This letter is in response to a recent column by David Trahan (“Animal rights activists put Land for Maine’s Future program in peril,” Dec. 6).

I was one of 54 people who testified against the LMF bill (L.D. 911) last June because there was and still remains a dark side to the legislation, buried in the fine print of the act.

Section 5, Number 1A, states: “Hunting, fishing, trapping and public access may not be prohibited on land acquired with bond proceeds, except to the extent of applicable state, local or federal laws, rules and regulations and except for working waterfront projects and farmland protection projects.”

That requirement undermines local control and raises the question: Why are the purse strings for Land for Maine’s Future tied to Maine’s two most vocal special interest groups – hunters and trappers – when they constitute only a small minority (roughly 12%) of Maine’s total population? That decision empowers them to conduct a kind of economic blackmail: If you want LMF money, you must allow hunting and trapping.

If L.D. 911 is approved, funds won’t come from a private institution that might require certain conditions. Instead it will be loaned to all Maine citizens who have to repay it with interest through their taxes. This is public money, which is why trusts should be managed at the local level by those who know the land in question and can make decisions according to the particular needs of the property.

Conserving land is a worthy goal, but not at the cost of subverting local control and personal choice. We should not be denied the right to do as we think best, especially when it’s our money that provides the funding.

Don Loprieno
Bristol


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