|Maines Natural Resource - Based
Industries on the Move
Maines brand name has gained
an international reputation, according to a survey conducted by Anholt State Brands Index.
The governor certified Maine lobster, adding value to the resource.
by Ramona du Houx
Maine was in danger of losing its natural
resource base. Without sustainable measures in place, resources were being used up and not
replenished. For more than 25 years Maines natural resource industries had largely
been ignored by administrations. That would no longer be the case with Governor Baldacci.
Developing plans for what works best in
Maine requires knowledge, perspective, and vision. To be able to grow the economy while
sustaining the states natural resources for future generations was a challenge
Governor Baldacci embraced. Step by step he has been implementing plans that are moving
Maine forward in the new economy, building upon Maines natural resources.
As a U.S. congressman he saw the problems.
Maines natural resources were being shipped around the world to be packaged and
processed. It was obvious to him that the state needed to help entrepreneurs see that
adding value to those resources here at home would be more profitable and done
right would help sustain those resources and grow Maines economy.
"Maines natural resources are
the bases of a sizable portion of Maines economy," said the governor. "My
administration chooses to focus on them because in order to have economic growth and
healthily economies in rural parts of the state, much of that economic activity is going
to be based on natural resources."
Governor Baldacci ensured that the results
of the commission that started with the Blaine House Conference on Maines Natural
Resource-Based Industries in 2003 would take effect. The comprehensive plan to strengthen
Maines natural resource-based business is showing gains, and has been aided by the
FERMATA study on tourism, the Future Forest Economy Project, the Maine Certification
Initiative, the 2005 State of the Forest Report, and the 100-Mile Wilderness Economic
The Resource-Based Industries
Steering Committee set five priorities:
Preserve the industrys
access to their land and water resources.
Increase the consumption of
local Maine foods.
Single out Maines
"green" paper and forest products in the marketplace, and
Take advantage of the
profitable, niche markets that nature tourism offers.
Jacobs of the Sunrise Trail Coalition is congratulated by the governor for her work on the
rail trail that will infuse Washington County with an economic boost.
"Tourism is an increasingly
competitive industry around the world. I am committed to making the investments necessary
to keep Maine high on the list of places that folks from away just have to visit in order
to appreciate all that we have to offer," said the governor.
"This industry is not only important
for our livelihoods, but it is also an important part of our heritage."
The governor created the Center for Tourism
Research and Outreach to help hospitality businesses in training and destination
His administration retained FERMATA, a
specialized agency in tourism, to assess Maines opportunities in nature-based
tourism, one of the fastest growing niches in the nations travel industry, and to
develop a plan for Maines rural tourism needs.
"More families are looking for
educational, thematic vacations in nature," said Jeffrey Sosnaud, deputy commissioner
of the Department of Economic and Community Development, "vacations that take you
along historic trails, searching for eagles, or canoeing. There are so many possibilities
here in Maine, and we intend to make the most of them."
Three pilot project regions, the Western
Mountains, the Highlands, and Downeast, will be utilized as models for implementation of
the plan throughout rural Maine.
Under the Baldacci administration, the
Bureau of Parks & Lands has made significant recreational land acquisitions. Among
these acquisitions are two former rail lines, one of them in Machias. At the
governors authorization, the Maine Department of Transportation is developing a
corridor management plan for the Calais Branch Line that will preserve it for future rail
use, but also make it available in the interim as a mixed-use recreational trail.
"This has been a long time coming, but
proves that persistence and good partners make dreams come true," said Sally Jacobs
of the Sunrise Trail Coalition, who has worked with Governor Baldacci toward establishment
of the trail during that time. "The governor has been great."
The project should be a major step to bring
more opportunities into the Downeast region. Tourists should venture further into the
area, as the trail will extend to the Acadia National Park trail network.
"The corridor is a vast
resource," Governor Baldacci said. "It gives the area a strong foundation for
ecotourism to take off."
Consultants determined the trail could
generate an additional $11.3 million in tourism funds for the state.
"It clearly will be an economic boost
to the area. It also will connect the rest of the state to the 800 miles of snowmobile
trails that already exist in Washington County," said Transportation Commissioner
Other rail trail initiatives are happening
across the state.
In 2004 tourism generated $13.6 billion in
sales and provided 176,600 jobs in Maine, according to data gathered by Longwoods
International, a Canadian travel research firm, and the states tourism office.
"2005 was a very good year," said Dann Lewis, the states tourism director.
The states tourism office credited better marketing and promotion, and good weather
for the increase.
natural resources sustainable is in all our interests," said Baldacci during a
ceremony congratulating Hancock Lumber for becoming Maines first company to receive
Forest Stewardship certification. 7.25 million acres of forest are now certified because
of the governors efforts.
Governor Baldacci introduced legislation to eliminate the practice of
"liquidation harvesting." Clearcutting leads to deforestation and increases
global warming while using up an important natural resource. Under the new laws
liquidation harvesting is being eliminated in Maine.
At the governors request the Maine
Forest Service recently completed the Future Forest Economy Project, the most
comprehensive look at forestry-based industries in the states history. Its
recommendations are assisting government and industry transition with the challenges of
the global economy.
The governor also asked the small business
administration to develop a program specific to loggers, to help them with specialized
business skills and access to loans.
"More than 7 million acres, or 40
percent of our working forest, is certified as sustainably managed ... and thats
good for the environment and the economy," said the governor.
Shortly after taking office, Baldacci
established the Maine Forest Certification Initiative. As a result Maine now leads the
nation in certified acreage. The governors goal is 10 million acres to be certified
by 2010. Tom Howard of Domtar Industries said from 2004 to 2005 Domtars sales
Recently Domtar, which makes certified pulp
in Maine, announced a "green" line of paper made from certified fiber harvested
The demand for certified wood products is
ever growing worldwide. Time Inc., L.L.Bean, and Staples have set targets for the
amount of fiber to come from forests certified as being sustainably managed, which
directly increases market demand for Maine paper. Maine is the second leading producer of
pulp and paper in the country.
"Consumers are demanding more products
from certified wood. As I talk to paper mills, they are telling me that places like Nike
and Time Magazine will not buy their paper for advertising unless it is made from
certified wood," said the governor.
"Our builders and developers are
asking us about a certified product. Our customers want it, so we are gladly providing it.
We have started a path where all wood building materials brought to market will be green
certified. Eventually it will be the norm," said Kevin Hancock. "Were
really excited about the hard work and the leadership the governor has provided."
His company, Hancock Lumber, was the first
Maine Company to receive Forest Stewardship Council certification, for a lumberyard last
July. The governor congratulated them during a ceremony at their lumberyard in Brunswick.
"I want to congratulate Hancock Lumber
and thank them for their leadership in bringing certified wood products to market,"
said Governor Baldacci. "Keeping our natural resources sustainable is in all our
"If this were our midterm grade on
forest certification, we would have been given an A," said Patrick McGowan,
commissioner of the Department of Conservation. "This is not a self-grade; this is a
grade that has been given by speaking with industry leaders."
Alec Giffen, director of the Maine Forest
Service, called Governor Baldacci a "powerhouse" behind the effort of forest
Maine has become a national leader in
sustainable, managed woodlands.
The governor feeds the trout at
the renovated Embden fish hatchery.
Through bond initiatives, the continued
research conducted at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland and expansions in
Maines university system are strengthening Maines fishing and aquaculture
Recognizing that working waterfronts are in
danger of being bought up by developers, $2 million was allocated from the budget and put
into the Land for Maines Future fund, which will purchase wharfs and waterfront
buildings, to help preserve the working waterfronts for future generations. Applications
are now being received for this new program.
Maines lobster catch last year
represented nearly two thirds of the total annual U.S. American lobster catch. In 2005
nearly 63 million pounds of lobster, valued at $289.7 million, was caught by Maine
In August Governor Baldacci tagged the
first "Certified Maine Lobster" at the Portland Pier. The Maine Lobster
Promotions Council created the brand and logo which informs consumers that their lobster
came from the waters of Maine.
"Maines identity is so closely
associated with lobsters that when you tell someone from out of state where youre
from, the next words out of their mouth usually will include the word
lobster," said Governor Baldacci. "And then of course they ask if
you can get them some, wholesale."
Anyone in marketing knows that it will make
a difference on the balance sheet for Maine businesses, having lobster caught in Maine
waters certified from Maine. By giving the lobster the brand Maine name, it markets the
crustacean that is sold as a delicacy around the world. Having Maine lobster on famous
restaurant menus creates more demand.
While in Bulgaria the governor came across
a restaurant serving Maine lobster which cost close to eighty dollars, but there
wasnt any way to prove that it was indeed a lobster from Maine. "Now we
can," said the governor. "The certified Maine lobster program protects our
reputation as having the best tasting lobster in the world."
"This is to help the guys that pull in
the traps, the middleman, the restaurants, and the lucky guy that in the end gets to eat
it," said Bob Putnam, a lobster harvester from Chebeague Island.
"Were protecting the jobs of the
lobstermen, their families and the people that depend on them for industry and commerce,
because were making sure that the lobsters being consumed are certified Maine
lobsters," said Governor Baldacci. "Maine means value. By putting it together
with lobsters, we are enhancing the value and protection of that resource. Its about
protecting a traditional Maine industry a way of life."
The new marketing strategy should also
encourage more entrepreneurs to package and prepare Maine lobsters in Maine.
Emily helps the governor unload trout
into a fish tank at the Embden hatchery where bond funds brought improvements. Anglers
bring in over $300 million to ME yearly.
In November, 2005, Governor Baldacci
reopened the Embden Fish Hatchery. The redesigned hatchery will produce roughly four times
as many fish as the old facility. Thats 100,000 pounds of trout and landlocked
salmon a year.
"The bond passed in 2002 has provided
for the improvements to this facility. Investing in our natural resources improves our
economy," said the governor.
The increase of fish in Maines lakes
and streams that have been raised at hatcheries around the state encourages anglers to
"That increase will help sustain our
environment, keep anglers happy, and boost tourism," said Inland Fisheries and
Wildlife Commissioner Roland D. Martin. "This is an area that is poised for
According to a University of Maine study,
anglers have an economic impact of over $300 million a year.
When the governor came to office, the
salmon aquaculture industry in Washington County and elsewhere was in decline, caused by
low prices, a number of environmental issues that companies had gotten into, and a fish
Since then Cooke Agriculture has acquired a
number of agricultural sites in the state and has invested over $25 million in
redeveloping and reactivating those sites, which is creating jobs in rural areas.
Cooke Agriculture has revitalized the
Oquossoc hatchery in Rangeley, which was slated for closure, they recently acquired the
necessary environmental permits to continue operating the hatchery in Washington County
and they invested in the Bingham hatchery.
Cooke now has ten operational aquaculture
sites stocked with salmon in the Eastport and Machiasport areas. The company said that by
fall it will have introduced more than 3 million smolt into its salmon farms.
In September Cooke announced it will invest
$60 million in stocking salmon in Maine waters over the next 18 months, creating more jobs
for the aquaculture industry. Governor Baldacci was at the Washington County Community
Colleges Marine Trades Center when the New Brunswick company made the announcement.
"This company was named one of the top
50 best managed companies in Canada. This company is committed to the resource, to this
region, and to the state of Maine," said the governor. "We couldn't have a
Early on, the governor developed a good
working relationship with Cooke and has visited their facilities in Nova Scotia. Cooke
Aquaculture is the only company currently farming salmon in the state.
"Cooke is looking to build up the volume of salmon
being raised in Maine in order to reopen the processing facilities. Their investment in
Maine will bring employment levels in the aquaculture industry in Washington County back
where they should be," said Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development
Jack Cashman. "In time they will be the largest employer in Washington County."
governor talks with the Cuban delegation about trade issues. The governor was on the last
trade mission to Cuba which brought in contracts for Maine agricultural products valued at
more than $20 Million.
When the governor came to office, the
dairy industry was in crisis. Milk prices had plummeted, and some farmers were thinking
about getting out of the industry. Many sought help from the state government. Instead of
applying a quick fix, the governor decided to take the needed time to develop a
sustainable plan for Maines dairy industry.
"The governor found money in a very
tight budget to tide dairy farmers over for several months while his Dairy Task Force
developed a comprehensive set of initiatives that would have the benefit of providing a
long-term support for the dairy industry," said Dick Davis, senior policy advisor to
the governor. "As a result we came up with a tiered dairy subsidy program that has
been implemented and funded. It has become the envy of the dairy industry throughout the
county. Now, Maines dairy industry is stabilized. There are resources flowing into
dairy farmers pockets, and new dairy farms are being established in the state, in
places like Washington County."
Various agricultural initiatives promote
buying local food, publicizing farmers markets, getting local restaurants and hotels
to buy locally grown foods and Made in Maine specialty products. The states Get Real
Get Maine program promotes how buying locally helps community, saves transportation
costs, and enhances the "Maine experience" for visitors to the state.
The Maine Restaurant Association promotes
the Maine Menu Month, building awareness among residents and tourists of locally raised
food and restaurants featuring them.
A new law directs the states
agricultural department to help expand the use of local food in schools and government.
A $1 million bond that passed last November
will help farmers build ponds and other irrigation sources. Access to water sources has
been a major issue for farmers.
Maine agricultural products are being sold
internationally. Export deals worth $20 million came out of trade missions to Cuba, with
dairy cattle, potatoes, maple syrup, and wood products.
Baldacci at the celebration for the state-of-the-art greenhouse in Madison. The potential
to grow fresh vegetables year round in Maine could revolutionize the industry in the
Because of the governors Pine Tree
Zone benefits, a major state-of-the-art 24-acre greenhouse was erected in Madison. The US
Functional Foods facility will initially employ 74 people, and grow tomatoes year round
for the New England market. High-tech greenhouses like this one potentially could become
the norm for Maines agricultural business. "Maine could become the breadbasket
of the Northeast," said Jack Cashman, commissioner of the Department of Economic
Land Preservation & Land for Maine's Future
In three years Maine completed land
conservation projects totaling more than 750,000 acres. "Governor Baldacci has done
more than any other governor for the environment since Percival Baxter," stated
Commissioner of the Department of Conservation, Patrick McGowan.
"The Land for Maines Future
projects represent strategic investments in Maines economic future while conserving
our natural heritage," stated the governor. "These conserved lands are a part of
the states economic infrastructure. Tourism businesses depend on conservation
efforts. We protect livelihoods when we protect our land."
In 1987, when the people of Maine strongly
voiced their desire for the state to designate Maines places of natural beauty and
historic value as a public trust for everyone to enjoy, Commissioner McGowan and Governor
Baldacci were serving in Maines Legislature. Due to changing land use and
development, Maine was at risk of losing these areas of natural beauty, its cultural
heritage and economic vitality. Answering the peoples request, the Land for
Maines Future (LMF) program was enacted into law.
Last November voters approved $12 million
to replenish the Land for Maines Future program. The LMF seal of approval and
funding helps to ensure philanthropic support. By requiring at least a one-third match of
private funds for the public funds expended, the LMF program has successfully leveraged
more than $50 million from other sources, including private and federal dollars, for other
projects. LMF has protected close to 200,000 acres.
The Machias River Project is a great
example of how the program works. The Conservation Fund was able to purchase nearly 7,700
acres from International Paper for more than $6.8 million, in Downeast Maine, because they
were working with the Department of Conservation and the LMF program.
This land is part of the Machias
River Project which protects 45,000 acres and 250 miles of lake, river, and stream
shoreline with LMF.
"This project demonstrates the
incredible power of partnerships," said Larry Selzer, president of the Conservation
Fund, whose land acquisition will protect the headwaters of the Machias River, preserving
the rivers recreational value, salmon habitat, and 11 rare plant and animal species,
while ensuring that the surrounding working forest remains productive.
"Conservation of areas such as this is
key to continued growth in the outdoor recreation economy, while also providing jobs in
the forest products industry," said Baldacci.
The Katahdin Lake Project is a boon for
ecotourism while protecting Maines natural treasure for future generations. It all
started when on a visit to Katahdin Governor Baldacci looked out at the view and was taken
by its splendor. Most people who have visited Baxter State Park will tell of its
awe-inspiring power. "All of this has to be preserved for all the people of
Maine," said the governor, giving Commissioner Patrick McGowan his mission. After
three years of work, the right elements came together for a land purchase.
Over 4,019 acres surrounding Katahdin Lake
will be owned and managed by Baxter State Park, while allowing hunting on 2,000 northern
acres that will be owned by the people of Maine and managed by the Maine Department of
Conservation. The land has some trees that are up to 200 years old that were destined to
be harvested, but now have been saved for future generations to marvel at.
"The Katahdin Lake Project has been my
number-one conservation initiative and the commissioner and staff at the Department of
Conservation have devoted countless hours working with our conservation partners, Maine
residents, and the Legislature to complete Percival Baxters dream," said
The governor gives the first pen
from his bill to preserve Katahdin Lake to a Representative's daughter
"We put in easements, clarified access
for hunting and snowmobiling, keeping the intrinsic wilderness of the park, protecting
wildlife, and incorporated sustainable forest management. It was collaboration across
party lines, working with community members and industry," said Rep. John Piotti who
worked tirelessly to get the governors bill passed. "It really shows state
government working as it should, listening to concerns and finding solutions, so that we
all can benefit. This was too big a deal not to get it right."
"This is the most important conservation
project in Maine since Governor Baxter purchased the lands around Mount Katahdin,"
said McGowan. "For the state of Maine, this has been a once-in-a-century
Since Governor Baldacci took
office, a number of landscape-scale conservation projects have been completed. Here are a
The Forest Society of
Maines West Branch project protects more than 300,000 acres north of Moosehead Lake.
Governor Baldacci was cochairman of this effort, which began while he was in the U.S.
The Downeast Lakes Forestry
Partnership is a grassroots conservation effort begun by the citizens of the Grand Lake
Stream area. Their work will protect more than 300,000 acres in Washington County.
Governor Baldacci brought
together the Appalachian Mountain Club and International Paper to negotiate and complete
the AMCs Katahdin Iron Works Conservation Project. This effort will protect nearly
100,000 acres in central Maine, while allowing for continued wood harvesting for
Maines paper industry.