Forest Legacy Program Projects
Whip-poor-will Woods Forest Legacy Project
On September 1, 2022, the Whip-poor-will Woods Forest Legacy Project (WPWW) received the 2022 Excellence in Conservation Organization Award for Outstanding Project from the Connecticut Land Conservation Council. The WPWW project is a landscape scale conservation effort that permanently protected 1,495 acres on seven tracts owned by six landowners through the Forest Legacy Program.
Whip-poor-will Woods Forest Legacy Project landowners receiving an award from the Connecticut Land Conservation Council for Outstanding Project. Photo by Yaw Darko.
The Forest Legacy Program is a USDA Forest Service program that works with state and private partners to conserve important forestlands across the United States and its territories. This project used more than $2.8 million dollars in funding from the USDA Forest Service Forest Legacy Program to complete the conservation easements, while the landowners provided more than $875,000 in match through bargain sales of the conservation easements.
WPWW abuts approximately 13,000 acres of protected open space and contributes to Connecticut’s target of protecting 21% of the state’s land area as open space by 2023. This project furthers one of the main goals of the Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3), the Policy on Resilient Forests For Connecticut’s Future (PRFCT Future), and Connecticut’s 2020 Forest Action Plan to keep forest as forest and minimize forest loss across the state.
These permanently conserved forests will make these areas more resilient to climate change, sequester and store carbon, provide clean drinking water and wildlife habitat, and supply forest products, including maple syrup. These benefits are shared not just among the landowners, but throughout the town of Stafford and the larger region.
Many of the WPWW landowners have been working for years to conserve these properties (20 years in some cases), and thanks to their dedication, passion, and patience, Connecticut has protected a valuable resource in perpetuity. Without these landowners’ commitment to land conservation, this project would not exist, and future generations would be worse off.
With the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act in 2020 that permanently authorized and fully funded the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which funds the Forest Legacy Program, and the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which provides $700 million dollars in additional Forest Legacy funding, hopefully the Forest Legacy Program will be able to fund amazing projects like this in Connecticut and across the country for years to come. Nearly 10,000 acres in Connecticut have been protected through the Forest Legacy Program since the late 1990s and we will continue to try to conserve more of these important landscapes to benefit future generations.
Content last updated in September 2022.