Forest Legacy Program

Continued development within and adjacent to Colorado's forested areas poses an increasing threat to the integrity of our state's valuable forest lands.

The Forest Legacy Program helps prevent fragmentation of our forests and preserves natural vistas for all to enjoy.

Intact forest lands supply timber products, improve wildlife habitat, increase soil and watershed protection, enhance aesthetics, and enrich recreational opportunities. However, as these areas are fragmented and disappear, so do the benefits they provide.

While local governments often guide development away from the most sensitive areas through traditional land use controls such as zoning and performance standards, sometimes these measures are not sufficient to fully protect the forested component of our natural resource base.

The Forest Legacy Program (FLP) is a federally funded and state-administered program that supports efforts to protect private forest lands that are environmentally, economically and socially critical.

The Colorado Forest Legacy Program is a partnership between Colorado and the USDA Forest Service to identify and help conserve environmentally important forests from conversion to non-forest uses.

The Federal government may fund up to 75 percent of program costs, with at least 25 percent coming from private, state or local sources. Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) funds, private funds, local land conservation organizations and others commonly partner to provide this funding match.

To maximize the public benefits it achieves, the program focuses on the acquisition of partial interests in privately owned forest lands (conservation easements).

It encourages and supports acquisition of conservation easements (legally binding agreements that transfer a negotiated set of property rights from one party to another) without removing the property from private ownership.

Most FLP conservation easements restrict development, require sustainable forestry practices and protect other values.

In June 2000, the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) was designated by then-Gov. Bill Owens as Colorado's lead agency for the Forest Legacy Program.

The CSFS contracted with Western Environment and Ecology, Inc., a Littleton consulting firm, to conduct a statewide Assessment of Need (AON). This assessment identified segments of the state where private forest land is at greatest risk of conversion to non-forest uses. The original AON was completed in 2001, with reviews and updates planned every five years.

Colorado Forest Legacy Program: Federal Fiscal Year 2016 Funding

The deadline to submit applications for 2016 funds is Friday, July 25, 2014. Please visit our Funding Assistance page for details.