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.
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.
- Providing Public Access - Maine’s network of more than 75 land trusts has significantly increased public access to the outdoors.
- Benefiting Maine’s Economy - Land trust partner with many businesses and organizations.
- Supporting Natural Resource Jobs - Maine land trusts are focused on the conservation of the state’s working landscapes.
- Strengthening Local Communities - Apart from welcoming visitors to public preserves, Maine land trusts serve communities in many other ways.
- Private Sector Answer to Public Needs - Maine has one of the most active land trust communities in the nation, with more land trusts per capita than any other state.
- Most Trust Lands Are on Tax Rolls - Public lands in Maine and around the country are exempt from paying property taxes.