Twenty new Land for Maine’s Future projects were approved this week, preserving public access to lakes, rivers and mountains.

The LMF board said a third of the new projects were proposed by towns and cities to conserve recreation areas and four are located next to or near public schools, where officials said they can be used for nature-based learning and recreation.

The projects approved this week will cost the LMF fund slightly more than $5 million. Some of the spending to preserve the open land is matched by private, municipal and federal funding.

The list of approved projects includes six in Cumberland County and two in York County.

Among them is a 16-acre parcel in Portland’s North Deering neighborhood, which will provide urban open space and links to an informal urban trail network. Acquisition of a 661-acre parcel in Windham will provide water access and scenic views of distant mountains.

A 156-acre parcel in New Gloucester will provide a link to an existing trail system between Portland and Lewiston-Auburn and be combined with a separate 37-acre parcel to create the new Talking Brook Public Land Unit.


Also being purchased in Cumberland County is the 147-acre Thayer Brook Preserve in Gray, which will provide habitat for species of special concern, extend trails and protect a segment of a local snowmobile and ATV trail; and the Muddy River Forests, a 1,357-acre site in Naples that incorporates easements held by the Loon Echo Land Trust and protects a large block of land in the Cumberland County and Portland Water District watershed.

Thayer Brook Preserve now abuts the existing Libby Hill Forest trail system, which is located on Libby Hill Road, next to both Gray-New Gloucester High School and Middle School. Rachel Vitello / The Forecaster

Also in Cumberland County is the Tondreau Project, a 57.2-acre parcel in Harpswell that will protect coastal water quality, a rare plant species and provide trail access in an area under high development pressure.

Sites being protected in York County are the 56-acre Johnson Brook-Sisk site in Kittery, which expands the Mt. Agamenticus to the Sea Initiative, and the Bauneg Beg Mountain Recreation Area, a 61-acre site in North Berwick. That project will complete conservation of the three Bauneg Beg Mountain summits and protect a rare plant species.

Elsewhere in the state, projects were approved in Oxford, Knox, Waldo, Hancock, Sagadahoc, Androscoggin and Washington counties.

The LMF Board has now approved 25 new projects since the program was reinvigorated with $40 million in new state funding last year. The program, established in 1987 with a $35 million bond approved by voters, is the state’s primary method of conserving land.

Since it was founded, the LMF program has conserved nearly 604,000 acres of land, with more than half of that working lands, such as farms and working waterfront properties.

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