USA -(Ammoland.com)- The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced that the application to nominate forest land for enrollment in Michigan’s Forest Legacy Program is available online. The program protects private forest land from conversion to non-forest uses.
Completed applications and all required documentation must be postmarked and submitted to the Forest Legacy Program by June 16, 2017. The application, a map and other information are available on the DNR website.
Michigan’s Forest Legacy Program uses federal and matching funds to protect environmentally important forests within designated geographic areas, known as “Forest Legacy Areas.”
This may involve purchasing the property and bringing it into public ownership, or alternately, purchasing development rights and conservation easements (legally binding agreements transferring a negotiated set of property rights from one party to another).
“Sustainable forest management is as vital to the integrity of private forest land as it is to public land,” said Kerry Wieber, forest land administrator with the DNR Forest Resources Division. “The Forest Legacy Program provides an opportunity for private forest land owners to ensure that their forestland continues to provide critical wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities, and is managed as a healthy forest in perpetuity.”
It is important to note that all easements and interests in land acquired by the Forest Legacy Program last forever, and must contain agreements and language to ensure perpetuity of the easements. Michigan’s program also requires that the land be open to the public for non-motorized access at a minimum.
Additionally, landowners are required to prepare a management plan for their property.
Participation in Forest Legacy is limited to private forest landowners. 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.
For more information about the Forest Legacy Program, visit their website.