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Governor's Task Force on Public Lands
On February 8, 2008 the final report of the Governor's Task Force Regarding the Management of Public Lands and Publicly Held Easements was submitted to the governor and the Maine Legislature. The Sierra Club was represented on the task force by Maine Woods Campaign director Karen Woodsum. All sixteen members of the task force, representing conservation, motorized, nonmotorized, land-owner interests (and state legislators) signed the final report.
The eight recommendations of the task force are:
1) Creation of the Recreational Access and Conservation Forum
A steering committee of seven appointed members representing diverse recreational interests (including Karen Woodsum for wilderness backcountry) will meet a minimum of three times per year to discuss continuing issues, address emerging conflicts, and seek cooperative solutions. Interested parties will be invited to participate.
2) Future Recreation and Conservation Needs
This topic will be addressed by the forum, which will project a vision for the next 50 years. This will address gaps in habitat conservation, the ecological reserve system, and in recreational opportunities in the state. Recommendations will be presented to the state to help guide its planning efforts.
3) Access to Moving Waters
An initiative will be undertaken to explore issues of access to Maine's moving waters - with a mix of walk-in, boat and hand- carry options.
4) Updating Maine's Ecological Reserve System
An independent scientific review panel will evaluate progress in establishing and monitoring the ecological reserve system in Maine.
5) State Funding Sources
The forum should explore new sources and methods to assure sustainable funding for recreation and conservation.
6) Further development of (Wilderness) Backcountry Recreational
With special attention to a long distance network of hiking and remote land and water trails.
7) Landowner Relations and Public/Private Partnerships for Outdoor
The state should dedicate some of its resources to maintain essential connections with private land owners whose holdings abut, or may be connected with, public lands.
8) Access to Ocean Recreation
The forum should address increasing concerns about the loss of access for ocean kayaking, fishing, etc as private landowners increasingly restrict access points.
Read the final report on the Department of Conservation website.