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How the Community Forest Program Works

A calm lake bordered by a golden forest.
Photo by Steve Neel.

The Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program (Community Forest Program) of the Forest Service offers a unique opportunity for communities to acquire and conserve forests that provide public access and recreational opportunities, protect vital water supplies and wildlife habitat, serve as demonstration sites for private forest landowners, and provide economic benefits from timber and non-timber products.

Program Basics

People looking at a visitor bulletin board at a trail head.
Community forests expand recreation opportunities. Photo by Janet Valle.

  • Full fee title acquisition is required. Conservation easements are not eligible.
  • Community Forests can be owned by local governments, tribal governments, and qualified nonprofit entities.
  • The program pays up to 50% of the project costs and requires a 50% non-federal match.
  • Public access is required for Community Forest Program projects.
  • Lands acquired through the program are actively managed in accordance with a community forest plan to provide community benefits.

How to Apply

The Forest Service publishes an annual request for applications for the Community Forest Program (CFP) in the Federal Register. The Request for Applications for Fiscal Year 2023 is now available. Applications are due to State Foresters or equivalent Tribal officials by March 31, 2023. Applications are encouraged from across the country. If you are interested in applying, contact your CFP Regional Contact. For complete information on the program and application process, see the Final Rule and the Community Forest Road Map, a resource for potential program applicants or grant recipients.

NEW: The informational webinar held on Tuesday, March 7 was recorded and may be viewed here: Community Forest Program Informational Webinar.  Webinar slides (.pdf, 381KB) are also available.

Application Resources

Man standing on a rock speaking to a group of people.
Community forests provide educational opportunities. Photo by Margee Haines.

News Room

Funding and Accomplishments

Regulations and Policies

Program Guidelines and Performance

Community Forest Program Accomplishment Map

Map showing the progress of the community forest program dated March 1, 2022

Community Forest Program Progress as of March 1, 2022 (.pdf, 2MB)

National Contact

Scott Stewart
Forest Legacy Program Manager & Community Forest Program Manager
(202) 205-1618

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