The state’s Land for Maine’s Future has pledged $500,000 to support the conservation of Ragged Mountain in Rockport, Camden and Hope.
The 790-acre Mirror Lake Conservation Easement project, one of the three components of the Round the Mountain Collaboration, received the highest overall point score in the program's 2017 funding round.
Of the 24 proposals submitted from across the state, the Mirror Lake Conservation Easement received the board's top ranking because the project met so many of the program's objectives including protection of water quality, protection of a significant mountain, scenic conservation, making natural areas accessible to the public, and conservation of rare species and natural community types, according to a news release from the land trust.
With this pledge, the Round the Mountain Collaboration has raised $3 million of the $4.2 million needed to fulfill its goals.
Organizers remain focused on raising the remaining $1.2 million needed to complete the project including the construction of the proposed nine-mile Round the Mountain Trail and the purchase of two conservation easements that will protect more than 1,400 acres of land.
To raise these funds, the collaboration is focusing on fulfilling the single largest and most important part of the campaign – community support. To incentivize the community, two donors recently issued a challenge that will match up to $100,000 from the public. Since the challenge was issued in September 2017, the trust has received more than $60,000 from individual and family donors towards that challenge.
The Land Trust's application to the Land for Maine's Future program was sponsored by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IF&W) because of the numerous habitat and wildlife benefits of the project.
In his letter of support for the project, IF&W's Director James M. Connolly wrote that the department, "feels this project is a truly unique opportunity to protect rich natural resources and recreational assets."
The Land for Maine's Future Program is the State of Maine's primary funding vehicle for conserving land for its natural and recreational value. Over the past 30 years, it has helped conserve over 600,000 acres of land in Maine that are available for the public to enjoy. Since 1987, Maine voters have overwhelmingly approved five separate bonds that have provided funds to support the conservation of lands with significant recreation and conservation values. Previous LMF funding rounds have been instrumental to the success of local conservation projects including Coastal Mountains Land Trust's acquisition of several large sections of the Bald and Ragged Mountain Preserves and the Beech Hill Preserve as well as numerous significant additions to Camden Hills State Park.
The Round the Mountain Collaboration is a partnership between Coastal Mountains Land Trust, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, the Maine Water Company, the towns of Camden and Rockport, and numerous local grassroots recreation groups.
It is an effort to protect more than 1,400 acres on Ragged Mountain in an undeveloped state including habitats of statewide importance, to secure and establish more than 20 miles of trail as part of the Round the Mountain Trail system, and to permanently protect the Mirror Lake and Grassy Pond watersheds and the drinking water they supply for more than 25,000 customers living in the six midcoast communities of Camden, Rockport, Rockland, Thomaston, Warren, and Owls Head.
Coastal Mountains Land Trust has worked since 1986 to permanently conserve land to benefit the natural and human communities of western Penobscot Bay. The Land Trust has protected over 10,000 acres to date, offering 45 miles of trails for public access. For more information, contact Ian Stewart, Executive Director, at 207-236-7091, or visit www.coastalmountains.org.
Maine Coast Heritage Trust is a statewide land conservation organization dedicated to protecting land that is essential to the character of Maine, its coastline and islands in particular. Since 1970, more than 144,000 acres and 300 entire coastal islands have been permanently protected.
For more information, contact Ciona Ulbrich, Senior Project Manager, at 207-244-5100, or visit mcht.org.
The LMF Board met on 11/7/2017 and 11/9/2017 to review, score, and make preliminary allocations for the recent call for proposals. The following applicants will be notified of their allocation and special conditions (if any).
The Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) Program was established in 1987 when Maine voters first approved a $35 million bond to purchase lands of state significance for the continued availability of public access to diverse outdoor recreation opportunities and the protection of the scenic and natural environment for preserving the State's high quality of life. The goal of the program is defined in the enabling statute:
“The Legislature declares that the future social and economic well-being of the citizens of this state depends upon maintaining the quality and availability of natural areas for recreation, hunting and fishing, conservation, wildlife habitat, vital ecologic functions and scenic beauty and that the state, as the public’s trustee, has a responsibility and a duty to pursue an aggressive and coordinated policy to assure that this Maine heritage is passed on to future generations.” (5 M.R.S.A. sec. 6200)
CONSERVATION & RECREATION preliminary allocations: $2,815,000 Bethel Community Forest* Bethel Caterpillar Hill Sedgwick Easter Hill Beaches Owls Head Hope Woods Kennebunk Kennebec Highlands Strategic Additions* Vienna, New Sharon Madison Branch Multi-Use Trail Oakland, Fairfield, Norridgewock, Madison, Anson, Embden Mirror Lake Conservation Easement Camden, Hope, Rockport Robinson Pond South Cape Elizabeth Schooner Cove Pembroke Woodward Point Brunswick Yarmouth Riverfront Woods Preserve Yarmouth FARMLAND preliminary allocations: $163,000 Brigeen Farms Turner Old Talbot Farm Arundel WATER ACCESS preliminary allocations: $214,000 Pettegrow Point Machiasport Lubec Boat Landing Lubec *Special conditions apply