AUGUSTA – On June 2, Governor Janet Mills announced funding for nine new Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) conservation projects across Maine, advancing the State of Maine’s commitment to preserve precious natural resources, protect wildlife habitats, and ensure public access to lakes, rivers, scenic views, and mountain vistas.
“These nine projects will preserve thousands of acres of land for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations,” said Governor Janet Mills. “I am proud that, through actions taken by the Legislature and my Administration, we are continuing to protect more and more of our cherished natural resources.”
“These projects represent another example of Maine’s strong and enduring commitment to protecting our valuable natural resources, wildlife habitat, and wilderness areas,” said Patrick Keliher, Land for Maine’s Future Chairman and Commissioner of the Department of Marine Resources.
“Broad support for the Land’s For Maine’s Future program has enabled important ongoing work to protect land for the benefit of all who recreate in Maine, ensuring lasting benefits for our state and local communities both now and for future generations,” said Amanda Beal, Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
“Reinvigorated with $40 million through the leadership of Governor Mills, the Land For Maine’s Future program continues to preserve, protect and enhance many of Maine’s most valuable and pristine natural areas, ensuring Mainers and visitors alike will always be able to enjoy the way life should be,” said Judy Camuso, Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Since the Governor proposed and the Legislature overwhelmingly approved $40 million to reinvigorate LMF, the LMF Board has approved 46 new projects, totaling $5.19 million. These projects are expected to leverage an additional $6.7 million in private and Federal funds.
The newly approved projects announced today include:
Lexington Deer Wintering Area (Lexington Township, Somerset County): A 1,452-acre parcel in Lexington Township, to be acquired by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. It encompasses high-value deer wintering habitat, freshwater wetlands, significant inland-wading bird and waterfowl habitat, and miles of freshwater streams.
Branch Lake Expansion (Ellsworth, Hancock County): A 279-acre fee acquisition by the City of Ellsworth, expanding and connecting existing City Forest greenspace while safeguarding the public drinking water supply.
Haystack Mountain (Montville, Waldo County): Presented by the Friends of Haystack Mountain and to be acquired by Midcoast Conservancy. This property features blueberry fields, walking trails, snowmobile trails, and breathtaking panoramic views from the 840′ summit.
Eastern Trail and Cottontails (Wells, York County): The Town of Wells will acquire this 155-acre property, allowing the development of access to a new section of the Eastern Trail and preserving the ideal New England Cottontail habitat.
Maquoit Bay – Sherwood (Brunswick, Cumberland County): This 32-acre property, to be acquired by the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust, encompasses upland and intertidal areas within the Maquoit Bay and Middle Bay Focus Area of Statewide Ecological Significance, including shoreline and a Wetland of Special Significance.
Rumford Community Forest (Rumford, Oxford County): A 446-acre project presented by the Trust for Public Land and acquired by Inland Woods and Trails. It is between downtown Rumford and Black Mountain, with easily accessible trails forming a local and regional trail network.
Salmon Falls Tidal Wetland (South Berwick, York County): A 79-acre project presented by the Town of South Berwick jointly with the Great Works Regional Land Trust, protecting the Salmon Falls River shore frontage and saltmarsh of special significance, including upland and intertidal areas within a cottontail focal area.
Kezar River South (Lovell, Oxford County): The Greater Lovell Land Trust will acquire this 1,377-acre property, expanding on previously protected lands with LMF funding in 2022. It boasts 4.5 miles of river frontage, wetlands, and upland forest.
High Peaks Orbeton Keystones (Madrid, Mt. Abram, Salem Townships, Franklin County): A 2,666-acre property to be acquired by the Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL), improving access to existing BPL lands adjacent to the Appalachian Trail. It includes snowmobile and hiking trails and scenic sections of Orbeton and Perham Streams.
The Land for Maine’s Future Program, established in 1987 through a $35 million bond approved by Maine citizens, is the State’s primary method of conserving land for its natural and recreational value. Recognizing the importance of working lands and public access to these lands in preserving Maine’s quality of life, the program has conserved over 624,000 acres of land, including 333,425 acres of working land.
This remarkable work includes the establishment of 70 water access sites, providing over 67 miles of shoreline on rivers, lakes, and ponds, the preservation of 41 farms and 9,884 acres of farmland, the conservation of 30 working waterfront properties, the conversion of 158 miles of former railroad corridors into recreational trails, and the creation of over 69 miles of coastal access.
For more information about the LMF program and the conservation projects, please visit www.maine.gov/dacf/lmf.