I was one of 54 people who testified against the Land for Maine’s Future bill (L.D. 911) last June because there was and still remains a dark side, buried in the legislation’s fine print:

Section 5, 1.A. 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.” The hunting-trapping requirement is not mentioned either in the language of the bill or the ballot question.

Why are LMF’s pursestrings tied to Maine’s two most vocal special interest groups — hunters and trappers — when they’re only a small minority of Maine’s population? The result is economic blackmail — if you want LMF money, you must allow hunting and trapping.

Though it was overwhelmingly opposed at the June hearing, L.D. 911 was deferred until the current legislative session, but if it is approved, Mainers will have to borrow funds and repay them with interest through their taxes. This is public money — that’s why trusts should be managed by local land managers who can best determine what activities are appropriate.

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

Don Loprieno


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