Franklin Countys First News

Maine land trusts do pay taxes

RANGELEY - In his Jan. 10 radio address, Governor LePage claimed that Land Trusts in Maine take properties off the tax rolls. Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust pays taxes on our properties, both those we own, and on the conservation easements we hold. Almost 95 percent of land trust properties in Maine are on the tax rolls and most also pay Maine’s forestry excise tax.

RLHT is committed to providing public access to the lands we steward for the public, and to working with our community partners to develop the Rangeley Lakes Region economy. Most land trusts share this approach. We proudly join with other land trusts to open more than 90 percent of our total acreage to hunting.

A recent survey of 70 Maine land trusts conducted by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust arrived at the following recreational assets open to the public:

2.3 million acres open to hunting
1260 miles of hiking trails
570 miles of snowmobile trails
203 boat launch sites

In addition, we proudly work within our community. For more than 20 years RLHT has worked to get our children outside and ensure that local students attend our summer EcoVenture program regardless of their financial situation. We contract with local licensed professional foresters and logging professionals to apply world-class forestry management practices to our properties. We train our nearly 100 volunteers to monitor the health of our region’s waterbodies annually. Lastly, we own and operate our social enterprise, Cupsuptic Lake Park and Campground which provides front and backcountry camping opportunities for everyone.

We, at Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust, invite you to enjoy the trails and waters we are fortunate enough to call home.

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5 Responses »

  1. Without proper disclosure - this "news article" was submitted by the RLHT - the DB is doing a great disservice to its readers. Why not provide attribution?

    Notwithstanding that, LePage's argument is ill-informed. Oftentimes, "...large and wealthy non-profits, such as hospitals and colleges," compensate municipalities with in-kind payments. As an aside, using "wealthy" and "hospital" in the same sentence is an oxymoron if ever there was one. The text of his brief remarks on the topic can be found here:

    http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=Gov_Radio_Addresses&id=775730&v=article

  2. Thank you Frank.

  3. You are welcome, "pajama people."

    As an aside, the RLHT's argument that "...almost 95% land trust properties in Maine are on the tax rolls and most also pay Maine’s forestry excise tax," is worthy of further comment. Not sure about the being on the "tax rolls," but as far as excise tax, consider the following:

    The Commercial Forestry Excise Tax (CFET) is imposed on owners of more than 500 acres of commercial forest land. The kicker is that rate is a whopping $0.28 cents an acre. While I wholeheartedly support the RLHT in their efforts to conserve land, that should not try to swing public sentiment in a disingenuous way. That only serves to weaken their position.

  4. Let's get back to the point:

    The public should be made aware that land trust do often choose to pay taxes on conserved lands.
    RLHT chooses to pay property taxes on their conservation properties, just like any other land owner.
    Additionally, RLHT aslo chooses to pay the Forestry Excise Tax.

    There is a widely held perception that land trust do not have to pay taxes but nearly 95% land trusts do. RLHT simply put this press release out there to acknowledge that misunderstanding and to enlighten the public.

    We'd love an opportunity to clear up any misunderstanding you may have. Please call us (207) 864-7311.

  5. Editor's Note: This article has been moved out of Outdoors and into Opinion.

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