Posts Tagged ‘Maine’

Conservation finance links, 6/1/12

June 1, 2012

LandVote(TM) Logo

Twice each month The Trust for Public Land’s Conservation Finance service publishes links to state and local conservation finance stories from around the nation. As always, TPL’s online LandVote database provides the best source of data on conservation finance measures since 1988.

California
300K acres still at risk in the bay area

Marin County open space tax headed to November ballot

Colorado
Garfield County group trying to get open space tax on Fall ballot

Garfield County to survey residents on open space

Florida
Pasco County voters may see open space sales tax extension in November

Maine
Land bond could be vetoed

Massachusetts
Freetown may try CPA again

Missouri
Kansas City placing parks tax on August ballot

New Jersey
Bill would allow voluntary contributions to Meadowlands conservation

Ohio
Mid term budget heads to Governor with $42M for Clean Ohio Fund

Oregon
Bend looking for input on potential park bond

Pennsylvania
Conservationist upset over PA budget cuts

Support shown for preserving conservation funding in budget

Texas
El Paso City Council approves new version of parks bond

Austin bond package now down to $400M

Virginia
Fairfax County placing parks and flood control bonds on November ballot

Washington
Yakima considers special park district

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Conservation finance links, 5/14/12

May 15, 2012

Twice each month TPL’s Conservation Finance service publishes links to state and local conservation finance stories from around the nation. As always, TPL’s online LandVote database provides the best source of data on conservation finance measures since 1988.

Maine
Legislature to decide on LMF bond this week

Massachusetts
Change in CPA law would free up funds for recreation

Town places CPA on November ballot

Michigan
Township places farmland millage on August ballot

Missouri
Gateway Arch sales tax might go before voters next April

Ohio
Supporters urge more Clean Ohio funding

Rhode Island
Governor urges support of open space bond referendum

Washington
Issaquah voters could see park bond on November ballot

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Conservation finance links, 7/15

July 15, 2011

Twice each month TPL’s Conservation Finance service publishes links to state and local conservation finance stories from around the nation. As always, TPL’s online LandVote database provides the best source of data on conservation finance measures since 1988.

California

Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District faces funding shortage
Truckee park and rec bond tabled
Parks group drops tax effort for now in El Paso County

Maine
LMF funds about to run dry in Maine

Massachusetts
Nice article on conservation in Mass; discusses CPA

New Jersey
Little Falls voters to see open space tax on November ballot

North Carolina
Cumberland County looking at 2012 parks bond

South Carolina
Legislature overrides cuts to Conservation Bank

Texas
Travis County finalizing project list for November bond vote

Washington
No parks vote in Wenatchee this year

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Solution moves forward for Maine’s north woods

December 17, 2010

Millinocket, Maine - Photo: George Weurthner/Lighthawk

The Bangor Daily News is carrying a story this morning about the progress toward conservation solutions in Maine’s north woods around Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin.

Since 2007, TPL has been working with the state, sporting interests, local officials around Millinocket (the region’s largest community), and major landowner and conservationist Roxanne Quimby on agreements that would, among other results, open some Quimby land for such traditional backwoods pursuits and hunting, fishing, and snowmobiling. Now that work is beginning to yield fruit, as deals are finalized.

The story, by Kevin Miller, is very clear on a complicated set of  transactions, and is worth a read for anyone interested in the tensions that emerge as the owners of large private forest dispose of lands that they have owned for years.

After three years of negotiations, Quimby has agreed to sell slightly more than 5,000 acres north of Millinocket Lake to the state for $2.1 million. The land will be maintained as a working forest with public access for recreation.

Additionally, the state has secured conservation easements on roughly 2,850 acres near Whetstone Bridge at a cost of $500,000. That deal also guarantees public access to the land for hunting, snowmobiling and other mechanized recreation.

“As town manager and as someone who has been working on this for three years, I’m very pleased,” said Eugene Conlogue, town manager of Millinocket.

Quimby, the founder of the Burt’s Bees cosmetics empire, is a controversial figure in Northern Maine, in large part because she has used her not-insignificant resources to acquire tens of thousands of acres of former private forestlands. And while the deals announced yesterday are giving many residents the access to the land that they say they want, suspicions of Quimby among some locals will not be tamped down easily, as comments to Miller’s story make clear.

For a less heated opinion and a view inside the negotiations that led to the agreements, I would recommend a piece by sporting columnist George Smith on DownEast.com, also published this week.

I sat in on the Department of Conservation meeting, as one of several participants in a remarkable dialogue that Quimby initiated with some of her fiercest opponents in September of 2006. Over the past four years, Quimby has hosted meetings that included Bob Meyers of the Maine Snowmobile Association, Millinocket’s Town Manager Gene Conlogue, and me, representing the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. At times other participants included Representative Paul Davis and Millinocket town council members and snowmobile club officers, as well as members of Quimby’s staff. Jim Page of Sewall Company facilitated most of the meetings.

Thanks, also to Smith, for the tip-of-the-hat he gave to TPL’s work in the process.

The Trust for Public Land has played a key role in the project, from preparation of legal documents to raising of the money. The Trust’s Regional Director Wolf Tone was a key participant in the December 13 meeting that ironed out the details that will allow this sale to proceed on the two parcels.

For background on land issues and conservation efforts around Millinocket, you might want to look at our 2008 Land&People story called “The Maine Way.”

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Conservation finance links, October 14

October 14, 2010

Twice each month TPL’s Conservation Finance service publishes links to state and local conservation finance stories from around the nation. These links increase in interest as we approach election day. 

According to TPL’s LandVote database, since 1988 states and communities nationwide have approved 2263 conservation finance measures that have generated nearly $54.2 billion in funding for local parks, greenways, and natural areas.

This year, there are statewide measures on the ballot in California, Iowa, Maine, Rhode Island, and Oregon. Arizonans face a measure that would end their statewide conservation funding program and add the existing monies to the general fund. And communities in more than a dozen states will vote on conservation funding measures. If you live in one of those states or communities, please check the box to give your conservation programs more muscle.

Now, here are today’s conservation finance links.

Arizona
More on Prop 301 which would sweep open space funds in the general fund

Colorado
Endorsement of Boulder County open space tax
More on Boulder open space tax
and More

Florida
Ormond Beach closer to securing property with Aug. bond funds

Georgia
Georgia conservation program hits milestone

Iowa
State prepares to vote on conservation trust fund
More on this story

Maine
Land for Maine’s Future’s program seeks funding infusion on Nov. 2

Missouri
Columbia parks sales tax would strengthen economy

New York
More on TPL’s report on the economic benefits of Long Island conservation

Pennsylvania
More on natural gas tax debate

Rhode Island
Voters to see statewide open space bond on Nov. 2 

Utah
West Valley voters prepare for $25M open space bond
West Valley bond would fund 17 new parks
Bond endorsement

Virginia
Economist says now is the time to revamp states open space protection tools

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Post-holiday postings – around the web on Tuesday

July 6, 2010

Stowe Mountain on Grafton Loop Trail - Photo: Sam Hodder

Hiking the Grafton Loop Trail
Hope you got outdoors over the 4th of July weekend. Back from four days of photography, river-walking, and rock-scrambling in the Northern Sierra, I was pleased to run across Deirdre Fleming’s piece in The Portland Press Herald about her hike on the 38-mile Grafton Loop Trail in the White Mountains of Maine. Much of the piece is about efforts to permanently protect land for the trail, which Fleming calls “a work in progress for at least a decade.” I did my first high-mountain hiking in “The Whites,” and the two photos accompanying the story made me a little homesick. TPL recently helped to protect more than 3,000 acres for the trail on Stowe Mountain, where log ladders and plank walkways are being installed to aid ascent and protect the fragile alpine environment. 

Kiket Island, Washington
It has taken several years for the State of Washington and the Swinomish tribe to work out a co-ownership and co-management agreement for this approximately 80-acre island, which lies within the boundaries of the tribe’s reservation but until recently was privately owned. (In the 1970s the island was briefly considered as a site for a nuclear power plant.) The Anacortes Now website has an informative piece on the recent TPL-assisted acquisition of the island as an addition to Deception Pass State Park. And Indian Country Today is carrying a piece that describes why the island is important to the tribe. More description and images of the island can be found in this TPL pdf

New NOAA Website: State of the Coast
If your area of conservation focus is along the nation’s more than 12,300 miles of tidal coastline, you’ll appreciate this new website’s statistics and maps covering communities, economy, ecosystems, and climate of coastlines. (The site is based on statistics developed before the emergence of the Gulf’s undersea oil gusher, so that catastrophe is not reflected in the numbers.) Research was certainly a lot more work before the web. 

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Around the Web on Wednesday

June 16, 2010

New World Mining District - Photo: Alex Diekmann

Yellowstone Protection – A number of newspapers picked up the story out on Montana about TPL’s purchase of the final industrial mining claims within the New World mining district. My favorite discussion of the issues and history surrounding the 1990’s controversy over mining on Yellowstone’s borders, is a post by Kurt Repanshek on the National Parks Traveler blog. 

Among the post’s other attractions, it includes a map showing the location of the mining district along the famous Beartooth Highway, one of the nation’s great alpine roadways. 

The piece also quotes Alex Diekmann, who in addition to being a TPL project manager, is a crackerjack photographer — witness the image above.  

Conservation Funding in New York -  The Gotham Gazette is carrying a long article summarizing the recent conservation funding controversy in New York state. 

Singling out the state parks and environment for symbolic belt-tightening, Gov. David Paterson last month pressured the state legislature into accepting steep and disproportionate cuts to conservation funding in exchange for reopening 55 shuttered parks and historic sites in time for the Memorial Day weekend. 

 With the budget two months late and negotiations stalled, the governor chose an area representing less than one quarter of a percent of the total budget to launch his strategy of forcing cuts through temporary budget extender bills needed to keep the state operating. 

 In a move that has troubling implications for the future of the city and state’s environment, legislators were cornered into choosing between two programs that have broad public support — the state parks and the Environmental Protection Fund, the state’s main source of capital expenditures for open space and farmland preservation, parks and recreation, historic preservation, waterfront revitalization and recycling. 

The piece is written by Anne Schwartz, who has been parks correspondent for the Gazette since 1999. Anne also is a frequent contributor to TPL’s Land&People magazine. Her piece on New York City community gardens appears in the current issue.

Public Access in Maine – On DownEast.com, outdoor writer George Smith points out that ownership changes are threatening public access to Maine’s private lands,  He then extols the efforts of government and conservation groups in working to forestall that trend.

 Maine has done an outstanding job of buying the rights and opportunities enjoyed by the public on private lands.

Through an astonishingly successful collaborative effort by state and federal agencies, the nonprofit conservation community, and advocacy groups representing environmentalists, sportsmen, and other outdoor recreationists, Maine’s outdoor heritage is being secured for future generations.

Although we’ve purchased a fee (ownership) interest in some lands, most of our purchases have been in the form of easements. Some purchased development rights, to keep the land undeveloped. Most purchased both development and access rights. 

Smith goes on the highlight the federal Forest Legacy funding program as particularly important in that effort, along with two current TPL projects that have applied for that funding. Worth a look if you are one of the millions of New Englanders for whom Maine is a favorite recreation destination.  

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He left the Shakers for love

March 1, 2010

Photo: Fred J. Field

What does this little love story from the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine have to do with land conservation?  Certainly the connection is tangential, but it is too good a story not to share. 

A few years ago, TPL was involved in a complicated effort to protect Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in Maine.  Since we needed to raise money for the project, and it seemed like a good story, we pitched a Maine-based freelance writer named Stacey Chase to go to Sabbathday and interview the four remaining Shakers in the world.   (Members of the sect, as you may know, do not marry and are sexually abstinent.) 

Chase did interview the Shakers, ended up marrying one of them, and as a result, there are now three remaining Shakers in the world.

My article on the world’s last four Shakers was at first only unusual because it was a rare glimpse into daily life at the Protestant monastic sect’s idyllic hilltop village in rural southern Maine. Never could I have imagined that that story, of all stories, would become the story behind the story of how I met, and eventually married, the long-sought love of my life.

TPL and its many partners successfully completed the project in 2006.  You also may want to read Stacy Chase’s original story on the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village.

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Opinion: The future of forests depends on forestry

January 12, 2010

Dartmouth College Forest, NH - Photo: Jerry and Marcy Monkman

For a while I have been meaning to reference this essay in Northern Woodlands magazine, a publication of the Center for Northern Woodlands Education. The piece is both informative and eloquent. In the magazine, it is titled “The Long View” — not because it looks ahead (which it does) but because it was written by Stephen Long, one of the magazine’s founders.

Every few years, I’m treated to a recurring dream, an archetypal dream that I’ve heard others describe as well. In it, I have just moved into a new house, and as I settle into my new place, I walk into a room and see a door I don’t remember. When I go through the door, I see a whole new room. Oh my god, I say to myself, I didn’t even know I had that, what incredibly good fortune. It gets even better – I keep going and I discover all sorts of new rooms. Sometimes there’s a hayloft in a barn, sometimes a roomy attic. It’s a wondrous dream, and I wake up full of a sense of possibility.

In the first few centuries that Europeans explored and settled North America, a dream like this pervaded the collective – and then national – consciousness. The pioneers kept going west, and they kept finding more: more forests full of timber and fuel, more rivers teeming with fish, more food, more goods in a land of plenty. Possibilities were limitless. This continent was a gold mine, a cornucopia, a land of infinite opportunity.

The piece goes on to extol the many benefits of forests and then describe the economic problems faced by private forest owners and how these lead inexorably to forest fragmentation.

It’s a time-honored rural tradition to sell off a building lot when the going gets tough, because land is often a person’s only savings account. The trend toward smaller parcel size has seemed inexorable as families or individuals sell or bequeath parts of their holdings when life circumstances change: four siblings inherit the family farm and divide the land, or a daughter is given a 10-acre lot so she and her new husband can build a house.

This ordinary rate of parcelization, however, will progress geometrically if we all lose the opportunity to sell timber. Parcelization is a cause, and fragmentation is the effect. As parcels are developed, driveways and dwellings fragment the natural system. All of the ecosystem services that accrue in an intact forest are compromised in a fragmented landscape that becomes not rural but suburban. The process would also quicken the erosion of the culture and backwoods ethos that is cherished by those born here and has been a drawing card for many who’ve moved here.

While the magazine covers the Northeast, the problems Long mentions are certainly not limited to that region.

Long himself does not discuss working forest easements as a possible solution to the economic problems of forest owners–although content in earlier issues of the magazine does give voice to this approach.

Working forest easements prevent development, reimburse land owners for lost development value,  and allow sustainable forestry to continue.  TPL most recently used a working forest easement to protect 3,363 acres at Stowe Mountain in Maine.

Read Long’s essay here – and if you have any interest in forests, spend some time looking through past issues of Northern Woodlands.  Lots of content online.

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Maine conservation in 2009 — and a pitch for federal funding

January 4, 2010

Indian Cellar - Hollis Maine - Conserved 2009 Photo: Jerry and Marcy Monkman

As the Maine Sunday Telegram highlights Maine’s 2009 conservation accomplishments, a working group is completing a pitch for federal funding of conservation in that state’s North Woods.

From the Maine Sunday Telegram:

What began with low expectations and uncertainty about the economy ended as a big year for land conservation in Maine, with tens of thousands of acres of farmland, forest and lakefronts permanently preserved statewide in 2009, according to conservation advocates.

The deals range from landscape-scale purchases in the North Woods to strategic protection efforts in the more populated southern part of the state.

(That story was written before TPL announced the conservation of 10,000 acres at Stowe Mountain and Robinson Peak this morning.)

One impetus to these conservation accomplishments may have been the “green lining” in the current real estate downturn, which we have blogged on before, most recently here.

In York, for example, a coalition of land trusts raised more than $3 million and preserved the 151-acre Highland Farm, a tract of fields and forest habitat near the York River estuary and a pond that supplies drinking water to three communities.

The farm had long ago been identified as one of the last large undeveloped coastal tracts in the region. But when it was put on the auction block in 2003, a developer beat out conservationists and bought it, said Wolfe Tone, state director for the Trust for Public Land in Maine.

The developer submitted plans for 38 building lots on the property and already had permits to begin the first phase before agreeing to sell to conservationists.

“We got another run at it, and we turned it right around,” Tone said. “He was going to go ahead (and build) if we didn’t get it.”

In Maine’s North Woods, conservation successes have developed from coalition-building between conservationists,  forestry interests, and local residents; and a  story this morning in the Bangor Daily News highlights such coalition-building as key to possible federal funding for North Woods conservation. 

After months of discussion and several promising meetings with Obama administration officials, a working group is completing a pitch for federal funding for “landscape-scale” conservation in Maine’s North Woods that would also strengthen the state’s forest products industry.

Last summer during a visit to Maine, U.S. Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar expressed interest in hearing suggestions about how the federal government could help Maine preserve large swaths of forestland.

But Salazar made clear that any proposal would need a broad base of support that includes landowners and industry.

The story suggests that federal conservation in the North Woods will probably not take the form of a big national park, such as has been proposed by advocates over the last few years. 

“At its heart, this is a proposal to maintain a sustainably managed forest landscape, which continues to produce wood products and protects ecological values, while maintaining and improving recreational opportunities,” reads a draft outline of the report.

What the Great Maine Forest Initiative is not proposing, coalition members and state officials insist, is a national park, a national forest or any other significant expansion of public lands in Maine.

Suggestions for another national park in Maine are “a no-starter with me,” Gov. John Baldacci said this week. “I am proud of Maine’s leadership and what we have been able to do on our own … We would be using federal dollars, and the attraction of the federal government is the opportunity to have conservation on a landscape scale.”

The proposal calls for working with landowners to protect land largely through conservation easements. Some “special places,” such as old-growth forests or areas with particular value from a recreational or ecological standpoint, could be purchased from willing property owners with the help of federal dollars.

The goal is “to protect anywhere from 500,000 to 2 million acres of working forests in the largest unfragmented forest east of the Mississippi River”  and may serve as a model for funding other working-forest conservation.

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