SOURCE: New England Forestry Foundation

New England Forestry Foundation

March 30, 2015 10:43 ET

The New England Forestry Foundation Urges Maine's Governor to Release Funds for Important Conservation Projects

LITTLETON, MA--(Marketwired - Mar 30, 2015) - The recent news that Maine's Governor Paul LePage has again delayed release of funds approved by voters for land conservation through the Land for Maine's Future program was both surprising and disappointing to the New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF). NEFF is a recognized leader in conserving forests, supporting sustainable forestry, and assisting landowners in the protection and stewardship of their properties.

"Forest land provides tremendous benefits to the people of New England, which was clearly stated in our 2014 Path to Sustainability Report, and we urge the Governor to rethink his stance and release the funds to the LMF Board," said Timothy A. Ingraham, NEFF Board President. "Maine has shown the way in forest conservation during the last two decades and we hope it will continue to do so. These important funds would help support sustainable forest management, recreational opportunities, and clean air and water. Many conserved forest lands provide local jobs and sustainable timber products for Maine and beyond."

"Public conservation funding helps protect forest lands from fragmentation and development, maintaining their ability to contribute both environmentally and economically," added Alec Giffen, NEFF's Maine Representative & Senior Advisor. "We support the release of the Land for Maine's Future funding that the voters have already approved, and we encourage the Governor to also demonstrate his support for further conservation by supporting the continuation of the LMF program into the future." Mr. Giffen previously served as Director of the Maine Forest Service and has over 40 years of experience in natural resource management.

"Last year we released the Path to Sustainability, which outlines the tremendous economic, environmental, and social benefits forests provide to the citizens of Maine and the region. We hope the Governor will read these important findings and understand the immediate importance to release this funding," said NEFF's Deputy Director Frank Lowenstein.

NEFF is not among pending recipients of funding from the Land for Maine's Future program, though funding from the program helped the organization to conserve over 340,000 acres of Downeast forest and waterfront land in partnership with the Downeast Lakes Land Trust in 2004. Funding at risk today would support the permanent conservation of more than 30,000 acres of working forest land, which represents approximately 60% of the acreage at risk if funding is delayed or denied.

About The New England Forestry Foundation - For over 70 years, NEFF has demonstrated that well-managed working forests, both publicly and privately owned, can provide landowners and the community with the prime ingredients for healthy living: clean air and water, sustainable production of an array of forest products, healthy forests for hiking and relaxation, a diversity of wildlife and habitats, periodic income, and renewable natural resources that help support rural economies. For more information, visit www.newenglandforestry.org.

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