Bureau of Parks and Lands Announces New Outdoor Recreation Investments Map

August 18, 2022

For more information contact: Jim Britt at: Jim.Britt@maine.gov

AUGUSTA - The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's (DACF) Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL) recently released the new Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Outdoor Recreation Investments Map for Maine, developed in collaboration with the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, Maine Office of Outdoor Recreation, Maine Recreation and Park Association, Maine Department of Transportation, Appalachian Mountain Club, and The Nature Conservancy. The map highlights investments in outdoor recreation such as trails, parks, and other projects. 870 LWCF-assisted outdoor recreation projects included on the map are safeguarded for everyone to enjoy perpetually.

"This work to inventory the full scope of the LWCF State and Local Assistance Program's impact provides a tangible and visible way to understand the importance of this program in our work to conserve and provide access to these important lands for the benefit of the public and our state in perpetuity," said DACF Commissioner Amanda Beal. "I invite everyone to visit the LWCF Map website to get a sense of the vast array of projects that have been made possible with LWCF funding."
"In Maine, the term 'conserved lands' most often conjures up places like Camden Hills State Park or Tumbledown Mountain. But many of our favorite playgrounds, baseball fields, and neighborhood trails are conserved lands too, and they were made possible by the LWCF," said BPL Director Andy Cutko. "This terrific new web resource demonstrates the importance of having outdoor places a ten or fifteen-minute drive from our homes."
"For 57 years, the LWCF has ensured Mainers ready access to the outdoors and helped protect some of the places we love best. It has strengthened our communities and economy," said Appalachian Mountain Club Maine Conservation Policy Director Eliza Townsend. "Now, the public and our elected representatives will be able to appreciate its impact. AMC is proud to partner with the State of Maine to make this information available."

Two Maine Conservation Corps environmental stewards dedicated over 3,000 hours of service to creating the interactive recreation map. The process involved converting 2,700 paper records into a dynamic GIS database.

An additional position included in the recently enacted state budget will support improvements to the map and help ensure that resources developed through the fund remain permanently available to the public.

Since 1964, royalties paid by companies drilling for oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf have been dedicated to LWCF to protect national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges and to provide grants for state and local parks and outdoor recreation projects. Over the past six decades, the LWCF has played a pivotal role in ensuring those resources will be here for future generations. After years of diverting the program's specifically intended funds away from conservation, the LWCF was permanently funded in 2020 with the leadership of Maine's congressional delegation.

The Outdoor Recreation Investments Map is located on the BPL website.