Environment and Outdoors

Environmental news

Nearly 18,000 acres of forested land in Hancock and Washington counties have been acquired by the Virginia-based Conservation Fund.

Tom Duffus, vice-president and northeast representative of the group, said Wednesday that the land will be conveyed to several Maine conservation groups once they have raised the money to purchase the parcels. The spokesperson said the acquisition will protect wildlife habitat, ensure future recreational access, and support the economies of nearby coastal communities.

Conservation Group Acquires Nearly 18,000 Acres Of Forest In Coastal Maine

May 2, 2018
Courtesy The Conservation Fund / via Bangor Daily News

A Virginia-based group has acquired three forested properties totaling nearly 17,900 acres in Hancock and Washington counties. The Conservation Fund acquired the properties on Tuesday from H.C. Haynes, Inc., a forestry company based in the Penobscot County town of Winn.

Proposal To Review Canada's Right Whale Protections Gets Chilly Reception

May 1, 2018

PORTLAND, Maine - A group of Democratic senators says the U.S. government should audit the job Canada is doing to protect endangered whales.
The senators, led by Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, cite the dire status of North Atlantic right whales as a reason to put some pressure on Canada. The right whales number only about 450 and suffered through a year of 17 deaths in 2017, and 12 of the deaths were in Canada.

Backcountry Skiing Thrives As Spring Arrives In Northeast

May 1, 2018
Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

BARTLETT, N.H. - A group of backcountry skiers is working to expand the sport in parts of northern New Hampshire and western Maine.
The Granite Backcountry Alliance recently received approval from the U.S. Forest Service to develop and maintain ski trails in the White Mountain National Forest on sections of Bartlett Mountain and Baldface Mountain.
Last summer, Granite Backcountry worked with the town of Randolph to open up about 75 acres of glades on Crescent Ridge.

Paul Cyr / via Maine.gov

AUGUSTA, Maine - Authorities in Maine are warning people not to leave food out in their yards and risk attracting hungry black bears as they come out of hibernation.
Jen Vashon, a biologist for the state's wildlife department, says that bear complaints could be higher than usual this year thanks to the delayed spring weather. She says the department has already investigated 27 complaints so far this spring.
Vashon says natural food for bears is scarcest this time of year, so some may venture into people's backyards looking for something to eat.

Federal regulators are reviewing the health of sea scallops in the Atlantic Ocean to get a better handle on the status of the valuable shellfish.

Sea scallops are among the most valuable wild-harvested seafood products in the U.S. They were worth more than $485 million at the docks in 2016, a year in which fishermen harvested more than 40 million pounds of them.

Pat Wellenbach / AP Photo

Although some of us are still recovering from the winter or dreading another nor’easter, spring has officially started in Maine. As temperatures rise, many have already begun looking for a way to get outside and celebrate the outdoors. Luckily, Maine has no shortage of outdoor attractions, and many are accessible to those with limited mobility and people with disabilities.

Members of the Municipal Review Committee (MRC) said Wednesday that it will work with communities that are uncomfortable with an interim plan to temporarily send their municipal solid waste to a landfill until the new Hampden Fiberight plant is operational.

Blue Hill Selectman Jim Schatz said his town, and several others that use Blue Hill's transfer station, are sending their trash to the waste-incinerating Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. because they didn't sign up for a landfill when they joined the MRC.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press File

It has been 18 months since former President Barack Obama designated the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in northern Maine — but there are still no road signs to direct interested visitors where to go or how to get there.

R.W. Estela

Rather than have their solid waste dumped in a landfill, five coastal towns have chosen to violate their contracts and instead send their waste to the Penobscot Energy Recovery Company.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

First it was April, then July, now the partners in the Fiberight biofuel solid waste processing plant in Hampden say the facility may not be ready to open until late September. The delay is forcing more than 100 communities in central and eastern Maine to temporarily send their waste to two landfills. Some critics are now questioning whether that approach is even legal.

Allied Whale, College of the Atlantic

A dead humpback whale is floating in a Lubec cove. Scientists are eager to find the cause of its demise, as the discovery comes at a time of increasing mortality rates for the species.


Bowdoin College says the school has become entirely carbon neutral, meaning the school has a net zero carbon footprint.

The announcement comes two years ahead of the school's goal to reduce its net carbon dioxide emissions to zero.

The Lewiston Sun Journal reports College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor and Colby College have already achieved that goal. Bates is set to follow suit.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the nine-state carbon-pricing program known as RGGI, has continued to bolster Northeast economies even as its environmental goals grew more ambitious, according to the latest three-year report on RGGI by the Analysis Group.

The report was commissioned by a group of charities and environmental foundations that wants to show whether the nearly decade-old program is working. Co-author Sue Tierney says RGGI has now put $4 billion back into its nine participating states’ economies.

Northeast Farmers Say Fruit Trees Safe From Late-Spring Frost

Apr 17, 2018
Dean Morley / Flickr/Creative Commons

The ice and snow between Sunday and Monday will apparently not do widespread damage to the region’s fruit-tree crop. That’s according to Timothy Smith, who runs Apex Orchards, a 35-acre apple, peach and pear farm in Shelburne, Massachusetts.