In Maine, we are lucky to have many land trusts working closely with their local communities to support the economy, environment, and way of life. Recent articles in the Portland Press Herald, Times Record, and Bangor Daily News, among others, dispute recent claims by Governor LePage that land trusts are hurting Maine’s economy, and describe some of the many benefits we work to bring to our state.
For example, there are over 1,250 miles of hiking trails, and 915 miles of snowmobile and ATV trails protected and maintained by land trusts. There are also 2.14 million acres of working forest lands, and 36,000 acres of working farmland kept working by land trusts. We also know that land trusts are not having the impact on our municipal budgets that is often feared, as nearly 95% of protected lands remain on the tax rolls, while Maine has the lowest percentage of public lands of any east coast state. Even those lands that are not on the tax rolls are often compensated for in other payments, and always provide significant public benefits to the community through recreation, ecosystem services (like clean water and fresh air), wildlife habitat, sense of place, and more.