RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has signed into law legislation aimed at honoring Virginia families who have owned working forestland for a century or more.

The state Department of Forestry said Wednesday that the program is the first of its kind in the country.

State officials estimate that 1,000 families are eligible to be part of the “century forest” program.

To receive the designation, a property must have been owned by the same family for at least 100 consecutive years, have at least 20 contiguous acres of managed forest and have a history of timber harvests.