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Managed Forest Law (MFL) Enrollment Questions

What obligations will I be subject to if I enroll land into the MFL program?

A list of some primary obligations follows, but keep in mind that this list is not inclusive.

  • Follow your MFL management plan.
  • Pay MFL tax rates.
  • On open land, permit public access for hunting, fishing, cross-country skiing, sight-seeing and hiking.
  • Submit a cutting notice before harvesting and a cutting report after harvesting.
  • Permit field inspections.
What is required in an application packet?
  • Application fee.
  • Copy of recorded proof of ownership.
  • Copy of your tax bill(s).
  • Copy of any certified survey maps pertinent to your property (if applicable).
  • Signed management plan.
How do I start the application process?

You need to find a CPW to prepare the required management plan and application packet for submittal by the June 1 deadline.

What is a CPW?

A certified plan writer or CPW, is a private consulting forester certified by the DNR to write management plans for the MFL program.

How do I find a CPW?

The Forestry Assistance Locator is a resource to help you find a CPW offering services in your area. 

What is the cost to apply?

A nonrefundable fee of $30 per county must accompany each application.

What is the cost of a management plan?

Each certified plan writer (CPW) has a different fee schedule. Contact the CPW for payment information.

How much land can I close to public access?

320 acres per ownership per municipality.

What are the current MFL tax rates?

Current MFL tax rates.

How long will the land be in the MFL program?

You have a choice of a 25-year or 50-year enrollment period.

Can I have buildings on MFL land?

The rules for buildings on MFL lands depend on the year the land was entered into the program.

For lands enrolled in 2016 or earlier, any building containing five or more of the eight characteristics listed below is considered developed for human residence and the land under and surrounding the building, including the septic system, is not eligible for MFL designation. Storage or workshop buildings are allowed, but if such a building also contains living space, the living space is subject to the eight characteristics listed below.

  • Total area of 800 square feet or more, using exterior dimensions of living space—including each level—but excluding porches, decks or uninsulated screen porches.
  • Indoor plumbing, including water and sewer piped to either municipal or septic system.
  • Central heating or cooling—including electric heat—furnace or other heater with a circulation system.
  • Full or partial basement, excluding crawl spaces and frost walls.
  • Electrical service by connection to the lines of a power company.
  • Attached or separate garage, not to include buildings for vehicles used primarily for work or recreation on the property.
  • Telephone service based locally.
  • Insulated using common insulation products.

For land entered into the program in 2017 or later, buildings and improvements associated with buildings are not permitted on MFL land unless used exclusively for storage.

How do I obtain a copy of my deed?

If you do not have a copy of your recorded deed in your files, you can contact the county Register of Deeds office [exit DNR].

What does it mean that my lands would be "certified?"

Landowners must choose whether or not to enroll in the MFL certified group upon enrollment into the MFL program. A fact sheet [PDF] describes the benefits and responsibilities for group members. Group certification focuses on the DNR's administration of the group and quality of management on members' land. Third-party auditors determine if the MFL Group conforms to American Tree Farm System and Forest Stewardship Council principles and performance measures.

If I already have land in the MFL program, can I add additional land to it?

Yes, but there are criteria that need to be met for land to be eligible to be added. Contact a tax law forestry specialist for more information.

If I have land in the Forest Crop Law (FCL) program, can I convert it to MFL?

Yes, but all your FCL land in the municipalities indicated on the MFL application must be converted to MFL.

Can I limit the number of people using my open land?


I don't have any streams or ponds on my property. Do I have to allow fishing on my lands?

Yes, however if fishing opportunities don't exist it is likely that the public will not use your lands for fishing.