Supporting Natural Resource Jobs
Maine land trusts are focused on the conservation of the state’s working landscapes.
In fact, land trusts have completed projects in all sixteen counties that benefit important Maine-based industries such as forest products, fishing, and agriculture. These conservation efforts bolster local economies and support jobs, especially in rural parts of Maine.
Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust
In 1999, the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT) established a Farmers’ Market to advance their mission of supporting local agriculture. Located on Crystal Spring Farm, a 320-acre farm owned by BTLT, the market is now one of the largest in Maine.
With forty vendors, many of whom have been with the market since its inception, the market offers a wide variety of local, fresh products including vegetables, dairy, meat, fish, baked goods and artisanal and prepared foods.
Downeast Lakes Land Trust
Downeast Lakes Land Trust’s 55,578-acre Downeast Lakes Community Forest supports approximately 170 forest products industry jobs in Maine.
In certifying the Downeast Lakes Community Forest in 2015, the Forest Stewardship Council, an independent third-party auditor of forest practices, noted, “Numerous products are harvested from the forest and agreements are in place with the community to allow hunting, use of gravel from naturally occurring pits, pine boughs for local crafts, firewood, and wood used by local artisans for specialty products. All forest use is aimed and providing benefits to the community.”
Harpswell Heritage Land Trust
Located in a community where roughly 30% of its residents rely on the fishing industry in some fashion, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust (HHLT) works in many ways to protect and conserve the marine resources upon which local shellfish harvesters depend for their living.
While four HHLT preserves provide commercial access to valuable flats, other trust-conserved properties include areas local diggers frequent by boat.
Land Trust Conserved Working Lands
- More than 85% of the acres land trusts have conserved (2.14 million acres) are working forestlands
- 36,000 acres of working farmlands
- 7 working waterfront properties
- More than 60 access sites for clammers, wormers, and other marine fishermen
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.
- Enhancing Public Lands - Recreational amenities provided by land trust conserved lands are part of a larger network of conservation lands in Maine.
- Benefiting Maine’s Economy - Land trust partner with many businesses and organizations.
- 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.