The Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust is pleased to announce that is has received a grant from The Onion Foundation for the Maine A.T. 2020 program! The program, aimed at empowering Maine’s A.T. stakeholders, local communities, kids, the public and more through outreach and an ecological report, highlights the Appalachian Trail area is the last great wild space in the entire Eastern United States. The portion running through Maine is the most significant – for ecological value, as a climate corridor, as a refugia for
species adapting to climate change, as a recreational destination, and as the last wild place east of the Rockies.
By giving local communities here in Maine the tools they need to leverage this landscape, we are looking towards outcomes of local economic development based on a recreation resource, revitalization of communities around Maine’s A.T., increased health of people and landscape in era of changing climate, and a fostering of a culture of stewardship and environmental awareness which Maine’s A.T. landscape needs.
The Onion Foundation is a private philanthropic foundation based in Maine with a mission is to encourage conservation and stewardship of the natural environment and to promote music and the arts in the state of Maine.
The Maine A.T. Land Trust is excited to unveil this program with the help of The Onion Foundation. This landscape of the Maine North Woods is recognized as of international importance but until recently, the A.T. was considered just a trail for long-distance hikers. It was not looked at as a conservation corridor, or as a contiguous wild greenway, or as an area where local economic development initiatives could take root and increase opportunity and prosperity for communities nearby, based on the outdoor recreation economy.
The Maine Appalachian Trail landscape is now under threat from multiple sectors: real estate development, climate change, energy transmission infrastructure, over-exploitation of natural resources, loss of public access, diminished natural resource quality, decline in water quality, fragmentation of the landscape, loss of species habitat, loss of biodiversity, loss of the great natural beauty and sense of remoteness that embodies the forests of Maine. The Maine A.T. 2020 Wild East campaign comes at a critical moment and with grants like this one from The Onion Foundation we can help this landscape!