Forest Legacy Program

Leaving a Forest Legacy in Washington State

Forest Legacy is a federal grant program designed to protect working forests under threat of conversion to non-forest uses, most commonly for commercial or residential development. The program is administered by the USDA Forest Service, and in Washington is carried out by the state Department of Natural Resources.
Through the program, federal grant funds pay for conservation easements that remove the development rights from forestland. This allows the landowner to continue long-term forestry on a property that might otherwise be sold for development. Keeping land in traditional forest uses also aids protection of water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, cultural resources, and recreation opportunities.
Washington was one of the first states to participate in the Forest Legacy Program, and has used it successfully to reduce urban sprawl in eight counties since 1993. Through 2022, more than 62,000 acres of forestland have been permanently protected from development.

Program Goals and Criteria

The Forest Legacy Program guidelines direct states to determine how and where the program should be applied. DNR prepared its first Assessment of Need in 1993 and updated it in 2004 to cover more areas around the state. In 2017, DNR published its Statewide Forest Resources Assessment and Strategy, which affirms the 2004 Legacy Program goals and places the program in context with other tools and strategies available for dealing with forest resource issues in Washington. The Forest Legacy area map was updated in 2016. All applications received must be located in a Priority A or Priority B area to be consider for the program. GIS files are available on request.

Forest Legacy Program Applications

IRA FY24 Applications for Inflation Reduction Act Funding (IRA) projects to be funded in federal fiscal year 2024 will be accepted through October 4, 2023 for round 1 and April 4, 2024 for round 2. The IRA - Project Scoring Guidance provided will be used by the national panel to score and rank all submitted projects. This is a useful tool for determining whether a project is suitable for the Forest Legacy Program. Applications may be for conservation easements or for fee acquisitions depending on the category applying for; though only a unit of government may hold the interest acquired with Forest Legacy Funds.
The State's conservation easement (CE) template has been revised due to changes to Forest Legacy guidelines, and is posted under FILES at right. The section describing deed requirements is also posted. Applicants (landowners) are expected to accept the mandatory clauses in either a CE or a deed before applying for funding. The entire set of guidelines is available by request or may be downloaded from the Forest Service website.

Forest Legacy Map Information

This map shows the locations of the properties funded by the Forest Legacy Program in Washington. To see the property boundaries and facts about each site, click on an icon, select "zoom to" on the pop-up-box, and then click the parcel. If you are looking for a specific property you can select it from the bookmarks tab on the tool bar. Use the Forest Legacy Interactive Map Viewing Tool below or open in full screen.

Federal Civil Rights

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, DNR does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. However, should a person wish to file a discrimination complaint, please write to: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington D.C. 20250-9410 or call 202-720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.