maine governor blames land trusts for states rising property taxes

posted March 8, 2018

Maine Governor LePage
This message is sent on behalf of Tim Glidden, President at Maine Coast Heritage Trust. 

Dear Maine Land Trusts,

Last night, Governor LePage delivered his final State of the State address. As we expected, right out of the gate he blamed land trusts for Maine’s rising property taxes. He relied upon many statistics to make his case. Unfortunately, much of what he said was inaccurate and out of context.

What’s Missing?

The Governor’s comments continue to ignore the many benefits of conservation land to Maine people and our state’s economy. These land trust conserved lands include more than 2.1 million acres of productive forestland, 36,000 acres of active farmland, and more than 60 access sites for commercial fisherman. Land trusts also provide public access to sportsmen on more than 90% of all their conserved lands and thousands of miles of trails for hiking, skiing, mountain biking, ATV riding, and snowmobiling.

In addition, contrary to the Governor’s depiction, land trusts are working in partnership with municipalities, community leaders, and businesses all around the state to complete conservation projects to improve the lives of Maine people and visitors. This is why land conservation and efforts like the Land for Maine’s Future program continue to enjoy should broad, bipartisan support.

Big Misstatement

The Governor’s speech included the wild assertion that land trusts are responsible for removing more than $18 billion of land off the municipal tax rolls, resulting in a loss of more than $330 million in property taxes. To the contrary, the $18 billion and $330 million figures he referenced include all tax exempt real estate (land and buildings) owned by the Federal Government, the State of Maine, municipalities, quasi-municipal organizations, churches, and other nonprofits. We estimate the land trust component of this figure to be less than 1% of the total.

For more information and additional statistics about Maine land trusts and their lands, view the report HERE.

What you can do to help

MCHT anticipates that the Governor will be submitting legislation over the next month targeting land trust tax exemption eligibility.

Over the past few weeks, many of you have stepped up to submit opinion pieces to your local newspaper to tell the real story of land conservation in Maine. These have been very helpful. If you have not had a chance to submit something to your local newspaper, it is not too late.

Stay tuned for future updates on this issue. MCHT is working on additional communications strategies and will share with you the legislation once it becomes official.

Click HERE to watch the full speech (the land trust section begins around the 12-minute mark). Alternatively, you can also read a full transcript HERE


boston food forest coalition are looking for a new project coordinator!

posted November 11, 2017

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The Boston Food Forest Coalition (BFFC), a grassroots non-profit land trust, is a growing “community of practice” linking gardeners across greater Boston to permaculture projects. Neighbors come together, creating food forest gardens in their neighborhoods, and these open spaces engage and strengthen communities, producing food, hosting cultural events, and sharing experiences and skills with all ages. BFFC has a growing membership of 1,500 people in the greater Boston area. Since we launched, BFFC has offered over 150 free hands-on workshops (with topics from compost tea, permaculture design, medicinal herbs, mushroom logs, soil regeneration, biochar, mounded agriculture, companion plants and guilds, winter pruning, making elderberry syrup, nature art, and more) taught by herbalists, permaculture gardeners, designers, professional farmers and others in our community. The Boston Food Forest Coalition is currently composed of eight sites across the city, in Mattapan, Jamaica Plain, West End, Dorchester, East Boston, and Roxbury. The goal of the land trust is to support hundreds of forest gardens, stewarded by neighbors and community organizations. Imagine each with its own harvest festival and cultural events, sharing abundance, mitigating urban heat island effects, capturing rain-water, sequestering carbon, reducing stress, and regenerating life in the city. Healing ourselves, our communities, and the land.

(more…)



talk on the commons, april 23, great barrington

posted April 13, 2017

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The Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires (CLTSB) and the Berkshire Community Land Trust (BCLT) invite you to attend their joint Annual Meetings & Speaker Series on April 23, 2017:  Re-imagining the Commons with David Bollier of the Schumacher Center.


internship this summer in farmland conservation in greenwich, ny

posted March 1, 2017

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The Agricultural Stewardship Association is currently accepting applications for their summer internship program. This paid position is geared towards undergraduate students. The intern will gain experience working in a fast-paced nonprofit on event planning, community outreach, data collection, and project management. This looks like a great opportunity for someone interested in agricultural and natural resources education, communications, event planning, and land trusts.

The ASA is a community-supported nonprofit organization that works with land owners in Rensellaer and Washington Counties in New York’s upper Hudson Valley to conserve farmland.

Full job position is included below. (more…)