AUGUSTA – A task force seeking to shape the next generation of land conservation in Maine released its draft recommendations today and is asking the public for feedback. The Task Force is calling for a new Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) bond issue along with other actions designed to strengthen land conservation and enhance public access to the outdoors across the state.

The Land Conservation Task Force, a diverse group of twenty individuals and organizations, is co-chaired by David Trahan, Executive Director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, and Tim Glidden, President of Maine Coast Heritage Trust. The group began meeting last May and plans to issue its final report to Governor Mills and Legislature in February.

“Since creating the Land for Maine’s Future Program thirty years ago, Maine people have enjoyed a tremendous return investing in the permanent protection of the state’s natural treasures, farmlands, working waterfronts, productive forests and access points to public waters,” stated Glidden. “The Task Force is proposing that a significant new LMF bond be sent to Maine voters this fall. This and other recommendations lay out a blueprint to build upon LMF’s track record of success to ensure that land conservation continues to make Maine a great place to live, work and raise a family,” he said.

Trahan stated that the Task Force has not simply focused on acquiring additional conservation lands. “A big focus of our work has been on properly taking care of the conserved lands owned by the State and land trusts and also taking steps to preserve Maine’s important tradition of public recreational access to private lands,” he said. Trahan highlighted a Task Force recommendation to expand the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries Landowner Relations program, which assists private landowners with issues related to public recreational use on their lands.

Other Task Force recommendations include:

Public investment to help replace aging infrastructure at Maine’s State Parks;

An expanded focus on acquiring conservation lands near where people live and work;

Identifying private funding sources to assist land trusts and municipalities in the long-term stewardship of their conservation lands; and

Working to ensure that land conservation efforts take into account the state’s changing climate.

With the draft recommendations in hand, the Task Force is seeking public comments until January 23, 2019. To view the recommendations and other information about the Task Force visit: maineconservationtaskforce.com.

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