The Land for Maine's Future Program is the State of Maine's primary funding vehicle for conserving land for its natural and recreational value. The program was established in 1987 when Maine citizens voted to fund $35 million to purchase lands of statewide importance. In 1997, new priorities were set forth by a commission of Maine citizens. Since that time the program has administered multiple bonds and even instances of general fund appropriations.
Accomplishments: Completed projects in all of Maine's 16 counties. Types of land include; mountain summits; shorelines of rivers, lakes, and ponds; coastal islands; beaches; forests; grasslands; wildlife habitat; farmland; and wetlands. LMF assistance has put the following special places in the public trust forever:
- 52 water access sites
- 37 farms of more than 8,900 acres
- 20 commercial working waterfront properties
- Acquisitions include more then 1,200 miles of shore lands, and 158 miles of former railroad corridors for recreational trails.
- Over 560,000 acres of conservation and recreation lands.
This includes 315,000 acres of working lands reflecting LMF's efforts to conserve the working landscape and keep lands in private ownership with permanent land conservation agreements.
Funding: The Program works to coordinate and finance acquisition of lands. Through the use of matching funds, the program encourages partnerships with local, regional, statewide, and federal conservation organizations.
The LMF Program's priorities have evolved since 1987, however, the prime focus remains the same – conserving the prime physical features of the Maine landscape and recognizing that working lands and public access to these lands is critical to preserving Maine's quality of life.
In 1999, the program was broadened to allow the use of funds for projects having local and regional significance as well as for projects having statewide significance. Maine citizens also authorized support for conservation lands held by local groups partnering with municipalities and private land trusts. In 2005, the Legislature added a working waterfront pilot program. The Legislature increased the requirement for matching funds to a 1:1 ration in 2010.
Keys to success: The Land for Maine's Future has garnered broad based support because it respects landowner rights by acquiring land only from willing sellers, pursues a mission defined by the public, provides a tangible return to everyone who cherishes Maine's landscape (from hunters, to hikers, snowmobilers to birdwatchers), and leverages both federal and private funding for state priority purchases.
Contact Land for Maine's Future