During this time of uncertainty with COVID-19, many individuals and families have come to rely on the lands owned by the state of Maine, municipalities, local land trusts, and other nonprofit conservation organizations as places where they can safely go to enjoy natural beauty, get some fresh air and exercise, and find a bit of relief from the stresses of every-day life. These public lands have also become an important part of the local and state economy, as they draw local people and people from other parts of Maine, and, in normal times, travelers from other states, many of whom spend money for meals, lodging and gas.

An important source of funding for the acquisition of many of these recreation and conservation lands is the Land for Maine’s Future program. LMF money is often part of a multi-source funding package when these properties are purchased. It is also used to protect farmland and working forestland and waterfronts, all important parts of Maine’s heritage and economy. In addition, these funds are used to help maintain infrastructure in our state parks.

According to the Maine Conservation Voters 2020 scorecard for votes by Maine’s legislators on environmental issues, the current state senator for District 17, Russell Black, voted against L.D. 1851, a bill that proposed sending a bond issue to the voters to replenish the funding for Land for Maine’s Future. The bill failed to receive the necessary two-thirds vote of both houses of the Legislature in August 2019, thereby depriving the voters of District 17 and the entire state of the opportunity to show their support for this very important program.

Please think about this when you cast your vote in the District 17 race on Nov. 3.

Becky Seel

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