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      Deadline for the legacy forest land program coming up fast

      A deadline is approaching for private forest owners to nominate land for a state program that protects it from development. Michigan's Forest Legacy Program uses federal and local matching funds to purchase development rights and conservation easements on environmentally significant forests. Conservation easements are legally binding agreements transferring negotiated property rights from one party to another. In both cases, the land remains in private ownership. But easements and interests in land acquired by the Forest Legacy Program last forever. Michigan's program also requires that the land be open to the public for non-motorized access. Landowners also must prepare a management plan for their property. Limits on land use sometimes bring lower tax rates. The Department of Natural Resources says applications must be submitted by Friday.