Land for Maine's Future—Time for a Big Land Bond
The Maine Land Conservation Task Force released recommendations to be delivered to the Legislature and Governor Mills' administration about the future of Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) and land conservation in Maine. Please tell the Task Force that you support a strong reinvestment in the LMF program:
- Read the Task Force’s Report here.
- Submit comments by January 23 in support of a large land bond.
- NRCM supports a $75 million bond for LMF and a $20 million bond to support Maine’s State Parks.
For more than 30 years, Land for Maine's Future (LMF) has helped to permanently protect more than a half million acres of conservation land, working waterfronts, farmland, water access sites, and working forests.
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.
Unfortunately, LMF has run out of money because Governor LePage opposed the program despite its widespread popularity. With a conservation majority now in the State House, 2019 provides a great opportunity to reinvest in Land for Maine's Future.
Having a reliable, significant, and well-funded LMF program will help unlock federal and private funds, increasing Maine's ability to protect even more land. That's why NRCM supports an LMF bond of $75-$100 million. A bond of this size would last multiple years and support conservation of all types—including large parcels of Maine's undeveloped North Woods and special places close to our cities and towns.
Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) helps protect Maine lands that have exceptional natural or recreational value and should be permanently protected. More than 96 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 490,000 acres of land or easements from willing sellers. These lands include more than 1,200 miles of shorefront and 315,000 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 30 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
- 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 Reserve Lands of Maine Department of Conservation
- The Conservation Fund
- The Nature Conservancy
- The Trust for Public Land
- Wildlife Management Area 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