Land for Maine’s Future Coalition news release
May 7, 2021 (Augusta, ME) — A broad coalition of organizations are applauding Governor Janet Mills for including funding for the popular and effective Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) program in her proposed bond package announced today. Created in 1987, LMF has supported projects in all 16 Maine counties that span 600,000 acres of land for conservation, recreation, farming, forestry, and fishing. Despite strong bipartisan support, LMF has not received new funding since 2012.
Mainers representing a wide array of interests submitted testimony in overwhelming support of two LMF bond proposals at an April 26nd public hearing before the Appropriations Committee: LD 983 sponsored by Senator Cathy Breen (D-Cumberland County) and LD 687 sponsored by Representative Patrick Corey (R-Windham). If approved by the Legislature, the LMF bond would appear on the November 2021 ballot.
Statements from Land for Maine’s Future Coalition Organizations:
“Acadia Center supports the Maine Climate Action Plan and its recommendations to increase forest, agricultural, and coastal lands and waters. Funding the Land for Maine’s Future program is critical to achieve the Plan’s priority strategies and absolutely necessary to increase carbon storage opportunities, avoid harmful emissions, and enhance climate resilience.” Jeff Marks, Maine State Director, Acadia Center
“Land conservation at all scales can provide resilience to climate change. Conserved lands with functioning ecosystems absorb current stresses like flooding and offer resilience for future conditions, as climate change refugia or migration corridors. That is why the Maine Climate Council recommended increasing conserved lands in Maine to 30% by 2030. Funding the Land for Maine’s Future program is critical in this perilous moment. Now is the time to boost carbon sequestration, protect biodiversity, ensure habitat connectivity, and create resilience in the face of climate change.” Dr. Sarah Nelson, Director of Research, Appalachian Mountain Club
“We are thrilled Governor Mills recognizes the significant value Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) brings to the state of Maine. Our working landscapes need protection and LMF is a great tool. State bonds leverage additional capital and encourage landowners to protect these essential assets that are the building blocks to a thriving Maine economy. At CEI, we’ve seen the significant value LMF has brought to Maine’s working waterfronts. Over an eight-year period, 30 properties were preserved for Maine’s fishing and aquaculture industry. It’s an amazing tool that leverages exponential investment.” Hugh Cowperthwaite, Senior Program Director, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Coastal Enterprises, Inc.
“In Casco Bay, Land for Maine’s Future funds have conserved vital ecosystems and public spaces, such as Mere Point in Brunswick and Cundy’s Harbor in Harpswell. We use both of these sites to monitor water quality and always enjoy the wide range of fishermen, families, and wildlife we see there. Up and down Maine’s coastline, land conservation protects the coastal ecosystems that are necessary to buffer the impacts of climate change and sustain marine life. Our love of place in Maine is strong, and the Land for Maine’s Future effort helps ensure the public’s access to our state’s natural spaces that sustain our communities. We must continue to fund this program.” Ivy Frignoca, Casco Baykeeper, Friends of Casco Bay
“The Forest Society of Maine works with willing landowners to acquire permanent conservation easements on forestlands to ensure that they are not divided and developed. This is the type of action that can keep Maine’s forests intact, but it takes funds to do so. A land bond for Land for Maine’s Future would refund this program and enable opportunities for forest conservation, that keeps land on the tax rolls and land open for public access.” Karin Tilberg, President and CEO, Forest Society of Maine
“LMF projects help ensure that the full suite of Maine’s wildlife and habitats are conserved into the future. These lands provide a permanent home for wildlife, opportunities for nature-based tourism, and places for spiritual renewal. Maine Audubon is grateful to Governor Mills for her continued support of this critical program.” Nick Lund, Outreach and Network Manager, Maine Audubon
“Whether you’re a hunter, hiker, biker, birder, powersporter, or power walker, the Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) program benefits all Mainers. There’s a reason that the word ‘Future’ is front and center in this program’s title. What we do to conserve our natural resources now will continue to benefit Maine for generations to come. Both Governor Mills’ ambitious Climate Action Plan and new bond package funding for LMF signal a clear understanding that Maine’s natural and working lands are powerful tools for fighting the climate crisis and building resilient Maine communities.” Beth Ahearn, Director of Government Affairs, Maine Conservation Voters
“Agriculture is a key component of Maine’s economy and way of life, but farmland – the foundation of Maine’s farm businesses – is a precious and limited resource. The LMF program is an important source of public funding for protecting Maine’s farmlands.” Ellen Griswold, Policy and Research Director, Maine Farmland Trust
“NRCM is encouraged to have the governor’s support for re-funding the critically important LMF program. LMF funds are meaningfully spent on land for conservation, recreation, wildlife habitat, or working lands and are leveraged by non-state dollars, making it a smart investment for our state’s future. We thank Governor Mills, Senator Breen, and Representative Corey for their leadership.” Melanie Sturm, Forests & Wildlife Director, Natural Resources Council of Maine
“This pandemic has demonstrated the value of Maine’s conserved lands and waters, but it has also shown that demand is higher than the supply. I applaud the governor for her steadfast support for conserving our working lands and waters, trails, and special spaces near and dear to all Mainers and visitors.” Tom Duffus, Vice President, The Conservation Fund
“The Nature Conservancy applauds Governor Mills’ commitment to the Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) program. LMF has been an effective tool in protecting some of Maine’s most spectacular places and supporting our natural resource economy for more than 30 years. This bold investment builds on the great bipartisan efforts of Senator Breen and Representative Corey, and promises to continue LMF’s success revitalizing communities, protecting critical habitat, encouraging outdoor recreation, and supporting Maine’s traditional natural resource-based industries.” Kaitlyn Bernard, Natural Resource Policy Advisor, The Nature Conservancy in Maine
“The Land for Maine’s Future program is Maine’s best tool to protect habitat for native brook trout and endangered Atlantic salmon, and will leverage new federal funding that needs state-side match. Governor Mills’ support on top of bipartisan legislative sponsorship for an LMF bond is good news for Maine fish and anglers!” Jeff Reardon, Maine Brook Trout Project Director, Trout Unlimited
“Every Mainer, no matter where they live, deserves access to Maine’s great outdoors. More than 65% of Maine people are further than a 10-minute walk and 23% of are further than a 10-minute drive from a park or public open space. Land for Maine’s Future will provide the funding to create much needed places for all of us to be able to get outside.” Betsy Cook, Maine State Director, Trust for Public Land