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Forest Legacy

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A photo of A mountain biker rides through a thick forest in the Haskill Basin
A mountain biker rides through a thick forest in the Haskill Basin in Whitefish, MT. Autumn, F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Company. Photo by Steven Gnam.

Located in the heart of the Crown of the Continent, one of the last intact ecosystems in North America, the Haskill Basin project provides 75% of the municipal water supply for the city of Whitefish, Montana and important habitat for the federally-listed grizzly bear and Canada lynx. 

A photo of a grizzly bear wading in water

Forest Legacy projects provide important habitat for numerous wildlife species such as the grizzly bear. Photo by Steve Neel.

The Forest Legacy Program (FLP) is a conservation program administered by the U.S. Forest Service in partnership with State agencies to encourage the protection of privately owned forest lands through conservation easements or land purchases. Protection of private forests through FLP maintains a multitude of public benefits including:

  • Opportunities to hunt, fish, and camp
  • Clean and abundant drinking water,
  • Habitat for fish and wildlife, and
  • Timber, fuel wood, and other forest products.

Loss of forested areas poses an increasing threat to the integrity of the nation’s natural resources. As these areas are fragmented and disappear, so do the benefits they provide. By providing economic incentives to landowners to keep their forests as forests, we can encourage sustainable forest management and support strong markets for forest products.

Since its creation in 1990, FLP has conserved over 2.6 million acres of forest land and expanded across the country to 53 states and territories. These “working forests” protect water quality and provide wildlife habitat, forest products, opportunities for recreation and other public benefits. Explore the places and projects Forest Legacy conserves through the Forest Legacy Interactive Map.

A photo of a child running on a trial through the forest

The Forest Legacy Program expands opportunities for recreation. Photo by Margee Haines.

Learn more about how the program works…

Learn more about our projects and partners…

Contact Us

Contact a Forest Legacy Program Manager…

Contact your State Coordinator…

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