Group earmarks $12M for land conservation


AUGUSTA (AP) – The Land for Maine’s Future board has voted to partially fund more than 30 land conservation projects across the state, ranging from mountains to riverfronts, at a cost of more than $12 million.

The board, meeting Tuesday, decided to spend land-preservation money from voter-approved bonds on 32 sites. The sites include nearly 26,000 acres in Hancock County, which will become part of a corridor of conservation parcels stretching from Amherst to the Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in the Milford area.

Other acquisitions include 4,821 acres along the Moose River near Moosehead Lake, which includes an ecologically sensitive bog, and 37,000 acres of Katahdin Iron Works in T-7, R-9.

In addition, the board approved the acquisition of more than 1,000 acres in Caribou Bog along the eastern shore of Pushaw Lake from Hudson to Bangor.

The LMF board provided partial funding for Great Pond Mountain Wildlands, 4,200 acres of conservation land near Orland.

The board bases its decisions on a formula that takes into account a number of factors, including ease of public access to the land, its “naturalness” and the development pressures it might face. The board, which was formed in 1987, has conserved more than 200,000 acres, not including those receiving funding promises Tuesday.

A $12 million bond package for LMF projects was approved by voters in 2005, but nearly all of that money is spent.

Even though most projects did not receive full funding, recipients were pleased that they were included with the limited money available.

“We are very thrilled,” said Sally Jacobs of Caribou Bog, adding that groups leading preservation efforts will have to do some “creative financing” to continue their work.