On Aug. 4, the Great American Outdoors Act became law, guaranteeing $900 million annually for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and sorely needed funding for national parks. This huge bipartisan victory for public lands will result in more public outdoor spaces that benefit all walks of life and support a vibrant economy.

Maine should follow suit by replenishing the Land for Maine’s Future program. Since 1987, LMF has supported over 300 projects in all 16 counties that have helped safeguard some of Maine’s cherished landscapes and close-to-home parks, improve recreational access and support working waterfronts, farmlands and forests.

Investing in conservation has positive ripple effects on public health and the economy and can help the state recover from the pandemic by protecting the natural resources that many Maine people and industries rely on. The pandemic has demonstrated just how precious accessible outdoor spaces are for mental health and physical well-being. On top of that, federal Land and Water Conservation Fund money will be channeled to Maine, and we need to be able to match those funds with state and local funds to maximize the benefit for Maine people. LMF can help with that.

Voters overwhelmingly approved Land for Maine’s Future in the past, and they should have the chance again to vote on an LMF bond. If state legislators reconvene for a special session, I urge them to pass L.D. 911  to put LMF on the November ballot.

Melanie Sturm

Brunswick

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