Many who care about Maine’s environment may not be familiar with the relatively unknown state agency that holds the key to the future of much of Maine’s undeveloped areas, including the North Woods and Unorganized Territories (UT). That agency, which was created 50 years ago this month, was originally known as the Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC) but is today named the Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC). For almost as long as the LUPC has existed, the Read More
Maine Public Lands
Maine has approximately 600,000 acres of Public Reserved Lands in 37 separate parcels located across the state. These lands are enjoyed for their outstanding hiking, camping, birding, fishing, and hunting opportunities. They include the Bigelow Preserve, Kennebec Highlands, Tumbledown, Cutler’s Bold Coast, Donnell Pond, Debouillie, Mount Abraham, and other Maine gems.
Maine’s Public Reserved Lands are a unique state resource. Their origin dates back to the separation of Maine from Massachusetts in 1820. In 1820, the state set aside lots in each unincorporated township from private sale in order for this land to provide various public benefits. In the 1970s, these dispersed public lots were consolidated into the spectacular Public Reserved Land System that we have today. These consolidated lots provide timber, protect wildlife habitat, and offer a wide variety of public recreational opportunities. These lands are held in public trust and managed for public use and enjoyment.
Maine also has 48 State Parks and Historic Sites, protecting more than 100,000 acres of land and offering diverse recreational opportunities throughout the state.
Maine’s public lands have been good for us, providing safe places to explore and find solace. The pandemic was a reminder of just how important Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) and other public areas are for us. Getting out and enjoying these special places is a great way to demonstrate support for them. So is Read More
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (Arctic Refuge) is a place of spectacular beauty as well as ecological and cultural significance, but right now it’s vulnerable to oil and gas development. These industries threaten to pollute our air and water, degrade public lands, and ruin an Indigenous way of life. As Mainers we value our public lands and the space they provide for recreation and wildlife conservation just Read More
Senator Dill, Representative O’Neil, and Members of the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, I am Melanie Sturm, the Forests and Wildlife Director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM), and I am providing testimony in support of LD 700. Maine State Parks are in critical need of investment. They face $50 Read More
Senator Dill, Representative O’Neil, and members of the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry: My name is Nick Bennett, and I am the staff scientist for the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM). NRCM is Maine’s largest environmental advocacy group with more than 25,000 members and supporters. I am testifying in support of LD 471. Read More
Good morning Senator Dill, Representative O’Neil, and Members of the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry. I am Melanie Sturm, the Forests and Wildlife Director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM), and I am providing testimony in opposition to LD 324. NRCM opposes LD 324 for a number of reasons. First Read More
Good afternoon Senator Dill, Representative O’Neil, and Members of the Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Committee. I am Melanie Sturm, Forests and Wildlife Director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM), and I am writing to provide comments in support of LD 322. Maine’s public lands, including state parks and historic sites, are cherished places Read More
As the campaign to create the Allagash Wilderness Waterway heated up more than 50 years ago, Lew Dietz wrote: “A river that can serve, not the demands of man’s materials needs, but as a sanctuary of the human spirit, is a large river indeed.” Sentiments like this ring true today as our planet is increasingly Read More
By Jeremy Sheaffer, Maine state director of The Wilderness Society in Hallowell Bangor Daily News op-ed Mainers take pride in our wild forests, rivers and shorelines that support our outdoor traditions and our growing recreation economy. Increasingly, voters in Maine measure the merits of political candidates by the strength of their commitment to conservation, as Read More