PORTLAND, Maine — A conservation organization that’s played a role in some of Maine’s most far-reaching and pioneering laws is marking its 50th anniversary this week.

The Natural Resources Council of Maine was formed in 1959 as a collaboration of several other conservation and sporting groups. It marks its 50th year of activism on Thursday.

Bill Townsend, who joined the council as a young Skowhegan lawyer just after its founding, told the Portland Press Herald that says Maine might look a lot different today if it had not been for the NCRM.

Over the years, the group has been involved in passing laws from a ban on billboards in 1969 to a light bulb-recycling program enacted this spring.