AUGUSTA — Projects in Searsmont and Orland/Bucksport are among 20 new Land for Maine’s Future conservation projects across Maine that conserve lands and preserve public access to lakes, rivers, scenic views, and mountain vistas for Maine people.

With the selection of these projects, the Land for Maine’s Future Board has now approved a total of 25 new projects in the last year, according to an announcement from the Governor’s Office, thanks to $40 million in new state funding through the biennial budget. Additional projects focused on conserving working lands are expected to receive funding later this year.

Of the 20 projects announced June 6 and totaling $5.06 million, one third of the applications came from municipalities — including Fryeburg, North Berwick, Owls Head, Portland, Searsmont and Windham — for the conservation of recreation areas. Four projects — in Ellsworth, Fryeburg, Machiasport and Oxford — are located adjacent to or near public schools, delivering opportunities for nature-based learning and outdoor recreation. These LMF projects are expected to leverage more than $8 million in matching federal funds.

The McLellan property, a 63.9-acre parcel in Searsmont, is a fee acquisition by the town of Searsmont, creating trails and water access in the Searsmont village adjacent to municipal buildings and includes approximately 1,200 feet of Georges River frontage.

The Great Pond Mountain Wildlands Expansion, a 501-acre parcel in Orland and Bucksport in Hancock County is a fee acquisition by Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust, expanding the existing 4,230-acre Great Pond Mountain Wildlands and including an undeveloped shoreline on the Dead River.

The Land for Maine’s Future Program is the state’s primary method of conserving land for its natural and recreational value. The program was established in 1987 when Maine citizens approved a bond to fund $35 million to purchase land and easements. The program’s priority is to conserve Maine landscape, recognizing that working lands and public access to these lands is critical to preserving Maine’s quality of life.

Since then, LMF has conserved nearly 604,000 acres of land, more than half of which — 333,425 acres — has been working lands. This work includes 41 farms and 9,755 acres of farmlands and 26 commercial working waterfront properties, 1,272 miles of shorelines of rivers, lakes, and ponds, 58 miles of coastline, and 158 miles of former railroad corridors for recreational trails.

The fund was nearly depleted before the $40 million infusion from the biennial budget. For more information on the Land for Maine Future program, visit maine.gov/dacf/lmf/index.shtml.