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Owners can permanently shield forest land from development

Pine trees at the Ottawa National Forest in Michigan.
Joseph O'Brien | Wikimedia | CC BY 3.0
USDA Forest Service

Michigan officials are taking applications from owners of forest land who would like to enroll their property in a program that shields it permanently from development.

Michigan's Forest Legacy Program uses federal and matching funds to protect environmentally important woodlands in certain areas.

That could mean buying the property and converting it to public ownership.

Other arrangements involve leaving the land in private hands and paying the owner to make sure it stays protected.

Some owners might also get tax benefits for limiting the future use of their property.

Kerry Wieber of the Department of Natural Resources says the legacy program is important for preserving wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities.

Applications are due by June 16. Additional information is posted online.