Forest Legacy Program

Department: CAL FIRE

Program Description: The Forest Legacy Program protects important forest lands threatened with conversion to non-forest uses, like development. Protection of California’s forests protects wildlife habitat, recreation opportunities, watershed protection, open space, and sustainable timber production. Intact forests also contribute significantly to the storage and sequestration of carbon.

Under this competitive grant program, CAL FIRE purchases or accepts donations of conservation easements or fee title of forest lands. The primary tool CAL FIRE uses to conserve forest lands in perpetuity is permanent Working Forest Conservation Easements. These conservation easements do more than just restrict development on a property, they protect forest values by concentrating on sustainable forest practices that provide both economic value from the land and long-term land stewardship.

Program Impact: Since the early action funding of 2021 and subsequent fire resilience budgets in 2021 and 2022 Forest Legacy has:

  1. Entered into eight grant agreements worth $22.8 m with private forestland owners.
  2. Protected 36,358 acres of forestland.

Resilience in Action: Pacific Union College, CAL FIRE and Land Trust of Napa County Working Together to Protect Angwin Forestland

Man Walking Through Forest

Pacific Union College (PUC), CAL FIRE and the Land Trust of Napa County announced a joint effort to permanently protect and manage more than 1,750 acres of forestland in Angwin, adjacent to the college’s campus. This forest is part of a larger ownership in the Angwin area held by Pacific Union College for more than 100 years. It is one of the most significant forests in Napa County.

The land is owned by Pacific Union College (PUC) near its Angwin campus in the mountains northeast of St. Helena. The forest abuts Las Posadas State Forest and a preserve which supports significant wildlife habitats and rare plants.

Pacific Union College was considering selling its forest lands, but changed course when it learned about the conservation easement through the State’s Forest Legacy Program. The conservation easement permanently eliminates the potential for residential, commercial and agricultural development on the land and creates a continuous corridor of protected land along the entire length of the eastern ridge above Napa Valley.