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New Report:
Rediscovering Forgotten Asset: Trails for the 21st Century 2008
(executive summary PDF)
Rediscovering Forgotten Asset: Trails for the 21st Century 2008
(methodology report PDF- 1.5mg)

The aim of this project was to develop a model by which small towns and rural areas can more easily identify and develop off-road walking and biking facilities in order to generate a favorable “social climate” for increased physical activity and connection to the natural environment.

The study encompassed the river communities along the lower Kennebec River from Augusta to Bowdoinham and three communities in the Cobbosseecontee Lakes region. The 14 communities that form this region include: Augusta, Hallowell, Farmingdale, Gardiner, Richmond, Dresden, Bowdoinham, Chelsea, Randolph, Pittston, Dresden, Manchester, Winthrop, and Monmouth. The Lower Kennebec River region of Maine is not usually thought of as having significant potential for hiking and biking. An earlier mapping project by the Friends of the Kennebec River Rail Trail (Lower Kennebec River Trails Inventory, completed in January, 2005) suggested otherwise for that study found 125 miles of trails or corridors that might have potential as trails. The Mainewatch Institute’s project built upon that earlier work and looked more intensely at what resources may exist in this area.

Energy for Maine's Future: A Call for Leadership. 2002 (.6MG PDF)
This report, produced by the Mainewatch Institute in partnership with the Natural Resources Council of Maine and the Maine Center for Economic Policy, proposes a strategy for regaining Maine's lost leadership on energy issues. It includes recommendations for the most important actions that should be included in a high profile energy initiative pursued by Maine's Governor and Legislature and implemented statewide. The report is intended to spur Maine's political, business, and community leaders to embrace a common vision of a sustainable energy system, and to take steps to turn that vision into a reality.

Funding Forest Certification. 2001 (56k PDF)
There is a growing niche market for wood products that come from environmentally certified forests. Certification programs measure current forest management practices against a set of environmental management standards. According to forest certification organizations, small landowners face higher per acre costs for forest certification due to economies of size. This study, jointly sponsored by the Mainewatch Institute and the Maine Center for Economic Policy, ascertains the likely market reactions to a tax/subsidy program to support forest certification for Maine's smaller landowners. The study was funded by the W. Alton Jones Foundation in their interest to advance tax shifts that improve environmental quality.

State Initiatives for Clean Energy Development. 2001 (1.6MG PDF)
As a result of energy policies in the 1980s, in 2000 Maine derived a greater proportion of its electricity from clean renewable energy sources than any other state. However, both existing clean energy generators, as well as future generation using clean renewable energy resources are under threat from a combination of cost-related factors that place their generation at significant disadvantage to generation that uses more traditional sources of fuel. This study, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, was undertaken to help preserve the benefits of clean energy development in Maine by identifying policy and market options that support the production of energy from clean energy sources.

An Analysis of Maine/Canada Trade with Policy Recommendations. January 1995 (2.9MG PDF)
Maine's level of trade with Canada has not been broadly analyzed beyond the general opinion that more is better. What market sectors are currently seeing the most activity and why? Why is there a trade imbalance, and what initiatives should be undertaken to increase Maine manufacturing exports to Canadian provinces? This study analyzes Maine's level and type of trade with Canada as compared to other states, explores the real and perceived barriers to increased trade, and presents clear recommendations to increase the level of export of Maine manufactured goods.

Energy Choices Revisited: An Examination of the Costs and Benefits of Maine Energy Policy. 1994 (4.9MG PDF)
In the late 1970's, Maine led the nation in adopting policies to increase energy efficiency and to shift the state's reliance from oil to renewable and indigenous energy sources. Little more than a decade later, much controversy surrounds the effects these policies had in determining Maine's current energy sources and the costs paid by Maine utilities and ratepayers. Mainewatch undertook an objective analysis of the economic and environmental impacts resulting from these energy conservation programs. In particular, it explored the power purchases from independent power producers by Maine utilities in response to Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) rulings. This study was funded by the U.S. Department of energy, the Energy Foundation (a partnership of the Catherine T. and John D. MacArthur Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trust) and other private sources. It is being made available through both the Mainewatch Institute and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Families and Forests: Improving Prosperity through the Secondary Wood Products Industry in the Western Mountains of Maine. 1992 (1.1MG PDF)
In the Western Mountain Region of Maine (Oxford, Somerset, and Piscataquis Counties), the forest dominates the physical, historical, and economic landscapes. Although paper production accounts for most of the wood-cased economy, there also exists a significant secondary wood products industry made up of manufacturing enterprises that add value to lumber, either through completed wood products or wooden components. This study evaluates the pressures facing this secondary wood-products industry and outlines methods of improvising long-term prospects for this industry. Funding or in-kind support was provided by the Aspen Institute for Rural Resources and Poverty; The Betterment Fund; Coastal Enterprises, Inc.; Western Mountain Alliance; and the University of Maine.

Green Development, Balancing Development with Conservation: Nine Case Studies of Rural Subdivisions. 1992 (2MG PDF)
This report shows, by example, how attractive and profitable residential subdivision development can be achieved in rural areas while helping to conserve open space in the community. It explores general principles of 'good development' and discusses why planning for open space makes economic sense. Through case studies, it shows how a balance can be achieved among aesthetic, social, environmental, and financial considerations of development projects. Funding was provided by the Island Foundation, Inc.; Richard Rockefeller; the Sprague foundation, The Maine Community Foundation, The McCue Family fund, Maine Tomorrow; and the Davis Foundation. Green Development was distributed to every municipality in Maine for use as a planning tool, and has also been ordered by over 50 communities throughout the United States.

The Western Mountains of Maine: Toward Balanced Growth.1989 (12MG PDF)
The Maine Western Mountains project was organized in early 1987. The goal of the project was the design and implementation of a practical, appropriate and sustainable growth strategy to improve job opportunities for the people of the region and, at the same time, to protect and enhance their exceptional history, culture and natural resources in a time of rapid and often dramatic changes. This report describes the broad stakeholder-driven process used to arrive at its recommendations, and outlines a balanced growth strategy for the region.

Maine's Forest Economy: Crisis or Opportunity? 1988 (2.3MG PDF)
The future of much of Maine's natural diversity depends on health and renewable forest ecosystems. This study defines the most critical problems and the most promising opportunities affecting the future of Maine's forest economy into the 21st century. In particular, it identifies critical information gaps and recommends a policy and research agenda. Out of this study came the recommendation to evaluate ways to expand the secondary wood products sector in Maine's Western Mountains. The Families and Forests publication noted above resulted from this recommendation. Funding for Maine's Forest Economy was provided by The Betterment Fund and the Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust.

Widening the Maine Turnpike: The Case for a Management Alternative. 1988 (3.6MG PDF)
The Maine turnpike authority proposed a major widening of the southern section of the Maine turnpike that would be one of the most expensive public works projects in Maine's history. This report reviews the justification for and alternatives to the Authority's $63 million proposal, explores previously unaddressed environmental impacts, and recommends a management approach as a viable alternative to addressing infrequent traffic congestion. This report, funded by a grant from Maine Times, resulted in a dramatic shift in the way transportation policy is managed in Maine. More specifically, it led to a statewide referendum where voters rejected the Turnpike expansion.

Evaluation of Plans to Widen the Maine Turnpike. 1988 (.9MG PDF)
This report is a compendium of letters, press releases, and written testimony by the Mainewatch Institute on the proposal to widen the Maine Turnpike. Published two years after Mainewatch's Widening the Maine Turnpike publication, it illuminates both strengths and weaknesses not only of the proposal itself, but also of the way in which the project was developed and evaluated.







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Mainewatch Institute,
Forrest Bell

97A Exchange Street , Suite 305
Portland , ME 04101