber harvesting and recreation.
    • Have a multi-resource management plan for the land prepared and approved.