Big news this week from Maine’s diverse, bipartisan Land Conservation Task Force: they’ve recommended $75 million bond issue for the Land for Maine’s Future program and another $20 million for State Parks!
Maine Audubon has been a strong supporter of the Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) program since its inception in 1987, and we’re not letting up now. LMF provides permanent protection to some of Maine’s most beloved lands for conservation and recreation. Land has been conserved in all 16 Maine counties, and includes mountains, river, lakes and ponds, beaches, farms, wetlands and more.
Land for Maine’s Future has consistently been one of the state’s most popular and successful programs, but it has suffered in recent years from a lack of funding. Between May 2018 and January 2019, a diverse group of 20 individuals and organizations formed the Land Conservation Task Force to develop recommendations for the future of land conservation in Maine.
Those recommendations were announced this week, and include a big boost for LMF and for state parks. The diverse and bipartisan Task Force was excited about the future of land conservation.
Governor Janet Mills spoke at the press conference and shared her surprise that “Maine is not as ahead of the curve [on land conservation] as I thought we were.” And she’s right. A little more than 20% of Maine (roughly 4.25 million of 20.5 million acres) is conserved, compared to 27% of the rest of New England (approximately 5.6 million of 20.6 million acres). Today and throughout her campaign, the Governor shared that getting more funding for LMF is a top priority for her administration.
In order for these recommendations to become a reality, we need the state legislature to support Senator Cathy Breen’s LD 911, An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Promote Land Conservation, Working Waterfronts, Water Access and Outdoor Recreation, sponsored by Senator Cathy Breen. We’re encouraging all our members to contact their legislators and encourage them to vote in support of this funding.
You can find your legislator here, and feel free to use the sample text below:
As your constituent, I encourage you to support this bond, sponsored by Senator Breen and over 100 legislators from all parties.
Since 1987, LMF has conserved more than 600,000 acres of land in Maine, expanding public access to the outdoors in all sixteen of the state’s counties. LMF has protected working farms, forests, and waterfronts; trails for snowmobilers, hikers, bikers, and ATV enthusiasts; access to rivers, ponds, lakes, and the ocean; critical wildlife areas; community parks; town forests; beaches; and mountaintop vistas.
Supported time and again by Maine voters, LMF investments have strengthened some of our state’s most important industries, such as tourism, forest products, agriculture, and fishing, while making Maine a more desirable place to live and raise a family.
Please support this critical funding. Thank you.
We’re incredibly pleased that the Conservation Task Force has underlined the importance of the successful LMF program, and we are excited for the future of land conservation in Maine.