Established by Maine voters in 1987, the Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) Program has conserved more than 600,000 acres of land, including: working farms, forests, and waterfronts; trails for snowmobilers, hikers, bikers, and ATV enthusiasts; access to rivers, ponds, lakes, and the ocean; community parks; town forests; beaches; and mountaintop vistas. On six occasions, Maine people have given the LMF program resounding support at the ballot box – passing six bond measures in 1987, 1999, 2005, 2007, 2010, and 2012. These 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.
The LMF program succeeds in large part because it is designed to be inclusive, drawing on the creativity and problem-solving skills of Maine citizens all over the State who are working for a better future in their communities. LMF projects represent partnerships with local sporting groups, towns, businesses, land trusts, state agencies and many others. The LMF board, comprised of state office holders and private citizens appointed by the governor, reviews proposals from Maine citizens, municipalities, agencies and land trusts and decides which provide the greatest public benefits.
The LMF program’s enacting 1987 legislation declared that the, “future social and economic well-being of the citizens of this State depends upon maintaining the quality and availability of natural areas for recreation, hunting and fishing, conservation, wildlife habitat, vital ecological functions and scenic beauty and that the State, as the public’s trustee, has a responsibility and a duty to pursue an aggressive and coordinated policy to assure that this Maine heritage is passed on to future generations.” Here are some highlights from the program’s first three decades:
- 54 water access sites
- 40 farms of more than 9,700 acres
- 24 commercial working waterfront properties
- Acquisitions include more than 1,200 miles of shore lands, and 158 miles of former railroad corridors for recreational trails.
- Over 580,000 acres of conservation and recreation lands that guarantee access for traditional outdoor recreational opportunities, including hiking, hunting, birdwatching, fishing, and trapping.
- More than 332,000 acres of working forestlands that remain in private ownership with permanent land conservation agreements.