A conservation easement on the Ben Delatour Scout Ranch in Larimer County preserves the 3,201-acre forested property.

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Colorado State Forest Service is now accepting Forest Legacy Program proposals from Colorado landowners. The program authorizes the USDA Forest Service or the CSFS to purchase permanent conservation easements on private forestlands to prevent those lands from being converted to non-forest uses.

The application deadline is 4 p.m. July 24, 2015, for federal fiscal year 2017 funding. Proposals must be submitted by mail.

The purpose of the Colorado Forest Legacy Program is to protect environmentally important private forest areas that are threatened by conversion to non-forest uses. The program provides an opportunity for private landowners to retain ownership and management of their land, while receiving compensation for unrealized development rights.

Forestlands that contain important scenic, cultural, recreation and water resources, including fish and wildlife habitat and other ecological values, and that support traditional forest uses, will receive priority. Landowners who elect to participate in the program are required to follow a land management plan approved by the CSFS. Activities consistent with the management plan, including timber harvesting, grazing and recreation activities, are permitted.

The Colorado State Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee will evaluate proposals and recommend to the state forester those proposals that have sufficient merit to forward to the USDA Forest Service. Forwarded proposals will then compete at a regional level; those selected at the regional level will compete nationally for funding.

The application is available on the CSFS website Grants & Funding page.