Estate Planning Resources and the Forest Legacy Program

Jump to Forest Legacy Program information

Many forest landowners choose to permanently protect their land from development. If you are interested in permanently protecting your land, consider the following information.

Three ways in which you can permanently protect your land:
  1. Retain ownership of your land but sell or gift the right to build and/or subdivide through a conservation easement or conservation restriction;
  2. Sell or gift the property to a government agency or non-profit conservation group; or,
  3. Combine sensitive and limited development on a portion of the land with permanent protection on the rest.
Available Resources:
Keep in mind that your land protection will likely require:

  • Accurate boundary information.
  • A property appraisal. Certified general real estate appraisers can estimate the current market value of your land, as well as the value of its development rights. This information is not required early on, but will eventually be needed if you intend to take advantage of federal income tax deductions that are allowed for conservation gifts or bargain sales.
  • A forest resource inventory can be helpful. A certified forester can conduct one and can inform you of unique plant communities, valuable or productive timber stands, valuable wildlife habitats, and more. This information enables you to make the best possible choices about what portions of your land may be the most important to protect. 
Sources of Support:
  • Land trusts are non-profit organizations run by local, conservation-minded volunteers. They exist to permanently protect and care for open space. They can help you explore funding programs, locate good legal assistance, and much more.
  • Town conservation commissions exist to inventory and protect important open space as your community grows. Often they can work with you and the local land trust to help you realize and achieve your land protection goals.
  • A conservation attorney can help with specific needs, opportunities, and tax issues facing those protecting their land. A local land trust or conservation commission may be able to provide you with a recommendation.
  • The Connecticut Forest and Park Association is a state leader in land protection and management and can help you choose a land protection method that works best for you and your property.
  • The Connecticut Land Conservation Council (CLCC) works with land trusts, landowners, and others to increase the pace, quality, and scale of land conservation in Connecticut. CLCC also has a primer on Protecting the Land You Love.
  • The Connecticut Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offers easement programs to eligible landowners to conserve forestlands.
  • The Last Green Valley can answer specific questions and help you pull a team of partners and advisors together that can work with you.
  • The Connecticut Forest Legacy Program is a federally-supported conservation program that identifies and conserves environmentally important forests. The program protects working forests, those forests that protect water quality and provide habitat, forest products, opportunities for recreation, and other public benefits. Learn more below:

The Connecticut Forest Legacy Program

Forest Legacy logo

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection partners with the US Forest Service to implement the Connecticut Forest Legacy Program (FLP). The FLP helps to identify and conserve environmentally important forests. The program protects working forests, those forests that protect water quality and provide habitat, forest products, opportunities for recreation and other public benefits.

The program encourages and supports acquisition of conservation easements. Conservation easements are legally binding agreements transferring a negotiated set of property rights from one party to another, without transferring property ownership. Most FLP conservation easements restrict development, require sustainable forestry practices, and protect various environmental values. There are also limited instances under the program where properties are purchased outright for their conservation values. In both instances, the federal government may fund up to 75% of program costs, with at least 25% coming from private, state or local sources.

Learn about Forest Legacy Program Projects in Connecticut

In Connecticut, the Forest Legacy Program is jointly run by the Division of Forestry and the Land Acquisition and Management Division within the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The Forest Legacy Program Coordinator's position resides in the Division of Forestry.


To be considered for the FLP, a property must:

  1. Be within the designated Forest Legacy Area;
  2. Be threatened by development or conversion to non-forest;
  3. Be a working forest, in that it protects water quality, provides habitat, forest products, opportunities for recreation, and/or other public benefits;
  4. Abut or be in close proximity to already existing protected land; and,
  5. Have some unique quality, such as a viewshed or a known population of rare, threatened or endangered species.

Public access is not mandatory. However, the US Forest Service is more apt to fund a project that allows some public access. If State Funds are used as the cost-share, then public access is required. If no public access is allowed, a justification has to be made in the application.

A Forest Stewardship Plan is required. Please contact the appropriate Service Forester for more information about the Forest Stewardship program.

For more information on the Forest Legacy Program or an application packet, please contact:

Dan Peracchio, Forest Legacy Coordinator
CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Division of Forestry
79 Elm Street
Hartford, CT  06106
Tel: 860-424-3634
Fax: 860-424-4070

Content last updated in September 2022.