AUGUSTA – The Maine Senate approved three LePage administration nominees Thursday for the Land for Maine’s Future board.

Bob Meyers of Bath, Harry Ricker of Turner and Fred Bucklin of Appleton were all approved by unanimous vote, after receiving endorsements from the Legislature’s Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee. The men will fill three of the six seats on the board reserved for members of the public.

Members of the governor’s Cabinet hold the other three seats on the nine-member board, which reviews and approves funding requests for land conservation projects.

Meyers is executive director of the Maine Snowmobile Association, the umbrella group comprising local snowmobile clubs that promotes the industry in Maine. Ricker is a farmer whose family operates Ricker Hill Orchards, a large apple orchard based in Turner. Bucklin is a professional real estate appraiser who runs Bucklin Appraisal LLC in Maine and Massachusetts.

Established in 1987, the Land for Maine’s Future program has helped conserve more than 500,000 acres of working forests, farmland and working waterfront through land sales or conservation easements. The program is financed through voter-approved bonds, although the flow of money has been disrupted as Gov. Paul LePage has sought to use the program as leverage with lawmakers on a separate issue.

Applicants for conservation projects must match every dollar from the state with private or federal money, and all conservation projects must provide public access for recreational activities such as hiking, hunting or fishing.

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