State of Large Landscape Conservation in Maine 2012
This chapter, the first in The State of Maine’s Environment 2012, provides a detailed account of the roles of federal, state, and private conservation lands in large landscape conservation in Maine. We examine the growth in conservation land over the past 25 years, distinguishing between fee-owned lands and lands under conservation easement. We analyze a variety of case studies to determine the status of large landscape conservation initiatives. The importance of Maine in the larger contexts of the New England and the Northern Appalachian/Acadian ecoregion is highlighted. We determine that private conservation land and growth in conservation easements have contributed substantially to conservation land throughout the state. We conclude that Maine has relatively little federally conserved land and encourage the Governor and congressional delegation of Maine to support the approval process for the proposed National Park in Maine’s North Woods. Although collaborative conservation projects in Maine have achieved impressive results, development pressures remain. Therefore, currently existing federal, state, and private conservation entities must collaborate to achieve large landscape conservation goals. We recommend supporting and enhancing existing forums for discussing the future of Maine’s landscape as well as expanding the current conservation easement registry to include all conserved land and increase public accessibility.
In the first chapter of The State of Maine’s Environment 2012, we examine the state of large landscape conservation in Maine and implications for future conservation efforts. Landscape-scale conservation has garnered increasing attention over the last decade as concerns regarding climate change, habitat fragmentation, and loss of biodiversity have grown. The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007 noted that 11 of the 12 years between 1995 and 2006 were among the 12 warmest years since land surface temperature has been instrumentally recorded (IPCC, 2007). Among the impacts of climate change are implications for species health, persistence, and distribution. According to Butchart et al. (2010), global habitat fragmentation trends are unavailable, but the authors suggest that fragmentation is likely increasing. There does not appear to have been a reduction in rate of biodiversity loss following the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (Butchart et al., 2010; Sachs et al., 2009), and the current rate of extinction due to anthropogenic impacts is considered to be 100 to 1,000 times greater than the natural rate (Rockström et al., 2009). These problems cannot be addressed through piecemeal approaches; their impacts transcend boundaries of political jurisdiction and land ownership. We focus on the ecological components of large landscape conservation in Maine, and we position our analysis within a broader socio-economic context.
We define large landscape conservation as a collaborative approach that seeks to address environmental problems across large areas bounded not by ownership or political jurisdiction, but by ecological, social, and/or economic goals. McKinney et al. (2010) describe large landscape conservation as efforts that are multijurisdictional, multipurpose, and multi-stakeholder and that operate at various geographic scales using a variety of governance arrangements.
Land trust, fee-purchased, and conservation easement are all terms used frequently in this report. A land trust is a nonprofit organization seeking to conserve land through acquisition of properties or conservation easements, through assisting other entities in acquisition, or through stewardship of purchased lands or easements (LTA, 2012a). Fee-purchased land refers to land that has been bought outright for conservation purposes. Conservation easements are legal agreements through which landowners donate or sell some or all of their properties’ development rights to governments or land trusts, which become the holder(s). The terms of the easements specify durations of development restrictions.
Large landscape conservation is particularly relevant in Maine because of the state’s geographic position, natural resources, and valuable ecosystems. The majority of Maine is situated within the Northern Appalachian/Acadian ecoregion (Baldwin et al., 2007). The state serves as a corridor between the Canadian section of this ecoregion and the section in New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. Maine is about 90% forested (Maine Forest Service, 2005), and contains the largest contiguous forest area east of the Mississippi River (Acheson and McCloskey, 2008). Northern Maine provides valuable habitat for a variety of wide-ranging and vulnerable species. Southern Maine has high biodiversity despite containing the majority of the state’s population and is part of the northern range of many central New England species (Baldwin et al., 2007). Pressures such as habitat fragmentation have led to the extirpation of 32 native species from Maine, including several keystone species (Wildlands Network, 2009).
Mainers exhibit a strong sense of place in relation to the state’s natural resources. In follow up interviews conducted by the Brookings Institution after the release of Charting Maine’s Future (2006), a landmark study, the majority of respondents said that the greatest achievement of the report was making phrases like “quality place” commonly known in Maine (The Brookings Institution, 2012). Quality place refers to Maine’s “brand” of “livable communities, stunning scenery, and great recreational opportunities” (The Brookings Institution, 2006). Maine’s sense of place is rooted in its history of natural resource-based industry, tourism, and recreation.
History of Land Use in Maine
Maine’s economy has historically been based on natural resources. The early economy in Maine was led by the shipbuilding and fisheries sectors (Rose, 2003). Fisheries continue to play a large role in the state’s culture and economy. Maine began producing wood pulp in 1868 (Maine Pulp & Paper Association, 2012). Between 1880 and 1885, the state’s pulp production capacity increased from 182 to 1,036 tons per day, and paper production increased from 157 to 508 tons per day (Maine Paper & Pulp Association, 2010). In 1900, Great Northern Paper Company opened what was, at the time, the largest mill in the world (Maine Paper & Pulp Association, 2010). Lumber production peaked in 1909 (Irland, 2000), but paper production continued to increase, and 25% of Maine’s manufacturing population worked in the paper industry by 1970 (MacDougall & Stevens, 2012). Changing land ownership and increasing mechanization have since led to job losses in the timber industry (Lilieholm, 2007).
Nature tourism also has a long history in Maine. Moosehead Lake, the state’s largest lake, has been a center of tourism since the 1800s. Acadia National Park has been an iconic tourist destination for nearly a century. A 2001 report by the North East State Foresters Association found that: “forest-related recreation and tourism expenditures contribute $900 million annually to Maine’s economy.” In 2005, forest-related recreation and tourism revenues reached $1.15 billion (NEFA, 2007). Today, one point of debate over development projects in Maine’s North Woods is whether they will destroy the natural beauty that makes Maine attractive to tourists.
Maine has a history of de facto open land access, in part due to laws that reduce landowner liability (Acheson, 2006; Ginger et al., 2012). For most of the 1900s, land ownership in Maine was dominated by a few vertically-integrated forest products companies that allowed recreational activities on their land (Lilieholm, 2007). Acheson (2006) describes the deep roots of Maine’s culture of open land access:
The public uses large amounts of privately owned land as if it were a common property resource owned by everyone. People hunt on land owned by others, run their snowmobiles and ATVs on it, and use the land for activities such as bird watching and cross country skiing. In northern Maine, people take hiking and canoeing trips in which they camp on land owned by others for days on end. Moreover, many Mainers feel that using the land of others for recreational purposes is one of their traditional rights, and a very large percentage feel little obligation to even ask for permission when they go on someone else’s land to hunt or for a nature walk.
This history helped cultivate Mainers’ ties to the land and culture of private land ownership. According to a report by the Maine State Planning Office: “The Maine tradition of public access to private land is without parallel in the nation” (LeVert, 2008).
Despite development threats and their personal sense of place, Mainers have remained generally opposed to external forces involved in conservation efforts in Maine. Historical ties to the private sector and the fact that the federal government has never owned much land in Maine have made them wary of federal intervention (Docherty, 2000). Unfortunately, the trajectory of private land ownership in Maine may have negative implications for efforts to prevent habitat degradation and fragmentation. Furthermore, the tradition of open land access that flourished during the era of the paper companies is increasingly replaced with ‘No Trespassing’ signs (LeVert, 2008).
The seven-member Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC) was established in 1971 to regulate development for the 10.4 million acres of Maine’s Unorganized Territory (UT). The townships of the UT have little or no government or have decided to forgo administering development regulations. In 2012, the Maine legislature passed An Act to Reform Land Use Planning in the UT, and LURC became the Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC), a nine-member entity. LUPC reviews all rezoning applications, but the permitting of large projects was moved to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and counties may assume some permitting authority if they follow LUPC’s standards (NRCM, 2012).
Early versions of the LURC reform bill would have allowed for counties to opt-out of LURC jurisdiction and for county commissioners to appoint themselves to the Commission (NRCM, 2012; Maine Audubon, 2012). The opt-out provision followed the recommendations of the Commission on Reform of the Governance of Land Use Planning in the Unorganized Territory (2011). Environmental groups and some legislators argued that the provision would severely undermine restraints on development in the UT. Other legislators countered that residents of the UT should be allowed to make their own land use planning decisions.
Changing Land Ownership
Land ownership and conservation in Maine have undergone a dramatic shift in the last three decades. In 1988, Diamond International Corporation—a paper company owning large tracts of land in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York—put nearly 1 million acres of land on the market, about 790,000 acres in Maine (Northern Forest Lands Council, 1994). This served as a “wake-up call” for the conservation community (Levitt, 2003), generating concern that a period of rapid development was beginning in the North Woods (Clark and Howell, 2007; Wolf & Klein, 2007). In the early 1990s, Bowater, Inc. sold 2.3 million acres of land previously owned by Northern Paper to 15 different owners (LeVert, Colgan, and Lawton, 2007).
According to Hagan, Irland, and Whitman (2005), about 23.8 million acres were sold in the 26 million acre Northern Forest between 1980 and 2005. It is notable that this included multiple sales of the same acres and that the Northern Forest Region encompasses land in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. More than half of Maine’s North Woods is now owned by Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), timber investment management organizations (TIMOs), and developers, most of which plan to keep the land for eight to ten years (NRCM). Conservation land as a percentage of state area also increased from <5% in 1987 (Figure 1.1) (Cronan et al., 2010) to approximately 19% today (Figure 1.2) (Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, 2012). The transition in land ownership fueled the explosive growth of conservation easements (Clark and Howell, 2007; Levitt, 2003; Liliehom, Irland, and Hagan, 2010).
Paper companies’ divestment of forestlands in Maine was fueled by a number of factors, but especially by the 1986 Tax Reform Act, which almost doubled the effective tax rate for corporate timberland (Lilieholm et al., 2010). Tax breaks were later restored to individuals, who profited from REITS and TIMOs. Collapse of timber prices also drove divestment of land (Wolf and Klein, 2007). The US forest products industry began to shift investments to countries where taxes and environmental regulations were more favorable (Hagan et al., 2005).
Demand for recreational properties has exerted development pressure in Maine (LeVert et al., 2007). Examination of lands under LURC jurisdictions in 5-year intervals from 1971 to 2005 indicates that the numbers of new building and development permits issued has increased dramatically. There was a decrease in the number of permits issued between 2001-2005 and 2006-2010 (LUPC, 2012). This may have been a result of the economic recession.
Hagan et al. (2005) suggest that the shift in land ownership away from paper companies in the Northern Forest (including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York) is nearly complete, with industrial forest ownership decreasing from 60% in 1994 to 15.5% in 2005. Meanwhile, ownership by financial investors had increased from 3% in 1994 to 15.5% in 2005 (Hagan et al., 2005). As Cronan et al. (2010) note, however, overall forestry harvest and production levels are high relative to historic levels.
Figure 1.1 Conservation land in Maine in 1987 (Source: Maine Office of GIS, 2012).
Figure 1.2 Conservation land in Maine in 2012 (Source: Maine Office of GIS, 2012).
In this chapter, we analyze the current state of large landscape conservation in Maine. We begin by describing our methods, relevant laws and institutions, and stakeholders. We then discuss our findings related to changes in conserved land over time, distribution of conserved lands, management of conserved lands, institutional capacity and funding sources, threats to conserved lands, comparison to other New England states, and large landscape initiatives. Finally, we present the implications of our findings, scenarios, conclusions, and recommendations.
To better understand the state of large landscape conservation in Maine, we examined spatial, quantitative, and qualitative elements of the topic. We consider the three primary types of ownership of conserved lands: federal, state, and private. Municipalities own an extremely small fraction of conserved lands in Maine and are not explicitly discussed here. We also consider fee-purchased lands as opposed to lands under conservation easement.
An extensive literature review guided us throughout the project. Our findings from the existing literature were augmented by interviews conducted over the phone and via email. We interviewed members of various organizations and institutions that are engaged in large landscape conservation across the state (see Appendix 1). We also attended meetings to gather additional information and to make contact with experts.
We gathered quantitative data from state agencies and from Geographic Information System (GIS) offices in Maine and the rest of New England, as well as from pre-existing inventories and reports. General data on the types and proportions of conservation lands in Maine came from the state Division of Parks and Public Lands. We obtained information on Maine’s conservation easements from the Conservation Easement Registry, within the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. Data on large landscape initiatives in Maine were gathered from an inventory produced by the Regional Planning Association and America 2050 (RPA and America 2050, 2012). We sorted the inventory for initiatives operating in Maine, then tallied metrics such as identified objectives.
Laws and Institutions
Federal and state laws have set the framework for the acquisition and funding of fee-purchased lands and conservation easements. Laws incentivizing conservation easements have helped drive explosive growth in the number of easements in Maine (McLaughlin, 2007; Richardson, 2011).
Federal laws have been influential in the acquisition and management of federal, state, and private conservation land in Maine. For example, funds allocated from the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act were used to purchase the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Moosehorn NWR is one of the oldest NWRs in the country and is the largest in Maine. The Land and Water Conservation Fund Act has also provided a variety of conservation opportunities. Maine’s North Woods have benefitted from this act through the Forest Legacy Program, and the Fund has provided much of the funding needed for game management throughout the state (Wolfe Tone, pers. comm.). Money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund is used to acquire and manage state-owned and operated lands (Vincent, 2006). Similarly, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act supports the State by providing institutional capacity, technical assistance, and funding to manage non-game fish and wildlife.
Federal laws also mandate the protection of important habitats. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act protects lake, stream, pond, and ocean resources (Cronan et al., 2010). As landscape-wide and ecoregional conservation methods continue to shape the future of conservation, healthy watersheds only becomes more important. The Endangered Species Act remains the most important law related to the preservation of the nation’s threatened and endangered species. In Maine, species such as the golden eagle and the Canadian lynx are used to designate important habitat areas and drive conservation initiatives.
Another role played by federal laws has been to incentivize conservation easements. The Tax Treatment Extension Act permanently authorized income tax deductions for qualified conservation contributions, with deductions contingent on easement perpetuity. Qualified conservation contributions are “of qualified real property interest to a qualified organization, exclusively for conservation purposes” (Table 1.1). Since the 1997 Taxpayer Relief Act, the federal government has also provided estate tax deductions for conservation easements. The 2006 Pension Protection Act’s Enhanced Easement Incentive elevated tax benefits for qualified conservation easements by raising the cap and extending the carryover period for income tax deductions (LTA, 2012b; LTA, 2012c). The Enhanced Easement Incentive expired in 2011.
Treasury §1.170A-14 expands on income tax deduction requirements outlined under IRC Section 26 §170(h). It states that: “If a taxpayer makes a qualified conservation contribution and claims a deduction, the taxpayer must maintain written records of the fair market value of the underlying property before and after the donation and the conservation purpose furthered by the donation.”
Finally, there are a number of federal funding sources for the purchase of conservation easements by federal, state, or private entities. The 2008 Food, Conservation, and Energy Act, also known as the Farm Bill, provided funding for a number of conservation programs that utilize easements, such as the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program and the Wetlands Reserve Program (LTA, 2012d). The Farm Bill must be renewed every five years, and Congress has yet to approve a 2012 Farm Bill.
Table 1.1 Federal laws related to large landscape conservation
|The Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act||
|Creates funding to acquire and maintain national wildlife refuges through the sale of “duck stamp” licenses. Important for the continued funding of wildlife refuges nationwide.||USC Title 16§ 718-718j|
|Land and Water Conservation Fund Act||
|Procures land to be managed by the NPS, USFWS, USFS, and BLM. Highly important source of funding to purchase and manage conservation lands.||USC Title 16Chapter 1Subchapter LXIX§4601-4-4601-11|
|The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act||
|Establishes criteria for the inclusion of rivers in a database of rivers to be monitored, protected, and conserved. Determines rules for regulating take of resources and types of recreation permitted.||USC Title 16 §1271-1287|
|Endangered Species Act||
|Allows for listing and delisting endangered and threatened species, such as Canadian lynx in Maine, and facilitates their protection; Protects listed species regardless of the economic cost. Administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service.||USC Title 16 §1531-1544|
|The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act||
|Authorizes financial and technical assistance to the States for the development, implementation and revision of conservation plans and programs for nongame fish and wildlife; overseen by USFWS.||USC Title 43§1701-1785|
|Tax Treatment Extension Act||1980||Makes permanent rules for income tax deductions for qualified conservation contributions||USC Title 26 §170|
|Tax Reform Act||1986||Eliminated preferential tax rate for capital gains, dramatically increasing the tax rate for corporate timberland||USC Title 26|
|Tax Relief Act||
|Creates estate tax deductions for land placed under conservation easements||USC Title 26 §2031(c) & §2055(f)|
|Pension Protection Act||
|Increases the cap and carryover period for income tax deductions for conservation contributions||USC Title 26 §170|
|The Food, Conservation and Energy Act||
|Provides funding for easement programs, such as the Wetlands Reserve Program; must be renewed every five years and Congress has yet to pass Farm Bill 2012||USC Title 16|
State institutions have helped manage resources for conservation in Maine. The Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) Board assesses the need for acquiring State lands and creates guidelines for allocating money from the LMF Fund. The Board additionally administers and distributes money via two other sources, the Public Access to Maine Waters Fund and, as of 2011, the Maine Working Waterfront Access Protection Fund. With these three funds at its disposal, the Board acquires lands that are deemed to be significant to the state because they: protect public water supplies or habitat for rare, threatened, or endangered species; provide public access for recreational opportunities; or, have other conservation, wilderness, or recreational value. Notably, these funds may not be used to acquire land for which the primary use has been and will be harvestable forests.
The State also identifies designated lands, which are listed as such in the Constitution of Maine. Designated lands provide ensured public access and include certain lands held by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Division of Parks and Public Lands, Baxter State Park Authority, and lands acquired by the LMF Board. Land can be added to the pre-established designated lands, and these properties are all protected and cannot be reduced or significantly altered unless by two-thirds vote of the Maine Legislature.
The General powers and duties of the Division of Parks and Public Lands statute outlines the responsibilities and jurisdiction of the Division. The Division has control over all state parks and historic sites, public reserved and non-reserved lands, and the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. The Division does not have jurisdiction over Baxter State Park, which is under the management of the Baxter State Park Authority.
The 1985 Maine Conservation Easement Act created much of the framework for the establishment of conservation easements that is still in place in Maine. The law defines conservation easements and easement holders, as well as actions impacting easements that elicit judicial intervention. It enumerates changes in circumstances through which conservation easements continue to be upheld.
The 2007 Act to Amend the Conservation Easement Laws, also known as the Reform Act, increased requirements for and transparency of conservation easement processes in Maine. Conservation easements must now include a statement of conservation purpose, and the holder of the easement must monitor the condition of the property at least once every three years. The Reform Act also established a Conservation Easement Registry. All primary holders of easements are required to register their easements and provide information on easement size, towns and counties affected, execution date, and most recent monitoring outputs, among other data. The contents of the Registry are open to the public but must be requested. Easement holders appear to have been responsive to registration requirements thus far (Pidot, 2011).
Property tax deductions in Maine encourage the establishment of conservation easements: the Tree Growth Tax Law provides deductions for conservation management, while to Current-Use Tax Law, Farm and Open Space Tax Law, and Vulnerable Municipal Farm Support Act allow deductions specifically for conservation easements.
Public access laws indirectly relate to conservation easements because the establishment of easements has been found, in some cases, to lead to decrease in public land access (Daigle, Utley, Chase, Kuentzel, and Brown, 2012). Maine has passed over 100 state trespassing laws, many of which contradict each other (Acheson and Acheson, 2010). The result has been a lack of clarity in public access rights to private land (Acheson and Acheson, 2010). Maine’s history of de facto open land access, in part due to laws that reduce landowner liability, such as the 1979 Landowner Liability Law (Ginger et al., 2012; Acheson, 2006).
An Act to Reform Land Use Planning in the Unorganized Territory replaced the Land Use Regulation Commission with the Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) to preside over planning, zoning, and development in unorganized and deorganized areas. The policies of LUPC may play an important role in determining the trajectory of development in northern Maine. Baldwin, Trombulak, and Baldwin (2009) found that 94.6% of the undeveloped lakeshores in the Northern Appalachian and Acadian ecoregion at risk for habitat conversion fell under LURC jurisdiction. At this juncture, there does not appear to be much literature concerning LUPC.
Table 1.2: State laws regulating land conservation
|Great Ponds Law||
|Establishes public right to cross private land to fish or fowl at ponds greater than 10 acres||MRS Title 17 §3860|
|Current-Use Tax Law||
|Requires the valuation of only available land use potential, reducing taxes for conservation easement land||MRS Title 36 §701-A|
|Tree Growth Tax Law||
|Reduces property taxes for lands used primarily for commercial tree growth and harvesting if the landowner prepares and complies with a forest management and harvest plan||MRS Title 36 §571-584-A|
|Farm & Open Space Tax Law||
|Reduces property taxes for farmland, which is to be assessed excluding development value||MRS Title 36 §1101-1121|
|Landowner Liability Law||
|Removes landowner liability for allowing public access||MRS Title 14 §159-A|
|Maine Conservation Easement Act||
|Allows for creation of conservation easements in Maine; Identifies noncompliance cases for judicial intervention||MRS Title 33 §476-479C|
|Farm and Open Space Tax Law Amendment||
|Reduces property taxes for conserved open space; Includes a possible 30% reduction for permanently protected open space||MRS Title 36 §1101-1121|
|Maine Uniform Trust Code||
|Sets guidelines for land trusts as charitable trusts; Does not allow for the “modification or termination of an uneconomic trust” in the case of land trusts||MRS Title 18-B §101-1104|
|Current Use Valuation of Certain Working Waterfront Land||
|Reduces property taxes for working waterfront, with higher deductions for permanently protected land||MRS Title 36 §1131-1140-B|
|Act to Amend the Conservation Easement Laws||
|§477-A requires monitoring data for all conservation easements and statements of purpose for new easements; §479-C creates Conservation Easement Registry||MRS Title 33 §476-479C|
|An Act to Reform Land Use Planning Authority in the Unorganized Territory||
|Replaces the Land Use Regulation Commission with the Land Use Planning Commission||MRS Title 12 §681-689|
Trends in Federal and State Laws
Emphasis on perpetuity is one trend among laws impacting conservation. Perpetuity is a requirement for income tax deductions with qualified conservation contributions. The Farm and Open Space Tax Law Amendment and the Current Use Valuation of Certain Working Waterfront Lands both provide higher property tax deductions for permanently protected lands.
Another trend in federal and state policy is an increasing emphasis on identifying and clarifying conservation easement purposes (Youngman, 2012). Clarifying easement purposes may lead to greater transparency in easement processes and help environmentalists and governments to evaluate the status of large landscape conservation as it relates to conservation easements.
Overall, Maine is a leader in all states regarding the transparency of conservation easements (Olmsted, 2011). Few states have a central registration system for conservation easements, and the 2007 Act to Reform the Conservation Easement Laws has been praised as a national model (Pidot, 2011). The Reform Act does not, however, specify guidelines for monitoring or mandate secondary holders for easements (Pidot, 2011).
Since large landscape initiatives transcend political and land ownership boundaries, they typically involve a wide array of stakeholders in discussion and decision making. Considering the continuing development pressures throughout Maine, it is important to realize collaborative goals and work towards valuable conservation outcomes (Pidot). Without increased communication and trust among all invested parties, lack of progress towards land acquisition and conservation will impede conflict resolution (Graff, 2012).
Federal, State, and Local Governments
The federal, state, and local levels of government all factor into administering and allocating funding for land acquisition, as well as monitoring conserved lands and passing legislation to establish conservation principles and guidelines. The federal government has the institutional and financial capacity to support large-scale projects and the network to facilitate conservation nationwide. State governments create laws for state-scale conservation management. Local governments provide a degree of accessibility and transparency for citizens to voice their opinions on conservation issues. Tax incentives for conservation are also leveraged by these levels of governance.
Due to the decline in the timber and paper industries, towns that have relied heavily on these industries in the past face a need to diversify their economies (Pidot). Large purchases in Maine’s North Woods by real estate investment trusts (REITs) and timber investment management organizations (TIMOs) threaten conservation. Many REITs and TIMOs are interested in land use that is most profitable in the short term. In addition to timber, the landowners seek to pursue recreational and development opportunities, and their management decisions are changing the landscape of the North Woods.
Land Trusts and NGOs
Land trusts mobilized to purchase land and acquire easements as paper companies began to sell off large tracts. Land trusts have served as alternative prospective land purchasers to TIMOs and REITs. They have also helped to shape conservation policy in Maine. For example, representatives of the Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) played an active role in framing and negotiating the terms of the 2007 Reform Act (Pidot, 201). The Trust for Public Land (TPL), the New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the Forest Society of Maine (FSM), and the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) are a few other influential land trusts that work in Maine.
NGOs such as Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) do not operate as land trusts but work to advance initiatives that benefit conservation efforts. They also oppose legislation and development plans that they identify as having unacceptable environmental impacts.
Scientists and Universities
Scientists and universities provide important scientific observation and data that is needed to advance conservation efforts. For example, the University of Maine has been an important player in evaluating conservation throughout the state. Professor Robert Lilieholm at the University of Maine in Orono has mapped areas of high and low conflict between developers and conservation stakeholders in order to promote collaboration and smart conservation. Professor Steven Sader at the University of Maine in Orono is involved in monitoring the Pingree Easement. At Colby College, in Waterville, Maine, Professor Philip Nyhus will be hosting a conference on large landscape conservation in March 2013. There is still a need for additional data and collaboration across institutional and state lines, and scientists and universities can provide specialized support and insight for conservation efforts.
Citizens of Maine
Maine citizens have long valued their natural heritage, recreational opportunities, and ability to extract natural resources, and they sometimes see land conservation as a threat, especially when overseen by the federal government. The degree to which public access is permitted on private land in Maine is not found in any other state (LeVert, 2008). Most of this access is for recreational purposes, which often impact the economic vitality of the area (LeVert, 2008). Citizens recreate in a variety of ways across the state, including hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, hiking, and boating, and they worry that they may not be able to continue to do so with state or federal control of lands. Sportsmen and snowmobile groups have been especially wary of government-established conservation lands and potential loss of access. Citizens are also concerned about losing the ability to harvest natural resources. Types of natural resource harvesting in Maine include timber harvesting, mining, and energy extraction and production. However, Mainers ascribe high value to natural landscapes and there is also vehement support for many conservation initiatives.
Private entities take the leading role in conservation in Maine, and the majority of conserved land is under conservation easement (Figure 1.3). Private entities hold 55% of all of Maine’s conserved land, followed by the state government with 36% (Division of Parks and Public Lands 2012). Easements account for 53% of conserved land, while fee-purchased land accounts for 47% (Division of Parks and Public Lands 2012). The total amount of conservation land in Maine is 3,763,654 acres (Division of Parks and Public Lands 2012).
Figure 1.3 Conserved land in Maine by holder type (Source: Maine Bureau of Parks and Public Lands, 2012).
The majority of conservation easements (81%) are held by land trusts. The majority of fee-purchased conservation land in Maine is owned by the state, followed by land trusts, the Federal government, and municipal governments.
The predominance of conservation easements as opposed to fee-purchased land is indicative of the reactive character of conservation in Maine over the last 25 years. As paper companies have sold off large areas of land, conservation organizations and agencies have responded by acquiring easements, which are less expensive than outright purchase of land.
Case Study: Proposed Maine North Woods National Park
The idea to establish a Maine North Woods National Park was put forward in recognition of the loss of large tracts of Maine’s North Woods to development. Massachusetts-based RESTORE: The North Woods originally spearheaded the project, proposing a 3.2 million acre park stretching from east of Baxter State Park northward to the border with Canada and westward to the Moosehead Lake region. The proposal included five major rivers, endangered species habitat, and land in the viewshed of Mount Katahdin (Docherty, 2000). Because Maine residents have long had access to privately owned land in the North Woods for recreational purposes, many are wary of government control of land. Given the massive size of this proposed national park and the involvement by an organization from Massachusetts, the project was met with overwhelming resistance and little progress was made.
Roxanne Quimby, the millionaire who co-founded Burt’s Bees, wants to donate land to the National Park Service for the establishment of a national park (Kevin, 2012). Quimby originally tried to contribute land as part of RESTORE’s proposal but was unsuccessful in donating her land because teaming up with RESTORE meant siding with outsiders from Massachusetts, environmentalists, and the federal government, three groups that northern Mainers are often averse to (Kevin, 2012).
In 2010, Roxanne Quimby proposed donating 74,000 acres abutting the east side of Baxter State Park, a much smaller tract than the RESTORE proposal, and refocused her efforts on determining the economic and ecological implications for the region (Kevin, 2012). She, along with others such as US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, are advocating for a special resource study that would assess the economic, ecological, and social costs and benefits of her hypothetical park (Kevin, 2012; Docherty, 2000). Because the people of northern Maine have such a deep connection to the North Woods and are highly protective of it, proponents need to address the concerns of the citizens to gain support (Docherty, 2000). Quimby’s more recent proposal to donate the land for a park by 2016 has been better received because of the economic assessment and because she has involved the local communities and agreed to establish an endowment of $40 million to cover operating costs.
Park proponents claim that the forest will remain a vital component for the livelihood of Maine residents. Instead of providing solely for the lumber and paper industries, the area will invite ecotourism and economic stimulation in other capacities (Docherty, 2000). The establishment of a North Woods National Park would work towards realizing a mixed landscape of working lands, national and state parks, and recreational lands.
This case study highlights important points regarding the future of Maine’s North Woods, as well as the processes of large landscape efforts. The failure of RESTORE’s initial 3.2 million acre proposal illustrates the resistance of Maine residents to large-scale conservation controlled by federal or external entities. Roxanne Quimby’s more recent plan to turn 74,000 acres into a national park have been received more favorably because the feasibility study will contribute more concrete cost-benefit analysis, local residents have played a part in discussions, and operating costs have been addressed.
Since recreational opportunities, like those offered by trail systems and road infrastructure, and wildlife corridors for long distance migration transcend individual land ownership, it is important to establish a broader vision for large landscape conservation (Vail and Hultkrantz, 2000). At the same time, complications with the proposed North Woods National Park suggest that locals should be involved in the process.
Conserved Land Over Time
Since the late 1990’s, the number of new acres of conservation land acquired under easement has driven the growth in conserved land in Maine, while the number new acres fee-purchased for conservation have remained relatively low. As Figure 1.4 illustrates, the number of new acres under easement spiked in 2001, with the creation of the Pingree Forest Partnership’s easement of 777,352 acres (Maine Department of Conservation, 2012a)—the largest conservation easement in US history (Levitt, 2003). The third and second largest of Maine’s conservation easements to date followed in 2003 and 2005 respectively, each about 300,000 acres (Maine Department of Conservation, 2012a). The peaks in acres of land under conservation easement correspond to the establishment of extremely large conservation easements.
Figure 1.4 Acres of conserved land in Maine over time (Source: Maine Bureau of Parks and Public Lands, 2012; Maine Department of Conservation, 2012a).
The number of new easements, as opposed to the number of new acres under easement, spiked in 2007, the year of the Act to Reform Maine’s Conservation Easement Laws (Figure 1.4). The number of new easements in that year was more than 1.5 times greater than for any other year (Maine Department of Conservation, 2012a). The increase may have been due to a technicality associated with the 2007 Reform Law in terms of what is considered to be a separated easement, but we are unclear of the true reason for this (Theresa Kerchner, pers. comm.).
Figure 1.5 Number of conservation easements in Maine over time (Source: Maine Department of Conservation, 2012a)
Distribution of Conserved Lands
The majority of private conservation land (77%) is under easement, and the most sizeable conservation easements in Maine are held by private entities (Figure 1.1). Although the Pingree easement is the largest conservation easement in the United States, it is not continuous (Figure 1.6). The Pingree easement is located northeast and northwest of Baxter State Park, with some sections bordering Canada. The second and third largest easements are the Sunrise Tree Farm and West Branch easements, which are held by the New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) and the Forest Society of Maine (FSM) respectively. Sunrise Tree Farm easement is located in Downeast Maine, while West Branch is in the northwest region of the state (Figure 1.6).
Figure 1.6 Jurisdiction of conservation lands within landholder types (Source: Maine Office of GIS, 2012).
In contrast to privately conserved land, 73% of state conservation land is fee-purchased. However, the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is the holder of one easement that is almost 190,000 acres (Katahdin Forest), as well as three others that are over 10,000 acres. The largest block of state conservation land in Maine is located in the center of the state and includes Baxter State Park (Figure 1.6). Types of state conservation land in Maine include public reserved and nonreserved lands, state parks, historic sites, and wildlife management areas.
The vast majority of federal conservation land in Maine (93%) is fee-purchased. Federally owned tracts in Maine include: Acadia National Park, located on Maine’s east coast; a portion of White Mountain National Forest, bordering New Hampshire in western Maine; and ten wildlife refuges found throughout the state. Although they constitute only a small portion of total conserved lands in Maine, the national park, national forest, and national wildlife refuges are important components of Maine’s conserved lands. They protect essential habitat for many species and provide recreational opportunities. Federally-owned conservation lands in Maine are mostly found along Maine’s coast.
Large conservation easements in the North Woods, private and state owned, have garnered a lot of public attention, but most conservation easements in Maine are less than 50 acres (Figure 1.7). Furthermore, 465 easements are less than 10 acres (Maine Department of Conservation, 2012a).
Figure 1.7 Size of conservation easements in Maine (Source: Maine Department of Conservation, 2012a).
Figure 1.8 Conservation easement density by town: land under conservation easement as percentage of total land within each town (Source: Maine Office of GIS 2012).
The densities of conservation easements by town are greater in northern than in southern Maine, but there are large swaths of townships in the northern part of the state that have no conservation easements at all (Figure 1.8). This is particularly notable in the agricultural area of Aroostook County surrounding Presque Isle and Caribou. The higher densities correspond to large tracts of conserved land in northern Maine. In contrast, easements are found in most towns in southern and coastal Maine, but these towns have lower densities of easements, indicative of smaller easements. Higher population densities and more development in southern Maine prohibit the conservation of large tracts of land.
Management of Conserved Lands
Since the management of conservation land in Maine varies depending on the owner and holder, fragmented jurisdiction raises questions regarding actual as opposed to apparent habitat quality and connectivity. Fragmented ownership seems to be more of a concern for private conservation land than for state or federal conservation land because there are a greater number of private conservation entities and management practices are less clear.
Private conservation land is monitored according to the perspectives of the owners and holders. One weakness of the 2007 Reform Law is that it does not provide uniform monitoring guidelines. As a result, information concerning the ecological statuses of properties under easement can be inconsistent or recorded improperly, and the monitoring data in the conservation easement registry has yet to be compiled into an accessible, reader-friendly form (R. Collin Terrien, pers. comm.). Smaller land trusts may have more difficulty complying with monitoring requirements. Overall, monitoring outputs and implications may be unclear. A study by Neugarten et al. (2011) indicates that literature on working-forest monitoring is scarce. The Pingree Forest Partnership’s easement (hereon referred to as the Pingree Easement) is one example of an easement that seems to be more extensively monitored.
As the state body responsible for the management of land in the Unorganized Territory (UT), the Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) oversees planning and zoning functions and develops land use standards throughout Maine (LUPC, 2010). According to LUPC, the Commission encourages appropriate land use in the UT and emphasizes the need for economic vitality. It maintains that conservation efforts and economic vitality are not mutually exclusive and acknowledges the need for environmental protection in addition to low impact development that isn’t ecologically harmful in its proximity to water or other natural resources (LUPC, 2012). LUPC also encourages recreational activities and takes the desire by Maine residents to recreate into account when planning. The Commission asserts that it has recently refocused itself as a forward looking planning agency, rather than a reactionary one (LUPC, 2012). The actual role that LUPC will play moving forward is yet to be determined. Past decisions by the Land Use Regulation Commission included approving the Plum Creek Concept Plan for Moosehead Lake. The benefits and costs of this decision are under debate.
The Maine Division of Parks and Public Lands oversees and manages the vast majority of State conservation land. The Division manages public reserved and nonreserved lands, state parks and historic sites, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, the Penobscot River Corridor, and select state-owned coastal islands (Maine Department of Conservation, 2012b). The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife holds wildlife management areas, which may be managed for the production of wildlife and for the improvement of wildlife conditions in the state (MRS Title 12 §10001).
The National Park Service (NPS) manages Acadia National Park, the National Forest Service (NFS) manages the White Mountain National Forest, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) manages the ten wildlife refuges found throughout the state. All three of these federal agencies operating in Maine contribute conservation resources within the state. They provide professional expertise and organizational capacity, leverage power for acquiring funding, and often have more extensive databases, including habitat registries, natural resource inventories, and mapping and spatial analyses (Richardson, 2008). Federal grants have been influential in matching state and private funds for land acquisition. The federal lands in Maine are managed for varying degrees of recreational use, habitat conservation, and natural resource protection.
Case Study: The Pingree Easement
Pingree Forest Partnership, a group consisting of New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) and Pingree family interests, holds the Pingree easement. NEFF quelled possible opposition to the easement by employing a collaborative approach. In 1999, Eliz Swain, a partner at Barton & Gingold, and Peter Stein, a partner at the Lyme Timber Company, convened meetings for NEFF with the Appalachian Mountain Club, the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, the Forest Society of Maine, the Nature Conservancy, and other conservation organizations. Gaining early support from New England Cable News and prominent figures such as Angus King helped bolster public backing. NEFF received over 1,000 contributions from the public to help pay for the easement, as well as financial assistance from philanthropic organizations, such as the Sudbury Foundation (Levitt, 2003). Leadership of NEFF’s Keith Ross was instrumental (Levitt, 2003).
NEFF seems to monitor the Pingree Easement effectively (NEFF, 2011; Chris Pryor, pers. comm.). The monitoring process employs baseline documentation, satellite imagery, aerial photography, and ground visits (NEFF, 2011). Professor Steven Sader of the University of Maine, Orono has played an active role in NEFF’s Pingree Easement monitoring process (Chris Pryor, pers. comm.). Sader et al. (2002) discussed the development of monitoring processes for the Pingree Easement, but due to consideration for landowner privacy, the full monitoring outputs have not been made public (Chris Pryor, pers. comm.). According to Chris Pryor, NEFF’s Conservation Easement Monitoring Coordinator and Forester, the Pingree Easement landowners have complied with development restriction requirements.
It has been argued the Pingree Easement helped launch the era of large conservation easements in Maine (Clark and Howell, 2007; Levitt, 2003; Liliehom et al., 2010). The creation of the largest easement in the US was followed by a number of other sizeable Maine easements. At the time of writing, there are 13 easements in Maine larger than 10,000 acres, and 11 were established post-Pingree Easement (Maine Department of Conservation, 2012a).
The Pingree Easement also illustrates the potential power of small conservation organizations. At the time that work to acquire the easement began, NEFF had six staff members (Levitt, 2003). In order to gather enough human capacity to achieve the establishment of the easement while minimizing staffing costs, Ross created a network of consultants to assist him (Levitt, 2003). Today, NEFF has nine staff members (Chris Pryor, pers. comm.).
Institutional Capacity and Funding Sources
The exact number and size distribution of land trusts in Maine is somewhat unclear. According to Theresa Kerchner, Executive Director of the Kennebec Land Trust, there are 93 land trusts in Maine, but only 48 of them have more than one full-time equivalent staff member. Twenty-one are fully volunteer organizations, while 24 others have less than one full-time equivalent staff member (Theresa Kerchner, pers. comm.). Data from a list of land trusts in Maine compiled by the Maine Land Trust Network suggests that there are 98 land trusts in Maine, with 33 that have zero staff members and 20 that have one staff member (Maine Land Trust Network, 2012). It is unclear as to which data is the most up-to-date, and there may be differences in terms of who is or is not counted as a staff member. The general trend that there are a lot of land trusts in Maine with few staff members is consistent, however. The Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) provides support for the diverse land trusts across the state, using newsletters, conferences, and workshops to help keep other land trusts informed of regulatory changes (Warren Whitney, pers. comm.; Theresa Kerchner, pers. comm.).
Maine’s Bureau of Parks and Lands acquired the vast majority of State conservation land in Maine via two critical programs. The longer standing of the two, the Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) program, was created in 1987 based on recommendations of Maine Governor Joseph Brennan’s Special Commission on Outdoor Recreation. The Commission suggested the creation of LMF as a way to protect the natural heritage and traditions of Maine, which were jeopardized by the sudden changes in land ownership (Hagan et al., 2005; University of Southern Maine and University of Maine, 2004). As of 2011, the program has succeeded in conserving 250,000 acres of working forest, 1,150 miles of shoreline, 15,000 acres of deer wintering yards, and 29 working farms (The Land for Maine’s Future Program, 2011).
LMF is comprised of an 11-member board and relies on voter-approved bond measures for funding. The most recent measure passed in November 2012 and will provide $5 million. To date, $132 million dollars in LMF funds have been approved. Some conservationists view LMF as the most effective means for obtaining and conserving lands in Maine (The Trust for Public Land, 2012). Over the past 25 years, the program has become well-respected for avoiding political involvement and adapting to different issues, from protecting fishermen’s access to the water to ensuring the continued operation of family farms (University of Southern Maine & University of Maine, 2004). The LMF program frequently partners with state agencies and nonprofit groups that contribute matching funds in land acquisition projects (Clark and Howell, 2007). The program also relies on local initiatives and stakeholders to identify projects, and it only works with willing sellers (University of Southern Maine & University of Maine, 2004).
Interviews conducted for the Brookings Institution’s report Charting Maine’s Future: Making Headway (2012) indicate that Mainers appreciate LMF as an effective means to “improve, protect, and promote quality of place.” The program is an example of a state-led effort that has gained popular support through stakeholder collaboration.
The Maine State Government also acquires land through funds administered by the US Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program (FLP). This program began in 1990, but did not seek competitive funding proposals in Maine until 2000. Since then, the FLP has conserved 682,500 acres of forest land in the state. The FLP’s aim is to prevent conversion to non-forest uses, and it requires that the state hold the rights, title, or interest to lands protected through FLP. The program can provide up to 75 percent of the funds required to purchase lands or easements from willing sellers (Maine Department of Conservation, 2012b). Projects to be funded by the FLP must be within the Maine Forest Legacy Area, which covers the majority of the state, except for coastal central and southern regions and select developed areas in Aroostook County (Maine Department of Conservation, 2010a).
The FLP has granted funding to Maine for projects each year since 2000, and 30% of all land across the US conserved by FLP is in Maine (Maine Department of Conservation, 2012b). Maine has received a total of $74 million in FLP awards, and Maine projects that have been funded by the program have reached total funding value of $153 million. This includes the $74 million from FLP plus an additional $79 million, which consists of $19 million in LMF funds, as well as an additional $60 million from private donors and other grants. LMF funds have helped secure project support from the FLP.
Threats to Conservation Lands in Maine
Development pressures on conservation land in Maine have continued to evolve and, despite the economic recession, currently loom large in today’s conservation discussions. In particular, two projects that have attracted attention are Plum Creek’s planned development at Moosehead Lake and the proposed East-West Highway.
Case Study: Plum Creek Development at Moosehead Lake
Although Maine’s conservation community has managed to increase the percentage of land conserved in the state to 19%, Seattle-based Plum Creek Timber Co.’s Concept Plan for Moosehead Lake has raised questions about the future of conservation in Maine. Plum Creek, the largest publicly-held Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), first submitted a massive Moosehead Lake development proposal in 2005 (Plum Creek, 2012). Under pressure from environmental organizations, Plum Creek revised its Concept Plan, in 2006 and in 2007 (NRCM, 2012).
In 2009, after 300 hours of public hearings, the Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC) created then passed a revised Concept Plan (Miller, 2012). The plan rezones about 16,000 acres for development, allowing construction of 975 houses and 2 resorts (Miller, 2012). The plan also places 393,000 acres under perpetual conservation easement (Dept. of Conservation, 2011).
The Concept Plan’s conservation deal is supported by several of Maine’s conservation organizations. The 363,000-acre Moosehead Lake Regional Conservation Easement, which was brokered by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and will be held by the Forest Society of Maine (FSM), connects the St. John Valley to Moosehead Lake to Mount Katahdin, an area of 2 million acres (TNC, 2012). It also contains 30 sites that have been identified as habitat for rare and endangered species (Turkel, 2012). The easement will, “ensure sustainable forestry is practiced, prohibit all residential development, and forever guarantee the right for the public to access the lands for traditional recreational purposes” (Plum Creek, 2009). In addition to the Moosehead Lake Regional Conservation Easement, TNC bought 15,000 acres for conservation, and the Appalachian Mountain Club bought 29,500 acres that it will place under perpetual conservation easement (Turkel, 2009).
The approval by LURC was in contention for almost three years. RESTORE, the Forest Ecology Network, and the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) opposed the Concept Plan and appealed LURC’s decision, while Plum Creek, TNC, FSM, Piscataquis County Economic Development Council, and the Town of Greenville supported the Concept Plan and opposed the appeal. In April 2011, the Maine State Superior Court overturned LURC’s decision on the basis that it violated procedural rules. In March 2012, the Maine Supreme Court reversed the ruling and upheld the approval of the Moosehead Lake Concept Plan. Plum Creek’s next step toward development will be the permitting process.
The Plum Creek Concept Plan has garnered praise for its balance between environmental and economic values. Earnest “Bart” Harvey III, former chair of the Land Use Regulation Commission, stated in a commentary for the Maine Policy Review:
The Moosehead region now has a plan that recognizes that neither conservation nor development alone can sustain a region, so offers a symbiotic mix of expansive conservation and guided, permanently bounded development that protects the region’s valuable natural resources and sets the stage for much-needed economic growth.
Similarly, Mike Tetreault, executive director of TNC in Maine, said, “from businesses that will continue to harvest wood to visitors that paddle the Moose River, the conservation of the Moosehead Lake region will help protect Maine’s way of life” (TNC, 2012). Celebration of the environmental benefits of the Moosehead Lake deal has not been limited to involved parties: the Brookings Institution’s Charting Maine’s Future: Making Headway (2012) characterizes the Concept Plan’s conservation easements as a conservation success.
The case study of Plum Creek’s Concept Plan for Moosehead Lake provokes questions concerning the methods that should be used to procure conservation land in the future. Crafting deals with REITs, TIMOs, and other development entities may help secure the acquisition of large tracts of conservation land in Maine. On the other hand, the incremental development that would result from such agreements could undermine the connectivity and ecological integrity of the North Woods. Jym St. Pierre of RESTORE said that the Maine Supreme Court’s ruling sets a “very troubling precedent” for LURC, stating, “[W]e will see whether this decision today is the starting gun for the end of the Moosehead region” (Miller, 2012).
Case Study: The East-West Highway
Another looming threat for large landscape conservation in Maine is the East-West Transportation, Communications, and Utilities Corridor (or East-West Highway) proposed by Peter Vigue, CEO of the Cianbro Corporation. The project would be a private toll highway running 220 miles across the state (Seelye, 2012). The exact details of the route have not been divulged, but it is expected to run between Calais, on the New Brunswick border, and Coburn Gore, on the border of Quebec.
Although the idea of an East-West Highway has been circulating for decades, it may be more likely to come to fruition now because it would be privately financed. A law passed by the Republican legislature called for a $300,000 feasibility study of the project, but the study has been suspended by Governor Paul LePage (Tapley, 2012).
Proponents of the East-West Highway suggest that the project would bring economic benefits with few negative impacts on the environment or on private property rights. The highway would certainly make transportation of goods between Quebec and the United States easier as there is currently no major roadway that cuts east to west across the state. Supporters argue that it would also increase business opportunities within the state of Maine. Vigue says that the East-West Highway can be constructed without impeding on public conservation land or necessitating eminent domain takings (Cousins, 2012).
The actual economic benefits to Maine are uncertain, however, and there are fears that the highway could simply open the state to exploitation by outside interests (Tapley, 2012). It would also threaten wildlife habitat by cutting across the region in western Maine that is particularly important for maintaining connectivity between the forests in the northern part of the state and those in northern New Hampshire. Opponents argue that the project would disturb the region’s rural character (Seelye, 2012) and undermine tourism (Stop the Corridor, 2012). It could also pass through Penobscot Indian Nation lands (Tapley, 2012). Residents in rural central Maine have been outspoken in their resistance to the proposal (Barber, 2012; Tapley, 2012).
Comparison to Other New England States
Maine is a large state with a low population density and leads the other New England states in total acres of conservation land by a large margin (Figure 1.9). In terms of conservation land as a percentage of total land, however, Maine places fifth, behind New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Vermont (Figure 1.10).
Figure 1.9 Acres of conservation land for each New England state (Source: Maine Division of Parks and Public Lands, 2012; New Hampshire Granit, 2012; the Vermont Conserved Lands Database, 2012; Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, 2012; the Connecticut Commissioner of Environmental Protection, 2012; and the Rhode Island Geographic Information System and the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education, 2012).
Figure 1.10 Conserved land as a percentage of total land for each New England state (Source: Maine Division of Parks and Public Lands, 2012; New Hampshire Granit, 2012; the Vermont Conserved Lands Database, 2012; Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, 2012; the Connecticut Commissioner of Environmental Protection, 2012; and the Rhode Island Geographic Information System and the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education, 2012).
Maine leads the rest of New England in the percentage of its conserved land that is under conservation easement, with 56% of conserved land under conservation easement (Figure 1.11). The next closest state is Rhode Island at 38%.
Figure 1.11 Percentage of conserved land under conservation easement for each New England state (Source: Maine Division of Parks and Public Lands, 2012; New Hampshire Granit, 2012; the Vermont Conserved Lands Database, 2012; Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, 2012; the Connecticut Commissioner of Environmental Protection, 2012; and the Rhode Island Geographic Information System and the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education, 2012).
Figure 1.12 shows the differences in scale, abundance, distribution, and ownership of conserved land across New England, displaying the unique status of large landscape conservation in Maine as compared to the rest of New England. Unlike other New England states, Maine is characterized by many large tracts of privately conserved land, some large tracts of state conserved land, and relatively little area of federally conserved land. New Hampshire and Vermont are also conservation standouts, having large tracts of federally conserved land with the White and Green Mountain National Forests, respectively. The more heavily populated southern New England states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island lack sizeable conserved tracts. This map shows the potential for large landscape conservation in Maine because there are large gaps between conserved lands in the sparsely populated northern part of the state.
Figure 1.12 Conservation land throughout New England (Source: Maine Office of GIS, 2012; New Hampshire Granit (UNH), 2012; Vermont Center for Geographic Information, 2012; MassGIS, 2012; Rhode Island Geographic Information System, 2012; Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, 2012).
It is important to note that comparing statistics on conserved land across New England states must be done cautiously because the states vary in terms of what they classify as conservation land. Furthermore, limited funding may impede up-to-date and precise measurements. Our data and mapping provide a general sense of the conservation trends across New England.
Large Landscape Conservation Initiatives
The Regional Plan Association and America 2050 (2012) inventoried large landscape initiatives in the Northeast Megaregion, including the states from Maine to Virginia, with the western boundary marked by New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. This study identified 165 landscape initiatives, of which 24 operate in Maine. Out of the 24 initiatives, the most common objectives are to improve habitat and biodiversity, water quality and quantity, and open space and recreation (Figure 1.13). The most commonly used tools include: educational outreach, interpretation, and visitor services; research, science, and monitoring; and planning (Figure 1.14) (RPA and America 2050, 2012). The most common threat faced by the initiatives is urban growth (Figure 1.15).
Figure 1.13 Objectives of large landscape conservation initiatives that operate in Maine (Source: the Regional Plan Association and America 2050, 2012).
Figure 1.14 Tools of large landscape conservation initiatives that operate in Maine (Source: the Regional Plan Association and America 2050, 2012).
Figure 1.15 Threats to large landscape conservation initiatives that operate in Maine (Source: the Regional Plan Association and America 2050, 2012).
Non-profits are the lead institutions for the vast majority of the large landscape initiatives (19 out of 24) operating in Maine, as opposed to state governments, federal agencies, or universities (RPA and America 2050, 2012). It is notable, however, that 14 of the initiatives have received federal funding, 12 are partnered with the U.S. Department of the Interior, and 14 have partnerships with state government(s) (RPA and America 2050, 2012).
Overall, the large landscape conservation organizations in Maine identified by RPA and America 2050 are new and small. All except one were established in 1987 or later, with almost half of the total 24 established in 2001 or later. Eight have zero staff, and only one has more than eight staff. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has about 45 staff members, far more than any other large landscape initiative identified as operating in Maine, and it is also by far the oldest identified in the state, having been established in 1925 (RPA and America 2050, 2012). The young ages and small sizes of large landscape organizations in Maine is in keeping with the norm throughout the Northeast Megaregion (RPA and America 2050, 2012).
The case studies we described highlight the importance of including local stakeholders in order for conservation projects in Maine to be successful, especially when the projects are led by the government or outside entities. Efforts by RESTORE to create a North Woods National Park were undermined by lack of local involvement, and this is part of what prevented the project from moving forward. On the other hand, Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) is a prime example of how the state can collaborate with local and private conservation groups. For example, LMF provided supporting funds to the Port Clyde Fishermen’s Co-op to allow the group to purchase a property threatened by private interests. With assistance from LMF, the Co-op now owns the land that provides access to the waterfront and resources for these fishermen (Land for Maine’s Future Coalition, 2012). By incorporating local and private conservation organizations, LMF is able to react quickly to conservation opportunities across the state, while organizations such as the Port Clyde Fishermen’s Co-op are able to receive funding to aid in placing their priority lands under conservation.
Conserved Land Over Time
The benefits of the rapid increase in the number of conservation easements are ambiguous. Small easements may be all that can be obtained in more densely populated parts of southern and coastal Maine, and analysis by Cronan et al. (2010) suggests that there is high species richness in southern Maine. Large easements have allowed conservation organizations and the state government to protect land pushed rapidly into the market by paper companies, preventing the development of a number of expansive properties in northern Maine (Clark & Howell, 2007).
Although the majority of land under conservation easement in Maine is held by land trusts, government agencies have begun to shift toward the use of easements. The state government has transitioned from acquiring conservation lands by outright fee purchase to instead focusing resources on acquiring conservation easements across the state. This has contributed to the rapid increase in the number of conserved lands and has allowed the state to conserve more land for less money (Kathy Eickenberg, pers. comm.). Since 1995, land managed by the Division of Parks and Public Lands under simple fee ownership has increased by about 124,000 acres. In that same time, however, land managed by the Division under conservation easement has increased by 325,188 acres, with 291,000 of those acres acquired between 2003 and 2009 (Maine Department of Conservation, 2012b).
Recent land acquisition adjacent to Acadia National Park (ANP) provides an example of the use of conservation easements in Maine by the federal government. ANP was established in 1916 and today includes 36,171 acres of fee-owned land, as well as almost 10,000 acres of surrounding easements (Emily Pagan, pers. comm.). Most of the land acquisition for ANP occurred in the early 1900s, with over 36% of the current acreage acquired during the 1930s (Pagan, 2012). There has been very little land added to ANP over the last decade. Instead, focus has been on establishing conservation easements around the park. Easements overseen by the National Park Service can be found outside park boundaries.
Distribution of Conserved Lands
Previous GIS analysis by Cronan et al. (2010) suggests that connectivity and scope of conserved lands in Maine may not adequately protect the state’s species. The study finds that parcels less than 100 acres account for 72% of conserved lands and that 75% of conserved lands are in Piscataquis, Somerset, Washington, or Aroostook counties. Of 1,700 locations for threatened or endangered species, 60% are mapped outside of protected lands. Finally, the study indicates that land cover type for conserved areas in Maine is generally proportional to the overall land cover across the state with a couple of exceptions (Cronan et al., 2010). Our maps suggest that there is opportunity to enhance connectivity of conserved land in the western portion of the state.
Despite the predominance of privately conserved lands, state and federal lands have served as points around which conserved tracts are focused, and they could continue to be focal areas in the future. In 1933, the state government purchased 5,760 acres from Great Northern Paper to create Baxter State Park (Foster, 2009). Since the acquisition of this land, which Governor Percival Baxter advocated setting aside as “forever wild,” state lands have been a basis for conservation in Maine (Foster, 2009).
ANP is an example of federal land that serves as a conservation focal point and holds value to both the state and nation. ANP is significant because it is the largest and most visited federally-owned land in Maine. ANP encompasses a variety of habitat types, from forests to freshwater and saltwater habitats. It is located within the broad transition zone of eastern deciduous and northern coniferous forests (Acadia, 2012). ANP offers habitat preservation, ecosystem restoration and monitoring, and an array of recreational opportunities (Acadia, 2012).
A portion of White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) lies in western Maine. On its own, WMNF does not play a significant role in conservation management in Maine, but WMNF is significant for regional landscape conservation planning.
Maine’s ten national wildlife refuges (NWRs) are the final component of the state’s federally-held conservation tracts. Five of the NWRs are found along the coast and are part of a wildlife refuge complex known as Maine Coastal Islands NWRs. This group of refuges conserves an array of habitat types including coastal islands, forested headlands, estuaries, and freshwater wetlands, which provide important ecosystems and stopping points for migratory birds (Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuges, 2011).
Private conservation land is extremely important to maintaining habitat integrity in Maine, but state and federal lands are also of notable conservation value, both in terms of location and habitat variation. Complications in managing private conservation properties also highlight the importance of government lands.
Management of Conserved Lands
The effectiveness of conservation easements in enhancing habitat connectivity and improving biodiversity has not been thoroughly evaluated. In general, conservation easements are monitored for development, not biological metrics (Monica Erhart, pers. comm.). To some extent, this is logical because easement terms are often negotiated around development restrictions. Furthermore, monitoring biological indicators is more complicated, and it would be difficult to hold landowners accountable for metrics that are influenced by environmental variability. Hagan et al. (2005) suggest, however, that conservation easement goals defined in relation to development may not produce the desired ecological outcomes. The authors find that, in the Northern Forest Region of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York:
Forestland under a no-development easement did not have stronger biodiversity practices than forestland with no easement at all. Forestland with no-development easements and some stipulations for biodiversity protection did have stronger biodiversity practices than forestland with no easement.
The types of allowed development that disqualify an agreement from counting as a conservation easement are not explicitly stipulated in federal or state legislation. As a result, some easements permit a wide range of development. In examining conservation easements held by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in various states, Rissman et al. (2007) found that residential or commercial use, new structures, and/or subdivision of property was permitted on 85% of sampled lands. Although Maine was not among the states surveyed in this study, Maine has no mechanisms in place that would restrict the allowance of these kinds of development within the easement terms. Furthermore, Noone et al. (2012) found that in Maine, lands under working forest conservation easements had similar disturbance rates to those that were not.
Emphasis on easement perpetuity evident in state and federal law is somewhat ironic in the context of these concerns. The actual perpetuity of ostensibly perpetual easements is questionable, and perpetuity may not even be a desirable goal. If easements were too readily terminated, this would undermine their efficacy as conservation tools. On the other hand, conservation easements with few ecological benefits may not be worth preserving forever at the expense of tax revenues and other resources. Perpetuity can also belie adaptive land management (Youngman, 2012). Richardson (2011) argues that conservation easements are not coordinated with town planning and zoning considerations. This may be problematic as environmental and economic conditions shift.
This analysis raises potential problems related to conservation easements, but it is important to reiterate that easements have played an extremely important role as conservation tools in response to the changing land ownership of Maine’s North Woods. It is also possible that conservation easements help to preserve habitat in biologically diverse areas of southern Maine, but without monitoring data, this possibility cannot be evaluated.
Private, state, and federal conservation lands in Maine have been managed for a variety of purposes and activities. One of Maine’s most notable National Wildlife Refuges, the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, provides an example of multi-use management. Moosehorn is comprised of various types of animal habitat and includes sustainable timber harvesting area and federally designated wilderness areas (Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, 2011). The land incorporates the type of multi-use land management that many Mainers seek to establish throughout the state. Though established in 1937, Moosehorn NWR could serve as an example for conservation in Maine moving forward.
Institutional Capacity and Funding Sources
That so many of Maine’s land trusts are small may have negative implications for land monitoring and management. The work of the New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) in establishing the Pingree Easement suggests that organizations with few personnel can successfully tackle extremely large conservation projects, as well as develop and execute complex monitoring procedures. NEFF may be an exception rather than the rule, however. A 2005 survey by the Land Trust Alliance indicated that more than 80% of land trusts believe it is likely that some or all of their holdings will not be protected in 100 years (Pidot, 2011). Land trusts identified their inability to uphold or steward their conservation easements as the primary risk to those easements (Pidot, 2011). The 2007 Act to Amend the Conservation Easement Laws did not mandate that easements have a default holder to take over management if the primary holder is dissolved (Pidot, 2011).
The federally administered Forest Legacy Program contributes greatly to Maine’s power for purchasing conservation land. The State has used this program in collaboration with other conservation stakeholders to provide consistent funds for statewide projects. The program highlights the important role that Maine plays in the scheme of conservation lands across the US. Maine is at a key location for large landscape conservation, with large tracts of intact forest habitat linking the coast to inland regions stretching from Canada to the rest of New England.
Case studies such as the proposed Plum Creek development at Moosehead Lake highlight the choices and tradeoffs that Maine’s conservation community will have to make in the coming years. Whether or not conservation organizations should support plans by development entities in order to secure large areas of land for perpetual conservation is ambiguous. These are probably decisions that will have to be made on a case-by-case basis with consideration of the projected ecological implications within a landscape-scale context. The danger is that relatively small concessions may over time add up to a large cumulative impact on the health and connectivity of Maine’s ecosystems. Roads and other barriers to species migration will have to be considered. The ecological dynamics of mixed land use will have to be examined.
The East-West Highway case study illustrates the possibility for the development of projects that span large swaths of Maine. It also highlights the resistance that these kinds of projects can generate when they are perceived as encroaching on private property. The actual likelihood of the East-West Highway becoming a reality is uncertain.
Large Landscape Conservation Initiatives
Analysis of the Regional Plan Association and America 2050 (2012) inventory suggests that large landscape conservation initiatives operating in Maine commonly pursue both ecological and social goals, from biodiversity to recreation. The initiatives appear to focus on educational outreach and monitoring as conservation tools and can employ these methods to enhance the environmental management and collaborative processes carried out by land trusts and other conservation organizations that may have limited resources.
Although there have been a number of success stories, the newness and small size of the identified large landscape conservation initiatives suggests that additional time may be needed to judge their efficacy. The status of federal funding and support moving forward may significantly influence the initiatives’ trajectories. More in-depth evaluation of the environmental and social outcomes will be needed. One concern is the extent to which the initiatives overlap with each other and are able to coordinate their strategies, since greater coordination would probably increase the efficiency of efforts and resource expenditures.
Case Study: Staying Connected
The Staying Connected Initiative seeks to restore connectivity in forest habitat from New York to Maine. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) heads the initiative’s work in Maine, which focuses on the western part of the state and the north part, near Quebec and New Brunswick. Daniel Coker, GIS Analyst and Conservation Information Coordinator for TNC, is conducting GIS analysis of roads in western Maine to determine variables that most impact species movement, He is also working with the Maine Department of Transportation to minimize barriers to animal movement. Efforts in northern Maine have involved sitting down with stakeholders.
Staying Connected is also pioneering some interesting monitoring work in Vermont that deserves mention. The initiative seeks to implement supplementary monitoring for conservation lands that examines biological metrics, not just the absence or presence of development. Staying Connected is still in the process of fully developing these metrics. According to Monica Erhardt, a coordinator for the Staying Connected Initiative, the idea is for staff to carry out the additional monitoring themselves; partner land trusts would not be expected to shoulder an extra burden.
Case Study: The Penobscot River Restoration Project
The Penobscot River Restoration Trust is a striking example of a new large landscape organization that has been incredibly successful. Having formed in 2004, the organization has worked with the Penobscot Indian Nation, PPL Corporation (a hydropower company), community memebers, and the federal, state, and local governments to achieve the removal of the Great Works dam, with the Veazie Dam slated for removal. The project also includes the construction of a Milford fish lift and Howland bypass. This work will open up 1,000 miles of river habitat for Atlantic salmon, sturgeon, river herring, and eight other sea-run fish species. The Penobscot River Restoration Project is the largest river restoration project in the history of the US (Penobscot River Restoration Trust, 2012).
The Penobscot River Restoration Project may be an effort that achieves environmental, social, and economic goals. Increasing fish populations would have positive implications for the surrounding ecosystem. The expected return of the fish would be of important cultural value to the Penobscot Indian Nation. It would also provide new opportunities for recreation, such as wildlife viewing. Furthermore, there is expected to be no net loss of energy because PPL Corporation is investing the money from the sales of the dams in improving the efficiency of the remaining dams (Penobscot River Restoration Trust, 2012).
Efforts to evaluate the actual ecological outcomes of the Penobscot River Restoration Project are being pursued in collaboration with researchers at the University of Maine and the US Geological Survey. The researchers are monitoring the shape and geological characteristics of the river channel (Penobscot River Restoration Trust, 2012). The Penobscot River Restoration Project is an example of an initiative that has been locally driven but supported by the federal government. In Maine, America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) supports the Penobscot River Restoration Project and Keeping Maine’s Forests. AGO is a federal program launched by the Obama administration that provides funding and technical assistance for 100 of the nation’s most promising large landscape conservation efforts–2 in each state (US DOI, 2011). The selection process was guided by 51 public listening sessions, with more than 10,000 participants and more than 105,000 submitted comments (US DOI, 2011).
Case Study: Woodlands and Wildlands
In 2010, Harvard Forest scientists launched Wildlands and Woodlands (W&W), an initiative that seeks to retain forest cover for 70% of New England, amounting to 30 million acres, over the next 50 years. Out of that total, 90% would be “Woodlands,” meaning that it would be sustainably managed for ecological, economic, and recreational uses, and 10% would be “Wildlands,” meaning that it would be “shaped only by the natural environment” (W&W, 2012a). W&W was inspired by recognition that forest cover is declining in every New England state after increasing during the 1900s (W&W, 2012b). The initiative’s goals require proactive land use planning but accommodate as much as doubling existing development (W&W, 2012a).
Wildlands and Woodlands consists of a network of hundreds of partner organizations working to protect New England’s forests. In the face of development pressures, the initiative suggests increasing land use efficiency through policies that promote “higher residential dwelling densities, as well as cluster, transit-oriented, mixed-use, and adaptive re-use development” (Foster et al., 2010). Highstead, which collaborates with Harvard Forest to help lead W&W, began convening meetings for regional conservation partnerships (RCPs) in 2008. The RCP meetings have since grown into a more formalized RCP Network that facilitates peer exchange and technical training through yearly meetings, in-depth workshops, a webinar series, a Linked-in group, and additional resources (W&W, 2012b).
The 2012 Wildlands and Woodlands update highlights the collaboration between consultant Keith Ross of LandVest, consultant Alex Van Alen of True North, the New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF), and almost 100 land trusts and watershed associations to achieve conservation aggregation in coastal Maine (W&W, 2012a). It also draws attention to the work of Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT), Friends of Acadia, and Lyme Timber Company LP to conserve a 3,200-acre area of high ecological significance adjacent to Acadia National Park.
The following scenarios outline three alternatives for the future of large landscape conservation in Maine. In the first scenario, conservation lands are expanded and connected. In the second, large landscape conservation trends continue on the current trajectory. The final scenario describes unchecked development with minimal effort for large landscape conservation.
Ecoregional Management Planning
In an ecoregional planning scenario, areas large enough to protect source populations of plant and animal species would be protected so that the species could disperse through corridors and into satellite habitats. Diverse stakeholders would collaborate to achieve conservation goals, and an acceptable agreement for the North Woods National Park would be reached. Ecoregional planning would encourage the existence of viable species populations as well as preserve large tracts of land for recreation, sustainable natural resource extraction, and carbon sequestration.
Ecoregional planning would involve planning for a mixed-use landscape. Robert Lilieholm (2007) has been involved in scenario planning in Maine and throughout New England and asserts that a mixed-use landscape conservation plan would work well for the region. It would include core protected areas in places like Baxter State Park, with buffers of timberland and easements and connective wildlife corridors. Land use planners would take special care to protect wetlands, ponds, lakes, and waterways because these are often under high development threat and provide a wide range of ecosystem services. Lastly, Lilieholm (2007) suggests that communities such as Bangor, Greenville, Millinocket, and Jackman should continue to build economic infrastructure to serve as gateways to recreational and outdoor educational opportunities.
Large landscape conservation initiatives would receive consistent funding and technical support from federal, state, and municipal governments, as well as from philanthropists. They would continue to enhance their collaborative relationships with each other and with stakeholders. Additional research would facilitate the creation of a new database, or the expansion of the Regional Plan Association and America 2050 database, to help enhance coordination and evaluate the outcomes of these initiatives in terms of ecological, social, and economic metrics.
Under the business-as-usual scenario, opportunistic land acquisition would be the primary mode of conservation in Maine. The percentage of land conserved in Maine would continue to increase, but large development projects would also be planned and approved. The federal government would maintain funding for state conservation efforts through the Forest Legacy Program (FLP), among other measures, and for regional efforts through initiatives like America’s Great Outdoors. The state government would continue to fund conservation through Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) because Mainers would continue to support bond measures for LMF. Maine would be home to many land trusts, most of which would have few staff. Conservation easements would be the primary tool for acquisition of conservation land in Maine.
Although large landscape initiatives would continue to achieve impressive conservation results in Maine, collaboration between conservation entities to identify the most important lands for conservation would remain in its early stages. Maine’s lands and natural resources would support a variety of activities and uses, but the framework for coordinating and optimizing various ecological, social, and economic goals would remain underdeveloped.
Intensive Land Development
In the intensive land development scenario, development would expand dramatically in Maine, particularly in the North Woods. State and federal funding sources, such as LMF and FLP, would be reduced, and the resources for conservation entities to purchase land and acquire easements would be severely restricted. Land use planning in Maine’s Unorganized Territory would be further deregulated and decentralized, as stipulated in earlier versions of bills to Reform Land Use Planning Authority in the Unorganized Territory. Municipalities in the Unorganized Territory would have greater agency in land use planning and many would succumb to development pressures. Projects like the development planned by Plum Creek at Moosehead Lake would become common. Maine’s ecosystems would suffer from increasing fragmentation, and the state’s iconic scenery would be degraded, undermining the tourism industry.
Based on our analysis, we conclude the following:
- Within New England, land conservation in Maine is uniquely important due to high species diversity, abundant natural resources, and large tracts of undeveloped forest land.
- Private conservation land and growth in conservation easements have contributed substantially to conservation land throughout the state. In Maine, 56% of conservation land is privately held and 53% is under conservation easement. Maine’s Act to Amend the Conservation Easement Laws of 2007 was transformative in that it created a conservation easement registry within the state that promotes data collection on conservation easements.
- The history of public access to privately owned land in Maine has engendered resistance to State and Federal conservation efforts.
- State and Federal lands in Maine, such as Baxter State Park and Acadia National Park, are iconic in their environmental and recreational value.
- Maine has made progress in conserving land and collaborative conservation projects have achieved impressive results. There are opportunities for continuing to expand and connect conserved lands, and development remains a pressing threat.
We recommend that federal, state, and private conservation entities collaborate with local communities to achieve large landscape conservation goals.
We recommend supporting and enhancing existing forums for discussing the future of Maine’s landscape in order to enhance dialogue among private, state, and federal conservation entities. There are many more conservation organizations and initiatives in Maine and New England that we did not cover in this report and these groups should be involved in these forums.
We recommend the expansion of the current conservation easement registry to include all conserved land held in all ownership types and increase public accessibility. The aim of this increased access to data is to encourage more awareness of the conserved land in Maine and to benefit landscape scale planning initiatives.
We encourage the Governor and congressional delegation of Maine to support the two-part approval process of the proposed National Park in Maine. If the special resource study concludes that Maine will benefit from the addition of a National Park, the Governor and congressional delegation should support the approval of the park in Congress. There are many stakeholders involved in approving this proposed park and serious consideration should be given to the potential for multiple uses of the land in the proposed park.
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Chris Pryor, Conservation Easement Monitoring Coordinator and Forester, New England Forestry Foundation
R. Collin Therrien, Senior Planner and Administrator, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
Peter Stein, Managing Director of the Lyme Timber Company
Wolfe Tone, Maine State Director, Trust for Public Land
Warren Whitney, Land Trust Program Manager, Maine Coast Heritage Trust