For information about the Forest Legacy Program, contact JOHN ROWE
FOREST LEGACY FORESTER
1900 KANAWHA BLVD.,E.
(304) 545-6063 (cell)
About the Forest Legacy Program
The Forest Legacy Program was established by Congress in 1990 through amendments to the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act that directed the Secretary of Agriculture to initiate the program through the U.S. Forest Service and its cooperators to conserve environmentally important forest areas threatened by conversion to non-forest uses. This authority is to continue indefinitely, although it depends on annual Congressional appropriations.
In West Virginia, the West Virginia Division of Forestry has the regulatory authority for the program through the State Code and appointment of the Governor.
The mechanism of conservation is the purchase in fee of a conservation easement in the Forest Legacy Areas from willing sellers at fair market price as established by a standardized appraisal. A conservation easement is a legal agreement (deed) through which a property owner sells or donates his rights to development or other activities on his land. He retains all of the rights not sold. Consequently, the land will continue as a working forest producing products. The Forest Legacy Program is a 75:25 matching program between the government and private sources. The West Virginia Division of Forestry will hold the deed to conservation easements in the West Virginia Program.