Enhancing Public Lands

Recreational amenities provided by land trust conserved lands are part of a larger network of conservation lands in Maine.

The network which includes State Parks, Public Reserve Lands, State Wildlife Management Areas, Baxter State Park, White Mountain National Forest, Acadia National Park, Appalachian Trail National Park, Katahdin Woods National Monument, national wildlife refuges, and municipal parks.

Mount Agamenticus is the centerpiece of a 13,500-acre recreational area where land trust preserves, municipal parks, IF&W wildlife management areas, and private conserved lands seamlessly connect to the benefit of resident flora, fauna, and outdoor enthusiasts. The region boasts 40 miles of trails used by an estimated 30,000 visitors each year for snowmobiling, biking, ATV riding, and hiking. These lands are overseen by a Steering Committee with representatives from the Towns of York and South Berwick, York Water District, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Great Works Regional Land Trust, and York Land Trust.

To put the recreational offerings on land trust conserved lands into context, compare them with the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands Public Reserve system, which manages a little more than 600,000 acres in the state. Maine’s Public Reserve system offers fewer than 15% as many miles of hiking trails (175 miles vs. 1,260 miles) and far fewer boat launch sites (35 sites vs. 203 sites).

In addition, land trust lands collectively see a lot more public use, because compared to Maine’s Public Reserves, most land trust preserves are located closer to population centers and the state’s most popular tourist destinations.

Maine residents and visitors alike use a variety of public and private lands to meet their recreation needs. Land trusts, state parks and public reserved lands, municipal lands, federal lands, and private lands with public recreational access all serve substantial percentages of the public based on reported visitation.

– Excerpt from Maine State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP): 2014-2019 (emphasis added)

In July 2017, Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) surveyed members of the Maine Land Trust Network, which includes most of the State’s land trust community. 70 organizations participated. Data from a 2015 MCHT land trust census was used to fill in gaps for those organizations that did not complete the survey.

Read the full report (4 MB PDF)

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