Landowners who are interested in the Forest Legacy Program are encouraged to call the Ohio Division of Forestry Forest Legacy Coordinator (614-265-6667) to learn more about the program and the application process. The application form can be downloaded. You may also call the Ohio Division of Forestry and have an application mailed to you.
In filling out the application:
- Consult any information that you have that relates to your property - If you have a forest management plan for the property it will provide information pertinent to the application.
- Investigate development patterns of the county and township in which the property is located; find out if there are land-use plans or zoning ordinances that affect your property – these will be helpful in assessing the risk of development on the property.
- Find out if your property is located in an area that has a watershed plan or other natural resource related plan that may affect your property or to which the protection of your property would contribute (the County Soil and Water Conservation District may be helpful for this information).
- If you are not enrolled in one of the property tax reduction programs for forested properties (Ohio Forest Tax Law or Current Agricultural Use Value – CAUV), begin the application process for one of those programs.
- Get a feel for the market value of your property and if any sales of easements have taken place in the region around your property – this may give you a rough idea of what your easement might be worth. (Note: an easement’s actual value can only be determined through an appraisal process).
- Talk to a land trust working in your area (for a list of these organizations visit the Land Trust Alliance web site). Begin discussions with family members about the program and the ramifications of an application to the program.
Processing of Applications
The applications are evaluated by a screening committee that selects a number of applications to visit for an on-the-ground evaluation. This selection of properties to visit will be based almost solely upon the information provided in the application.
The application has several sections to be filled out. You will be asked to provide contact information, general property information including estimated market value of the property, and various forestry-related information that will help the committee visualize the nature of the woodland and any important natural resource values that the property protects. For a listing of the current national scoring guidance follow this link (link: http://www.fs.fed.us/spf/coop/library/flp_score_guide.pdf).
Please provide as much information as possible for each question in each section. The more information that is provided to the screening committee through the application, the more they will have to make an accurate initial evaluation. This application will be the screening committee’s first impression of your property. Working with a local land trust may assist in filling out the application (for a listing of land trusts operating in Ohio, visit the Coalition of Ohio Land Trusts website: http://www.ohiolandtrusts.org/).