Has Maine conserved enough land?

            A new task force of 20 diverse groups and individuals is now working on a new conservation plan for Maine. And it’s time for you to let them know your thoughts about this.

            Today I’m going to share with you questions they have posed, hoping you will join me in submitting your responses to the task force, which you can do at their website www.maineconservationtaskforce.com/  Here are the questions.

1.    Maine, through a strong combination of public and private initiatives, has achieved great success in conserving lands across the state over the past generation. Would you like to see these efforts continue? Or have we already conserved enough land?

 2.    What are your priorities and vision for future land conservation efforts? Consider: particular geographies or regions, lands that meet certain needs (eg. recreation, agriculture, wildlife habitat, etc.); lands that can be more inclusive and accessible, particularly to youth, the disabled, new Mainers, people of color, seniors, and others; lands that address local community needs; lands close to where you live and work in the more remote reaches of Maine.

 3.    What are your experiences utilizing public and private conservation lands? Do they meet your needs? Are they being well-managed? What barriers are preventing you or others in your community from accessing them?

 4.    Few other states demonstrate the breadth of private land stewardship that is found in Maine including free public recreational access. Should incentives be considered to encourage and reward landowners for engaging in sustainable land management and providing public access?

 5.    Is land conservation creating any challenges (eg. Lost property tax revenue) that need to be addressed either at the state or local level?

6.    Are you supportive of providing additional public funding for land conservation in the future? If so, should it be in the form of a new Land for Maine’s Future bond issue or do you have other ideas (other states use a variety of taxes and fees)?

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.