Mainers enjoy access to thousands of square miles of unpopulated working forest, only a tiny portion of which is under public ownership.  However, development pressure threatens these private lands, and with them our outdoor traditions, in Maine as well as across the country. That’s why Forest Legacy and the Land and Water Conservation Fund are so important. These programs provide federal support to local and regional projects to preserve valuable open space. Here in Maine, funds from these programs have been used to purchase title or easements to guarantee public access to a variety of special places, including Tumbledown Mountain, the West Branch of the Penobscot River, and the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. Nationwide, they have preserved or created countless outdoor recreation opportunities, from urban parks to boat launches to wilderness areas.

That’s why I circulated a letter to House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment Chairman Norman Dicks and Ranking Member Todd Tiahrt with my colleagues Reps. Jim GerlachJames (Jim) GerlachThe business case for employer to employee engagement 2018 midterms: The blue wave or a red dawn? Pa. GOP 'disappointed' by rep retiring after filing deadline MORE (R-Pa.), James McGovern (D-Mass.), and Rush Holt (D-N.J.).  Ninety-seven Members of Congress, including both Republicans and Democrats, signed the letter to express support for the preservation of open space by Forest Legacy and the Land and Water Conservation Fund.  I will continue to advocate for these important programs.