The Minnesota Forest Legacy Program uses federal and/or state funds to purchase permanent conservation easements that restrict development and other uses of private property in order to keep targeted forested areas intact and able to provide important forest benefits. The landowner retains ownership and can continue forest uses such as timber management, recreation, hunting, and hiking. All easements are perpetual, and any new owner is bound by the terms of the easement.
This program is geared to landowners who would like to ensure that forests on their property are protected from development. The landowner chooses whether to participate. Participating landowners choose which parts of their property are included. Each landowner also chooses whether to accept a cash payment or donate all or some of the appraised value of a conservation easement. Traditional forest uses of the property can continue under the guidance of a Forest Stewardship Plan.
What land is eligible?
To participate in the Minnesota Forest Legacy Program, land must:
- be within one of Minnesota's active Forest Legacy Areas. These areas include Brainerd Lakes/Walker, Lower St. Croix, North Duluth, Rice County Big Woods, Grand Rapids, Wabasha Blufflands, and Koochiching legacy areas.
- be at least 20 acres and at least 90 percent forested or planned to be forested. Any type of forest land—whether natural or planted – is eligible.
What’s the time line and process?
- Landowners with eligible/priority lands should complete and submit an application. The deadline for applications varies each year.
- Anytime (sooner is better)
- Landowners with eligible land are encouraged to obtain a Forest Stewardship Plan if the land to be enrolled does not have a current Forest Stewardship Plan.
- DNR staff will work with prospective applicants to complete their applications and negotiate a draft conservation easement.
- Landowners will be notified if their project was selected for funding.
Landowners interested in conserving their forests are invited to participate in the Minnesota Forest Legacy Program contact:
Equal opportunity to participate and benefit from programs of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is available to all individuals regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, age, sexual orientation, membership or activity in a local commission, or disability. Discrimination inquiries should be sent to MN-DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4031; or the Equal Opportunity Office, Dept. of Interior, Washington, DD 20240. This information is available in an alternate format to individuals with disabilities by calling 651-296-6157 (Metro Area) or 1-888-MINNDNR (MN Toll Free) or Telecommunication Device for the Deaf/TTY651-296-5484 (Metro Area) or 1-800-657-3929 (Toll Free TTY).