Good afternoon Senator Jackson, Representative Dill, and members of the Committee. My name is Eliza Donoghue. I am a resident of Farmington and am speaking today on behalf of the Natural Resources Council of Maine in opposition to L.D. 493.
It is my understanding that this bill was inspired by a sporting camp on Eagle Lake on property leased from the State, the owners of which are having a difficult time securing financing. While sympathetic to the owners’s frustrations, I encourage the Committee to not permit the transfer of this property. As a general matter, creating inholdings within our public lands is not good policy. Once the State sells the land, it has no control over the uses which may take place there. A future sale by the sporting camp owners, in the event that the property is no longer viable as a sporting camp, would create an inholding that would not to be accessible to the publicâsubverting the purpose of our public lands. Once sold, the property could potentially be used for other purposes which might not be compatible with the uses on the public land.
NRCM, however, has no qualms with expanding the length of a lease for the sporting camp on the property. A longer lease might open up financing opportunities for the owners. Furthermore, NRCM supports efforts to retain traditional sporting camps, as they often make remote areas accessible to the public.
If language for this bill is drafted, we encourage the Committee to seek out the opinion of the Department of Conservation, which is familiar with this property and can fully explain the possible repercussions of selling the property.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak.