Land or easements acquired through the Forest Legacy Program must be held by the U.S. Forest Service or by a state or local government agency. However, land trusts play a major role in many Forest Legacy Program projects.
Land trusts help individual projects move forward, using their local connections and their expertise in land transactions. Land trusts can identify potential projects and bring landowners to the table. They can help negotiate the purchase of land or easements. In some cases, land trusts make the initial acquisition, then go on to transfer the land or easement to a government agency. Land trusts can also monitor (but not enforce) Forest Legacy Program easements. And all of these activities are potentially reimbursable through Forest Legacy Program funding.
Land trusts can also help to provide the cost match for Forest Legacy Program projects. While the program may pay up to 75 percent, in practice, federal funds are usually more leveraged by state, local or private sources. One way to make the matching contribution is by conserving adjoining land, through easements or fee acquisition, the value of which can count toward the match.
The Forest Legacy Program is permanently funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and will receive an additional $700 million following passage of the Inflation Reduction Act.
Interested in learning if the Forest Legacy Program could be the key to protecting endangered forests in your region? Start by contacting your state Forest Legacy Program coordinator.