We have a lot to lose
We can see the effects of increasing fragmentation across the region. We are losing farms and farmers, logging is more difficult with decreasing lot sizes, and hikers, hunters and snowmobilers encounter challenges gaining access to land. As fewer jobs tie us to the land and we have fewer opportunities to connect with nature, unbroken landscape becomes more vulnerable and more precious.
It’s clear that people who live in the Northern Appalachian/Acadia region have a deep appreciation for the landscape and wildlife it supports. We like to get outside! Forty-nine percent of Maine residents, 44% of New Hampshire residents, 33% of Massachusetts residents, and 33% of New York residents participate in wildlife recreation, which includes hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching). Vermont ranks third in the nation with a participation rate of 62%! (2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation).
Just as wildlife survival is threatened by habitat fragmentation, so is our enjoyment of the region.
In Our Hands
Working farms and forestland, private woodlots, camps and properties with frontage on lakes and streams offer many opportunities to maintain and enhance local connectivity. And when land changes hands there can be opportunities for conservation either through outright purchase or easement for the most critical parcels to extend and connect habitats and landscape. Working with landowners to conserve farm and forestland and working with Towns to incorporate wildlife and habitat connectivity into Town plans and regulations, are two important elements of the Staying Connected Initiative.