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Maine’s North Woods

46 Borestone & OnawaMaine’s northern forest is the single largest undeveloped forestland in the eastern United States. Its woods, waters and wildlife create outstanding recreational experiences for Maine people and visitors, bringing good jobs and new opportunities for economic growth. Maine’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry houses the state’s core programs that benefit and conserve the North Woods.

Spruce Budworm

Many in the forestry community are preparing for a likely outbreak of spruce budworm in the next few years. Spruce budworm is a destructive native insect that affects the northern spruce and fir forests of the eastern United States and Canada. The last outbreak in Maine in the 1990s was severe and the response included
dramatic clear-cutting and pesticide spraying.

To its credit, the forestry community is now trying to develop a response to the outbreak by planning ahead and reaching out to the environmental community and the public. There will likely be multiple bills related to a future spruce budworm response. We will work with all parties to ensure that the response takes into account the multiple benefits our forests provide, including wildlife habitat and water quality.

Bureau of Parks and Land

The Bureau of Parks and Lands’ (BPL) mission includes protecting and managing the natural and cultural resources under its care in order to offer a wide range of recreational and educational opportunities, as well as providing environmental and economic benefits for present and future generations. It includes 28 Public Lands Units comprising more than 500,000 acres of wild lands that are managed for a variety of resource values, including recreation, wildlife and timber.

Preserve Maine’s public lands for recreation, wildlife and sustainable forestry.  Support the essential role Forest Rangers play in enforcing environmental laws.

Maine Audubon DOES NOT support the proposed Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Department’s budget. This budget proposes to break apart Maine’s Bureau of Parks & Lands and slash Maine Forest Ranger law enforcement capacity by 90%.

Read a recent article in the Free Press about this issue.


Maine’s 600,000 acres of public lands should, by law, be managed for multiple public uses: outdoor recreation, wildlife habitat, and sustainable forestry, not for maximum financial extraction

  • The Governor’s budget proposes to move Public Lands under the authority of the Maine Forest Service (MFS)
  • Public Lands and the MFS have very different management directives and objectives: Public Lands are managed for multiple public uses. The MFS’ focus is forest health and timber extraction.
  • Outdoor recreation and wildlife habitat management will take a back seat to industrial-style timber extraction as a result of this reorganization.
  • This is part of the Administration’s effort to increase cutting on Public Lands and divert funds to unrelated programs.

Maine’s Public Lands are iconic and well managed

  • Maine has 600,000 acres of Public Lands including the iconic Bigelow Preserve, the vast Nahmakanta Public Reserved Lands and breathtaking Cutler Coast. These areas are prized for their exceptional recreation opportunities, outstanding wildlife habitat, high quality timber and some of Maine’s only remaining old-growth forests.
  • The Bureau of Parks & Lands currently manages Public Lands and has practiced exemplary forestry. They manage forests for multiple uses, while producing a sustainable supply of timber, enough to support BPL programs (timber harvesting revenue goes into a dedicated fund to manage Public Lands).

Maine’s Forest Rangers play an essential role in enforcing important environmental laws; the proposed budget slashes their enforcement capability

  • The proposed budget eliminates 22 Forest Ranger positions and strips the remaining positions of their law enforcement authority. They would be replaced by only 7 Natural Resource Law Enforcement Officers.
  • Forest Rangers play an indispensable role in protecting Maine’s environment. They enforce the Forest Practices Act and water quality standards.
  • Under the proposed budget, the number of positions that can enforce these important laws will decrease by 90%. Significantly reducing enforcement capacity will result in poorly harvested forests and degraded water quality in our lakes, rivers, and streams.