The Maine Legislature's Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee is accepting comments on two bills that bills would send a new bond for funding for the Land for Maine's Future Program to the voters next November. The two bonds differ in their details--the amount of money and the number of years funded--but either would rejuvenate the LMF program.
What’s most important is for you to testify in support of new funding for the LMF program, to protect public lands for hunting, fishing, hiking, boating and other traditional uses and to counter the efforts of groups opposed to hunting, fishing, and trapping.
Both LMF bills include the language, "Hunting, fishing, trapping and public access may not be prohibited on land acquired with bond proceeds, except to the extent of applicable state, local or federal laws, rules and regulations and except for working waterfront projects and working farmland preservation projects." This language has always been part of LMF legislation, but members of animal rights groups have been submitting testimony calling for hunting, fishing and trapping to be removed from these measures. To counter these efforts, we need your testimony in support of hunting, fishing and trapping on LMF projects.
Background on LMF
Since its founding in 1987, LMF has protected more than 600,000 acres of Maine land for conservation and recreation, including 62 water access sites and more than 1200 miles of river, lake and pond shore. It's the most important tool Maine has to protect fish and wildlife habitat and ensure public access so we can hunt, fish and enjoy the outdoors. With the very limited exceptions noted above, all LMF conservation and recreation projects must be open to fishing, hunting, trapping and public access.
Links to LMF Bond Bills
Bonds must be approved by 2/3 of both the House and Senate before being sent to the voters. Public comments are currently being accepted up until yet to be scheduled work session. BHA supports LD 983 because it provides more money over a longer period of time.
How to Testify
To submit written testimony Use this link.
- Select "Public Hearing"
- Choose "Appropriations and Financial Affairs"
- Choose "April 26"
- Select "LD 983" (or LD 687 if you prefer).
- You can attach a document or type (copy and paste from a word document) your testimony into the text box.
- Enter your contact information.
- Click on security feature then click submit/register
Key Points for Testimony
- Land for Maine's Future is one of the state's most popular programs, protecting land for habitat, sportsmen, public parks, working waterfronts, and farmland.
- LMF projects provide critical access for hunting, fishing, as well as other traditional uses. Regional examples include the 21,000 acre West Grand Lake Forest in Washington County, protection of critical wild brook trout habitat in the 8,100-acre Cold Stream Forest in Somerset County, key additions to the Kennebec Highlands in central Maine, and the Sawyer Mountain Headlands project in York County. In addition, over 300,000 acres of working forest have been protected by easements that require public access.
- The current bond bills include measures to prioritize deer wintering area protection and requirements for their management in accordance with protocol provided by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
- Talk about existing LMF projects that you and your family use and enjoy. (Use the interactive map above to find them.)
- Ask for long-term and stable funding. LD 983 would provide LMF with $60 million over 5 years. LD 687 would provide $30 million over 3 years.
Please contact Maine BHA Leader John Simoneau at [email protected] if you have any questions.
Testimony should be submitted soon, we do not yet know when the committee will hold a work session.