Maine to Conserve Working Farms and Outdoor Recreation Lands
For Immediate Release: July 13, 2011
Don Marean, Land for Maine’s Future Board Chair, 727-5527 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Jody Harris, State Planning Office Program Director, 624-6202 or email@example.com
Augusta, ME — Voter-approved funds will be used to keep farmland productive and to retain public access to some of Maine’s most prized outdoor recreation areas.
The Land for Maine’s Future Board selected 22 projects that will conserve 76,000 acres of undeveloped land along Maine’s pristine rivers and lakes, in her vast forests and mountain lands, aside her rugged coast, and within her scenic farm country. Among the projects to be funded include:
Hacker’s Hill is located on Quaker Ridge in Casco 753 feet above sea level with stunning, panoramic views of the White Mountains, Sebago Lake, and rolling countryside. With a paved roadway, visitors can climb the hill by car or foot to enjoy the open, grassy hilltop with public facilities nestled among the shaded pergola and old pines. Owned by six generations of the Hall family, the late Mr. Hacker Hall, fourth generation landowner, cleared the hill and welcomed visitors. Now for sale, the community, conservation groups, and the owners themselves hope the land can be preserved for generations of visitors to come. The Land for Maine’s Future program will help acquire the hilltop’s 27 acres to be owned by the Loon Echo Land Trust.
Dick Randall is adamant that his 7,500-tree apple orchard in Standish be conserved as agricultural land. Randall Orchard consists of nearly 500 acres, of which LMF will help purchase development rights on 297 acres of orchard property and Mr. Randall will donate a conservation easement on the remaining 205 acres of forestland. Randall Orchard is one of the largest remaining undeveloped tracks in an area where farmland is rapidly being replaced by house lots. In operation, since 1906 its popular farm stand and pick-your-own operation are well-loved community landmarks. And its lush spring blossoms offer delightful views to motorists on Route 25.
Maine has only 14 mountains over 4,000 feet and the Crocker Mountain Conservation project in Carrabassett Valley contains three of them (North Crocker, South Crocker, and Sugarloaf). The 11,800-acre project is part of the largest, high-elevation forest (above 2,700 feet) in Maine and contains Crocker Cirque, one of the finest examples of a glacially-formed bowl in the state. It includes spectacular mountain terrain for snowmobiles and ATVs and a 9.7 mile segment of the Appalachian Trail. About half the property is proposed for an ecological reserve, protecting habitat for the elusive Bicknell Thrush and the state-listed, endangered Roaring Brook mayfly. The balance of the property will remain as working forest under the Department of Conservation’s management.
The West Grand Lake project in Grand Lake Stream Plantation consists of over 21,000 acres of working forest that will conserve an entire landscape hailed as one of Maine’s storied outdoor recreation destinations. It was selected as the #1 national priority for the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program in 2011 because of its economic, recreational, and ecological importance. The Maine Department of Conservation will hold a working forest easement that will provide easy access to some of the best fly fishing in the world. The Land for Maine’s Future grant will help conserve more than 17 miles of lake frontage, over 3,000 acres of wetlands, and 40 miles of streams. The project will support local guides and sporting camps, while providing timber harvesting employment.
“These lands and the others the board selected are some of Maine’s most special places,” said Don Marean of Hollis, Chair of the Land for Maine’s Future Board. “I have visited some of these places since I was a boy and am delighted that my grandchildren will be able to enjoy them as well. The Land for Maine’s Future Program not only preserves Maine’s outdoor recreation heritage, but keeps working lands that support a big part of the state’s economy,” he said.
The Land for Maine’s Future Board allocated $1.4 million for six farmland projects and $5.6 million for 16 conservation/recreation projects. Among others, the board funded an addition to one of Maine’s oldest prehistoric archaeological sites in Dresden, a heritage trail corridor along the Androscoggin River, an addition to the state’s most-visited park, Camden Hills State Park, the last remaining dairy farm in Fayette, and Atlantic Salmon spawning habitat in Burnham that also provides canoe and kayaking access to Twenty-five Mile Stream. View a list of all projects the LMF Board approved for funding on July 12, 2011
The Board’s action commits all of the available state funds for farmland and conservation/recreation. But $1.2 million remains for future water access projects.
The Land for Maine's Future program seeks to conserve recreational and ecological lands along with working lands for farms, forests, tourism, and working waterfronts that are the foundation for Maine’s natural resource-based economy. The program is funded with bonds approved by the Maine Legislature and the state’s voters. Since its inception in 1987, the Land for Maine’s Future has helped acquire more than 532,000 acres with more than 1,000 miles of shorefront and 158 miles of rail-trails, as well as valuable islands, rivers, mountain tops, and wildlife habitat, plus a quarter of a million acres of working, commercial forestland and 8,000 acres of farmland sustaining the state’s rural economy.