Created 40 years ago to provide public oversight of development and protect the natural heritage of the 10.4 million acres of Maine’s North Woods where there is no local government, LUPC has served as an important guardian of the extraordinary qualities of Maine’s unorganized territories.
Why Does LUPC Matter?
The Land Use Planning Commission (the LUPC or Commission) serves as the planning and zoning authority for the larger portion of Maine that either has no local government or has chosen not to administer land use controls at the local level. Prior to the creation of the LUPC in 2012, the Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC) had regulatory authority over the same areas. Despite LUPC’s reformation in 2012, the Commission still provides an irreplaceable service by guiding development to appropriate locations, protecting ecologically important areas, keeping forests as forests, supporting Maine’s forest industry, and safeguarding remote recreation opportunities on our beautiful lakes, rivers, mountains, and forests.
- Maine’s unorganized territory is the largest remaining undeveloped place east of the Mississippi River. Reducing protection of the public value of that area jeopardizes Maine’s unique natural heritage.
- The region provides habitat for a tremendous number of plants, animals, and diverse natural communities. As the largest undeveloped forest in the East, this region provides “source populations” for adjoining areas—large, healthy animal populations that can repopulate fragmented and isolated habitat patches, where those populations often die out. The healthy forests of Maine’s North Woods, stewardship of which is overseen by LUPC, supports some of the largest populations of birds and mammals in the entire Northeast, including Black-throated Blue Warblers and moose.
- The area is last place in the eastern United States with pristine lakes, ponds, rivers, and mountains in an area as large as the rest of the New England states.
- LUPC and its predecessor, LURC, was created as a statewide agency to promote the interests of all Mainers by protecting the values of statewide significance that are located in the Unorganized Territory. Values that define our natural heritage and provide Mainers the quality of place we rely on for our ecosystems and economy.
Contact NRCM’s North Woods project director Cathy Johnson at email@example.com.