In this voluntary program, landowners who wish to protect their land with the program may sell the property in fee simple, or if they wish to retain ownership of the property, sell a conservation restriction. This legally binding agreement prohibits certain uses such as development, but allows the property to be managed for forestry, recreation, and other conservation values.
In Massachusetts, the Forest Legacy Program is managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation in cooperation with the US Forest Service. Since joining the program in 1993, Massachusetts FLP has protected more than 16,000 acres of forest land on more than 100 properties.
Assessment of Need
The original Massachusetts Assessment of Need was approved in 1993, establishing five small Forest Legacy Areas. Over the last 25 years, several amendments were made to expand the areas of Massachusetts that were able to receive conservation funding from the Forest Legacy Program. In 2020, a new Massachusetts Assessment of Need was approved by the Forest Service creating a single Massachusetts Forest Legacy Area that includes 156 towns.