Minnesota Forest Legacy Program

DNR forester and landowner walking in landowner's woodlands

Protecting traditional forest uses and public values

Minnesota's forests supply timber products, provide wildlife habitat, protect watersheds, offer recreation opportunities, and provide aesthetic and cultural benefits. Loss of forested areas poses an increasing threat to Minnesota's natural resources. As these areas are fragmented and disappear, so do the benefits they provide. By providing economic incentives to landowners to keep their forests as forests, we encourage sustainable forest management and support strong markets for forest products. The Forest Legacy Program and Minnesota Forests for the Future Program are conservation programs administered by the DNR to encourage the protection of privately owned forest lands through conservation easements or land purchases. Protection of private forests maintains a multitude of public benefits including:

  • Opportunities to hunt, fish, and camp
  • Clean and abundant drinking water,
  • Habitat for fish and wildlife, and
  • Timber, fuel wood, and other forest products.

The Forest Legacy Program is a federally funded program that provides matching funds to DNR Forestry to purchase land or conservation easement. Forest for the Future, a Minnesota-based program, gives landowners a way to sell conservation easements on their lands.

Since 2000, 34 tracts were completed through the Forest Legacy program, resulting in the protection of over 145,665 acres of environmentally important forestland. An additional 214,920 acres was protected by Minnesota Forests for the Future Program (2008-2016) for a total of 360,585 acres These "working forests" protect water quality and provide wildlife habitat, forest products, opportunities for recreation and other public benefits. Explore the places and projects Forest Legacy and Forests for the Future Programs conserved through the Forest Legacy Interactive Map. Through these programs, we maintain forests so all Minnesotans can reap the economic, environmental, and social benefits of these lands.

For more information about the program and or land eligibility contact:

Gary Michael, Cooperative Forest Management Unit Supervisor

500 Lafayette Rd, St. Paul, MN 55155-4044
Phone: 651-259-5262