Heritage Fund Grants Go To Great Outdoor Projects

From a great project that connects kids to wildlife and our outdoor heritage, to establishing access to important waters, the most recent grants awarded by Maine’s Outdoor Heritage Fund were wonderful reminders of how important this program is.

Here are 4 of the 15 projects that won grants in this round of funding.

Connecting Kids with Wildlife: $15,000 for The Wildlife Habitat Education Program, a hands-on natural resource program dedicated to teaching wildlife and fisheries habitat management to students (ages 8-19) across the country. This project will kickstart WHEP in Maine and provide scholarships for Maine students to attend the 2018 National Competition.

Interpreting Wildlife & Working Forest at River Pond Nature Trails and Observation Area – a $17,000 grant to the Katahdin Tourism Partnership for placing interpretive signs along the 5.2 miles of trails, a new kiosk at the trailhead, and make improvements to the parking area at River Pond Nature Trails & Observation Area on the Golden Road 15 miles northwest of Millinocket and just a few miles south of Baxter State Park’s main entrance.

Establishing Public Coastal Access to Woodward Cove, Brunswick – a $10,600 grant to the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust to construct both a water access trail for wormers, clammers, and hand carry boats and a trail network on their recently acquired Woodward Cove property. This will provide both recreational and commercial access to the highly productive waters of Woodward Cove.

Investing in the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine’s Youth Conservation and Recreational Shooting Programs – an $8,500 grant to further build SAM’s youth programs. SAM will develop risk assessment plans for their partners at the American Legion and all of SAM’s shooting ranges, and begin developing a youth mentoring area on their newly acquired 40 acre woodlot in Augusta.

I’m especially proud of the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund because it was my idea. MOHF conserves wildlife and open spaces through the sale of instant, scratch lottery tickets. With proceeds from ticket sales, grants are awarded twice a year, totaling approximately $700,000 annually. Grant application deadlines are March 1 and September 1 of each year.

The seven-member Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund Board chooses projects in four categories that promote conservation of Maine’s fish and wildlife habitat, acquisition and management of special places, endangered species, and conservation law enforcement.

Summary application forms for the spring MOHF grant application round will be due Feb 1. If you are interested in applying for a grant, please refer to the MOHF website. If you have any questions, contact Carol Gay at 207-458-8421


MOHF History


One late June in the mid-1990s, after a frustrating legislative session in which we failed to get funding for some important conservation projects, I was up to our north woods camp fishing, thinking about that. And I decided we needed a new funding source for conservation projects.

The SAM board endorsed that idea and I took it to Maine Audubon which partnered with us on the initiative. We took a poll to find out what funding source the public preferred, and what programs and projects they would like to fund with that money, and then we prepared the initiative and collected signatures to put it on the referendum ballot.

We won the support of Governor Angus King, and were surprised and delighted when the legislature enacted it instead of sending it to the ballot, only the second time that had ever happened,

Sally Stockwell of Maine Audubon and I served on the board of the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund for the first ten years, one of the best jobs I ever had. The Fund has awarded more than $20 million in grants to conservation and outdoor recreation projects.

The current MOHF lottery ticket features big bucks. Buy some now! Even if you don’t win, we all win with this ticket.




George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.