Statement by Lisa Pohlmann, NRCM Deputy Director
As Mainers, we appreciate our natural heritage and feel blessed to have such an incredible backyard. Maine’s natural legacies play an enormous role in both our economy and our way of life. Maine’s natural lands are relished by residents and visitors from around the world, with use of our state parks up 32 percent so far this summer. In addition, Maine’s forests help to absorb climate changing pollutants.
Maine people have worked for many years to find the right balance between conservation, the forest economy, and recreation. But with growing pressures for development, federal investments in Maine are needed to help protect our North Woods – the largest unfragmented forest east of the Mississippi – through easements, acquisition, and other methods. Without these investments, this unique area could be lost forever. The Keeping Maine’s Forests initiative demonstrates one collaborative way forward to help conserve this resource, which has been long-treasured for its ecological, recreational, and economic contributions to our way of life.
Federal investments are also needed to help complete the most significant river restoration project on the Atlantic coast for endangered Atlantic salmon and shortnose sturgeon – the Penobscot River Restoration Project. This is a model partnership that will result in restoration of the health, community connections, and natural resource and recreation-based economies in Maine’s largest watershed.
These significant, large-scale accomplishments are not possible without federal recognition and funding, which is why we believe Maine deserves priority status to receive funding from a fully-funded Land and Water Conservation Fund and Forest Legacy Program, as well as other appropriate funding sources.