For the first time since 2010, Maine’s award-winning Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) program has granted voter-approved bond funds to land conservation projects around the state. The nine-person board agreed to invest more than $9 million in 30 projects. These investments will bolster tourism-related businesses, increase access for outdoor recreation, and enhance the State’s traditional natural resource-based economy.
The LMF Board approved local, regional, and statewide projects in 13 counties, including the following:
- Cold Stream (Somerset County): prime brook trout and white-tailed deer habitat.
- Brave Boat (York County): wildlife and recreational corridor connection in Kittery.
- Nezinscot Farm (Androscoggin County): organic, diversified dairy farm in Turner.
- High Island (Knox County): accessible coastal island available for camping and exploration.
- Gulf Hagas/Whitecap (Piscataquis County): working forest within Maine’s 100-mile Wilderness.
- Howard Hill (Kennebec County): family-friendly trails within walking distance of State Capitol.
- Eagle Bluff (Penobscot County): premier rock climbing destination.
- Lily Pond (Hancock County): freshwater access for swimmers and small boats
- Erica’s Seafood (Cumberland County): deep water access for commercial fishing in Harpswell
“LMF’s success has always been linked to its support of the State’s natural resource based economy, while also addressing a wide array of threats to Maine’s pristine natural environment,” commented Maine Coast Heritage Trust President Tim Glidden. “This latest round of strategic investments in land conservation could not have come at a better time for individuals and businesses who enjoy and benefit from Maine’s great outdoors.”
“As long time proponents of the program, we are grateful to the voters of Maine, for the strong support they provide each time LMF is on the ballot,” concluded Kennebec Estuary Land Trust Executive Director and MLTN Steering Committee President Carrie Kinne. “Together, we can conserve the essence of what makes the Pine Tree State such a special place to live, work, and raise a family.”
The LMF board, comprising public officials and private citizens appointed by the governor, reviews proposals from municipalities, state agencies and land trusts before deciding which projects will provide the most public benefits. The announcement of grant recipients is not the final step. Before the State commits funds, each project will go through a rigorous due diligence process to ensure Maine voters’ expectations are met both in terms of quality and affordability.
Maine voters have approved LMF bonds by nearly 2 to 1 margins six times since the program was established in 1987. LMF projects have been completed in each of the state’s 16 counties. These projects have protected a diversity of natural resources and public recreation areas:
- More than 560,000 acres of conservation and recreation lands, including 315,000 acres of commercial forestlands
- 52 water access sites
- 37 farms totaling more than 8,900 acres
- More than 1,200 miles of shoreline
- 158 miles of former railroad corridors for recreational trails
- 20 commercial working waterfront properties
The conservation land acquired with LMF funds has increased access for hiking, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, biking, camping and many other outdoor recreational pursuits. Easement and covenants secured on working forests, farms, and waterfronts have supported the State’s fishing, farming, and forestry industries.