Vermont Forest Legacy Program

Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation

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Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Anticipated deadline: Jul 31, 2020

Applicant type: Indigenous Group Government Entity Nonprofit

Funding uses: Project / Program

Location of project: Vermont

Location of residency: Vermont

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The federal Forest Legacy (16 U.S.C. Sec. 2103c) program was part of the 1990 Federal Farm Bill. The program acknowledges that most forested lands in the United States are held in private ownership and that those landowners are facing growing financial pressure to convert those lands to uses that would remove them from the forested land base. Much of this pressure arises from the demand for residential and commercial development.

The Forest Legacy Program (FLP) is a federal grant program to protect forestlands from conversion to non-forest uses. The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation working in conjunction with the USDA Forest Service is the State Lead Agency for Vermont's Forest Legacy Program.

The FLP provides funding to further conservation of important forestland properties. The program is entirely voluntary. Landowners who wish to participate may either sell the property as fee simple title (all rights), or only a portion of the property rights and retain ownership of the land. The use of conservation easements allows the land to remain in private ownership and ensures that important public values such as wildlife habitat, natural areas, forest resources, and outdoor recreation opportunities are protected.

In order for states to be eligible for Forest Legacy funds they must develop an Assessment of Need (AON) which identifies recommended Forest Legacy Areas within the state, develops criteria for identifying recommended Forest Legacy Areas, establishes goals for the State's FLP, and outlines the public involvement process. Vermont's AON was approved on February 11, 1994 and it identified the following goals:

  • To protect large contiguous and productive forest blocks
  • To protect habitats for wildlife dependent on large contiguous forest blocks
  • To protect threatened and endangered species habitat
  • To protect State fragile areas and undeveloped shoreline
  • To protect significant wetlands
  • To protect important recreation corridors

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


  • Any private landowner or authorized agent may submit an initial application if the land proposed for Legacy is within a designated Legacy Area, has important resources or values in line with federal and state criteria, and can continue traditional forest uses.
  • Forest Stewardship Plans are necessary in order for a particular piece of land to be eligible for the Forest Legacy Program.
    • However, if one does not already exist, a plan may be developed as part of the application proces
  • The Forest Legacy Program provides for up to 75 percent of the costs of a conservation easement or fee-simple acquisition, including the costs of appraisals, surveys, closing costs, title work and insurance, and other associated costs.
    • The remaining 25 percent must be matched by either the landowner or an assisting entity, such as a non-profit organization or non-federal governmental entity. 
  • Eligibility Criteria
    • The land must provide opportunities for the continuation of traditional forest uses, including forest management and public access.
    • The land must be threatened by the potential of conversion to non-forest use.
      • Some examples are:
        • parcel is located in an area of increasing growth or development;
        • parcel is in a state of transition of ownership; and
        • owner financial considerations.
    • The land must possess at least one of the following important public values:
      • Recreation opportunities (in addition to dispersed public access i.e. hiking trail)
      • Riparian (streamside or riverside) areas
      • Fish and wildlife habitat
      • Endangered or threatened species
      • Other ecological values
      • Cultural resources
      • Scenic resources (if one or more additional values above are also present)
    • Enrollment in the Forest Legacy Program must not be in conflict with the town plan, zoning, or other local ordinances.
    • The land must be within an identified Forest Legacy Area for Vermont (see attached map and list of Towns within Vermont’s Forest Legacy Areas).