Land for Maine's Future 2021
Update: Due to Covid-19, the Legislature ended abruptly in 2020, before a final vote was taken on the Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) bill. NRCM keeps passage of the Land for Maine’s Future bill front and center with outreach and education, and we are prepared to advocate for more funding in 2021.
A land bond bill to provide additional funding for the LMF program did not pass in 2019 or 2020, so we are renewing our efforts to pass badly needed funding for LMF and Maine State Parks during the current session of the Legislature.
In spring 2019, the Maine Land Conservation Task Force released recommendations to the Legislature and Governor Mills' administration about the future of LMF and land conservation in Maine. Read the Task Force’s report.
NRCM supports the level of funding for the LMF program and Maine State Parks recommended by the Task Force.
$75 Million to Revitalize Land for Maine's Future
For more than 30 years, LMF has helped to permanently protect Maine's forests, farms, and waters, making it one of the most popular programs in the state. Maine people know that conserving Maine's forests, waters, mountains, and farmland protects Maine's way of life while offering resilience in the face of climate change. Voters have consistently affirmed their support for LMF at the ballot box five times since 1987.
But because the LePage Administration opposed Land for Maine's Future between 2012 and 2020, Maine had years of missed opportunities and LMF funding ran out.
- A bold $75 million LMF bond will ensure that Maine can continue to protect its natural resources.
- A reliable, well-funded LMF program is the key to unlocking federal and private matching grants for land conservation.
- LMF funding supports all types of land conservation. From the globally significant forests of the North Woods to locally important lands in our communities, Maine's climate, forests, and people benefit from a strong LMF program.
- Investing in LMF means investing in Maine's forestry, farming, fishing, and tourism industries.
$20 Million to Support Maine's State Parks
Just as LMF can expand protections for Maine's forests, farms, and waters, we know that Maine needs to invest in lands currently under its stewardship.
A $20 million bond for State Parks will support repairs and new facilities. Given the current maintenance backlog, this is a step in the right direction to revitalizing Maine's State Park system.
Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) helps protect Maine lands that have exceptional natural or recreational value and should be permanently protected. More than 92 percent of Maine land is privately owned, and development pressures have never been greater. Public access for traditional recreation and other uses is losing ground. Given these changes, Maine could lose many of the natural landscapes that Mainers and visitors treasure and that are essential to our economy and way of life. In 1987, Maine voters approved a $35 million bond that led the state to create the Land for Maine’s Future program. Since then, Maine voters have consistently approved land bonds— funding was replenished in 1999, 2005, 2007, 2010, and 2012.
The Natural Resources Council of Maine has helped to lead a coalition of 275 businesses, associations, and organizations working for funding for the LMF program. And our work has paid off, as LMF contributed to the purchase of more than 580,000 acres of land or easements from willing sellers. These lands include more than 1,200 miles of shorefront and 332,000 acres of working forestland, and habitat important for wildlife for breeding, wintering, and migration. LMF-protected lands also include entire islands as well as more than 40 working farms.
The LMF program works successfully with a wide range of partner groups (see below) to identify and purchase land and is strongly supported by outdoor enthusiasts, sportsmen, fishermen, clammers, conservationists, business people, municipalities, and citizens throughout the state. Since 2000, LMF has garnered millions in private matching funds for every dollar expended. NRCM continues to push for funding for the Land for Maine’s Future program to protect public access to Maine’s most beautiful and significant natural places. Together, we can ensure that LMF continues to set the stage for our children and grandchildren. The Land for Maine’s Future program works to identify and purchase lands that guarantee public access. Many of these preserves are established in cooperation with nearly 100 land trusts working in communities across Maine. Municipalities also play an important role, as do the following groups:
- American Farmland Trust
- Appalachian Mountain Club
- Forest Society of Maine
- Gulf of Maine Coastal Ecosystems Program
- Land Trust Alliance
- Maine Coast Heritage Trust
- Maine Coast Protection Initiative
- Maine Department of Agriculture
- Maine Land Trust Network
- Maine Natural Areas Program
- Parks and Reserved Lands of Maine Department of Conservation
- The Conservation Fund
- The Nature Conservancy
- The Trust for Public Land
- Wildlife Management Areas of Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
- Working Waterfront Access Pilot Program
Conserving public access to special places is important to the mission of the Natural Resources Council of Maine. We will continue to push to ensure funding for LMF and its role in protecting Maine’s way of life.
Banner photo: Tumbledown Mountain by Bill Amos