The Island Trail The Newsletter of the Maine Island Trail Association • Fall 2004
MITA Moves on Up
Legislature Imperils Land Conservation
New East End Location for Portland Office After nearly 15 years perched above a lobster pound on Commercial Street’s Union Wharf, MITA’s Portland office has moved east down the peninsula to spacious new digs in the Portland Company Marine Complex on Fore Street. The new location offers more room and a more professional atmosphere, while also providing a savings on overhead. “At the same time we were looking to rein in costs, we received this unexpected offer of beautiful, affordable space further down on the waterfront, “ says executive director Karen Stimpson. “The look and feel are much more reflective of where we are today as an organization and the image we want to project for the future.” As any visitor to the Union Wharf office can attest, the old space did not lack for character, but its ramshackle saltiness was increasingly less suited to our maturing operation. “The sights and smells of a fishing wharf—not to mention the language you often hear—were not ideal for the kind of business we do on a day-to-day basis,” says business manager Jeannie Smith. “Especially when it came to fundraising, the image we projected was ‘start-up,’ and this did not square with the large financial commitments we are asking people to make in support of the islands.” The new office will retain the same maritime essence that has always infused our operation, but it will do so with a slightly different flavor. Just downstairs from us are the offices of Navigator Publishing, publishers of Ocean Navigator and Professional Mariner magazines, as well the Maine Marine Training Institute, a marine licensing school. Meanwhile, just across the way inside the complex are Portland Yacht Services and various other boatyard businesses; RippleEffect, a kayaking and outdoor education non-profit; and the Eastern Promenade trail, a mixed-use path developed and maintained by Portland Trails, a fellow supporter of public access to the outdoors. Many members will know the new locale as home to the Maine BoatBuilders Show, an annual event where MITA fields an exhibit booth. We are planning an open house at the coming show, which is scheduled to take place March 18, 19, & 20, 2005. We also invite members to stop in for our holiday pot luck and open house, which will take place December 9 from 6 to 9 p.m. (continued on page 5)
Land for Maine’s Future—protecting our coast for future generations. The Maine legislature dealt a serious blow to land conservation efforts earlier this year by voting down a proposed $20 million bond package to fund the Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) program. Funds from LMF have helped purchase and guarantee public access to hundreds of thousands of acres, including numerous coastal waterfront properties and islands. Now that LMF is out of money, new LMF-funded coastal conservation efforts will have to be put on hold until 2006 at least. In the mean time, it seems certain that some once-in-alifetime conservation opportunities—including, perhaps, some potential new Trail sites—will be lost to development. (continued on page 5)
In This Issue
The new Portland office reception area.
The view from the new office window as a cruise ship departs.
Time for Belt-Tighening ................... 2 Annual Appeal ................................... 6 Butter Island Biography ................... 8 Intertidal Intrigue ....................... 12-13
FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Time for Belt-Tightening by Karen Stimpson
STAFF Karen Stimpson • firstname.lastname@example.org Executive Director Peg Deutsch • email@example.com Membership Manager Amy Kersteen • firstname.lastname@example.org Stewardship Programs Manager Kevin Lomangino • email@example.com Newsletter Editor Sid Quarrier Project Coordinator Joanie Rhoda • firstname.lastname@example.org Membership Database Manager Jeannie Smith • email@example.com Business Manager Drew Wyman • firstname.lastname@example.org Executive Assistant & Office Manager The Maine Island Trail is a 325-mile long waterway extending from Casco Bay on the west to Machias Bay on the east. Along the route, state-owned and private islands are available to members or the public for overnight stopovers where one can picnic or camp in a wilderness setting. The Maine Island Trail Association (MITA) is a nonprofit conservation organization, whose goal is to establish a model of thoughtful use and volunteer stewardship for the Maine islands that will assure their conservation in a natural state while providing an exceptional recreational asset that is maintained and cared for by the people who use it. This goal is achieved by encouraging a philosophy of low-impact use and environmental awareness among MITA’s members and island visitors.
MAINE ISLAND TRAIL ASSOCIATION Mailing Address: P.O. Box C, Rockland, Maine 04841-0735 Office Locations: 328 Main Street, Rockland, Maine 04841 (207) 596-6456 • email@example.com 58 Fore Street, Building 30, 3rd Floor Portland, ME 04101 (207) 761-8225 • firstname.lastname@example.org www.mita.org
After several years of strong growth, pushed in Editing large part by MITA’s publicaincreased use of the tionsislands for theand past Trail two years has enabled by significant 2004 has been a beengrant a funfunding, and creative process year of belt-tightening here at MITA. that I have thoroughly enjoyed. Proponents of organizational effiMy other as a medical ciency will career be heartened by the writer can well, a bit clinical changes thatbe, have taken place, while – those whoatareMITA eager I’ve to seefound a larger whereas Trail withthat increased MITA get presence writing I can truly pas- on the coast will have to be a little patient sionate about. Whether it’s the while we raise some more money. search foreffects new ofislands to profile As the the post-bubble, in the Guidebook, or the search post-9/11 economic downturn finally caught with us in 2003, for theup perfect boat that MITA’s we’ve Board and staff drew up a fiscally chronicled in this newsletter, my conservative budget that purposefully work at has alwaysdevelopinwould notMITA expand program volved new and interesting ment and other expenses. We did not lay off any employees, but nonetheless challenges. And at every turn I’ve had staff along members the beenthree helped by leave enthusiastic organization. We did not replace any MITA staff, members, and volunof these positions, both to help teers. our dwindling coffers and to replenish So now is probably a and good time rethink our organizational staffing structure. This process is to say thanks to all of the people ongoing and will culminate in some who have made my experience new hires in early 2005. Stay tuned. here such a rewarding Meanwhile, despite theone. leanness of Because fall, if all goesaccomas our currentthis operation, MITA’s plishments were impressive planned, I this willyear be taking an and are a testament bothMy to the extended trip abroad. wife extraordinary effort put in by the staff and I plan to spend a few months and to the tremendous volunteer in New we Zealand, support receive and fromperhaps our members othertrustees. destinations thea South and Here areinjust few of the highlights: Pacific. We hope to do plenty of • Office move: As detailed in the hiking, biking, and paddling, cover story this issue, our Portland while also sitting around in our office has moved to new waterfront shorts thinkingYacht about the winter digs at Portland Services. The benefits are extensive, and the cost of we’ll be missing in Maine. theNeedless move wasto fully subsidized by a say, I won’t be generous trustee. bringing along my laptop, so • Trail and Stewardship: We added somebody new to will editing the four new islands thebe Trail this year Guidebook andstrong The Island Trail. and have seven candidates for I next year. (By the way, generous hope to stay involved with owners have placed an average of MITA’s publications in some seven new sites on the Trail each year capacity when return,The butCasco for for the past sevenI years!) Dave Dunigan
MITA BOARD OF TRUSTEES Peter Adams, Yarmouth ME Greg Barmore, Harpswell ME • James Bildner, Boston MA • Scott Boak, Portland ME Bill Brown, Brooksville ME • Rob Cabot, Brooksville ME • Scott Camlin, Belmont MA Tony Jessen, Freeport ME • Annette Naegel, Camden ME • Patricia O’Donnell, Yarmouth ME Chuck Remmel, Portland ME • Greg Shute, Wiscasset ME • Steve Spencer, Augusta ME Natalie Springuel, Bar Harbor ME Hans Underdahl, Yarmouth ME • Rod Vogel, Cumberland ME • Jeremy Wintersteen, Boston MA Julie Wormser, Littleton MA
Bay Caretaker put in another successful season, and volunteers pitched in more than ever to help fulfill our clean-ups, monitoring visits, and adopter activities. now it seems too early to predict • Outreach and Education: Through what I’ll be doing so many the extraordinary dedication of several months down the road. individuals, we were well represented In the mean time,and theevents, beat goes at major trade shows made numerous boating on here atpresentations The Island to Trail. We groups, and received favorable press have some important announcein some 18 feature articles. Moreover, ments to make, so please read on. our preliminary efforts to reach an Editing MITA’s publications under-represented MITA constituency—yacht for the pastclub twomembers—appear years has been ato be fruit andprocess offer promise funbearing and creative that I for the future (see “MITA Reaches Out to have thoroughly enjoyed. My Cruising Community” on page 5). other careerdoaswe a medical writer So where go from here? can be,the well, a bitneeded clinical – Raising money to continue to seek new access opportuwhereas at long-term MITA I’ve found nities for that members be get a top writing I canwill truly paspriority this year. In addition, we are sionate about. Whether it’s the committed to making these access search for new islands through to profile arrangements permanent easements, partnerships, and—if in the Guidebook, or the search necessary—outright of for the perfect boatownership that we’ve property. This expansion effort will be chronicled in this newsletter, my balanced, as it has always been, by work at MITA has always inproportionate growth in our volunteer volved new and interesting stewardship service, education efforts, and management challenges. Andinterventions. at every turn I’ve We helped remain dedicated our leaderbeen along by to enthusiastic ship role in managing the state’s 48 MITA staff, members, and volunpublic islands on the Trail, and we are teers. about the challenges that we realistic is probably a good time faceSo in now this regard. The cost of implementing the recently completed 10to say thanks to all of the people year public island management plan is who have made my experience estimated at $10 million, perhaps here such a rewarding more, through 2014. Thereone. is no way Because fall,can if all goes asthis our currentthis budget shoulder kind of burden, is why planned, I willwhich be taking anwe are intensifying our search for manageextended trip abroad. My wife ment funding and have been thinking and I plan to spend a few months creatively about new ways to pay for in New this work.Zealand, and perhaps other destinations the South Many years ago a in trustee said, “MITA noble experiment that of Pacific.is aWe hope to do plenty works” ... and it is working. In 15 short hiking, biking, and paddling, years the Trail has grown from nothing while also sitting to what it is today because it is a noble and powerful idea that thousands of people support passionately. That passion remains undiminished, and will help carry us through the years ahead. ■
Explore the Islands with WoodenBoat
LETTERS Lucky Lobsterman Dear MITA, My wife Linda and I spent four spectacular days kayaking Muscongus Bay this summer and had an interesting experience that might be nice to share with other members. The trip offered a little bit of everything: strong currents; some fog; deer sightings at our campsite; beautiful sunsets; lazy afternoons sitting on the rocks with a cold beer, reading the latest Working Waterfront; hanging out with other kayakers on Crow Island watching fireworks from the surrounding shorelines; and the blood red moon rising over Friendship. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget paddling into Round Pond to find we'd arrived just in time for the Post-Fourth of July Parade Lobster Spectacular—lobster, steamers, corn and a cold drink for 15 bucks! But the real highlight of the trip began Monday morning, when I walked out on the rocks on Crow and found a wallet sitting there on the beach. After some detective work, thanks to the folks at Broad Cove Marine, we were able to reunite the wallet with the lucky lobsterman from Friendship, complete with over $200 in cash! Seems he had lost it 3 days earlier on Cranberry—8 miles away! The result was one happy lobsterman and we get free lobsters on the next trip back. It was truly a great moment in kayaker-lobsterman relations, which needless to say have not always been friendly. Dan Lacey
Like Butter Dear MITA, I am enclosing four gifts of $25 each. Here is how this came about. I offered a new class this past July at WoodenBoat School called “Island Exploration.” The high point of our
“This section deleted because it refers to private island information available only to current MITA members. To join and receive the full print version of this newsletter, call 207-596-6456 or go to www.mita.org/membership.html.”
We would like to alert members to a very interesting opportunity to advance your seamanship skills while also visiting numerous Trail islands in the Deer Isle area. The week-long “Island Exploration and Seamanship” course at the Wooden Boat School promises to be an exciting mix of instruction, adventure, and relaxation in one of the most exciting and alluring stretches of Maine’s coastline. According to the course description, students will sail the 36’ ketch Patience through Eggemoggin Reach, Jericho Bay, and Merchant’s Row while learning a variety of specialized sail handling and anchoring techniques. Under the expert tutelage of Captain Andy Oldman, students will learn to “balance the skills and demands of island navigation with the incredible rewards of time spent ashore on the islands.” For more information, see the WoodenBoat website www.woodenboat.com/ wbschool.htm or call 207-359-4651.
The 36’ Ketch Patience.
SEA KAYAKING & WHITEWATER EQUIPMENT Boats, Accessories, Tours, Instruction Home of the Sturgeon Sea Kayaks 42 Stevens Road • Bowdoinham • Maine 04008 Telephone (207) 666-8481 “On the shores of Merrymeeting Bay”
Portland Yacht Club
Poco circled their boat playfully for six The chances of seeing a beluga hours, and that when he left to follow whale, which usually are not very another boat, “We felt we had lost a good here in Maine, got quite a bit better this summer thanks to a friendly friend.” Sadly, on the day this issue went to visitor named Poco. Wandering far press, Poco fans learned that we had from his frigid home waters in the indeed lost our friend. He washed arctic, Poco was seen by boaters all ashore dead across the in South Maine Portland on coast, New November Brunswick, 16. Though and as far he bore the south as scars from Boston many a runHarbor. in with boat An propellers, account biologists from the say that Portland there was Press no cause of Herald death describes apparent his August from their jaunt initial around review. Falmouth Some in Casco speculate Bay, where Poco the friendly beluga whale. that an he nosed infectious up against disease may have been the culprit. dinghies and rubber rafts, and proIt is a somber ending to Poco’s vided hours of entertainment for otherwise remarkable and uplifting astonished onlookers. The photo of story. We can only hope that our Poco, taken in Blue Hill Bay, was companionable friend has finally generously provided by the Portland found his way back home. Yacht Club. Members there say that
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Wish List OFFICE ITEMS • Eight matching office chairs • DeLorme Maine Atlas & Gazetteers (less than 2 years old) • NOAA charts of Casco Bay, Bay of Fundy to Cape Cod (in good condition) • Desk lamps • Vacuum cleaner • Four-drawer filing cabinets • Framed art, coast/boating themed MAC SOFTWARE • Photoshop 5.5 or above • Illustrator 8 or above • Adobe Distiller 4.0 or above STEWARDSHIP SUPPLIES • Phillips and flathead screwdrivers, pliers, needle nose pliers, socket set, crescent wrench set • Boat compass • Chart kits MISCELLANEOUS • Boats, any size or type, to use or sell (proceeds support stewardship fund) • Volunteer professional proofreader to assist Guidebook Editor during February/March 2005 (need not be local)
MITA Reaches Out to Cruising Community In many ways they were the prototypical MITA members—boaters linked by a shared love of our coast and a passion for getting out on the water to see it. So when MITA gathered this distinguished group of yacht club commodores, cruising magazine publishers, boatbuilders, and marina/boat yard owners for a focus group meeting earlier this year, we were somewhat surprised to learn that not only were most of the 46 attendees not members, but several had never even heard of the organization and had no idea what MITA does. The findings point to gaps in our boater outreach efforts, but also highlight a potentially fertile ground for new member recruitment and education efforts. “This meeting confirmed what we suspected, that there is a large base of potential support that is out there waiting to be tapped,” says membership manager Peg Deutsch. “The challenge now is to reach out to the cruising community, show them what we do and why it’s important, and ask them to join in.”
Changing Perceptions Cruising boats have plied Maine’s coastal waters for hundreds of years and have long made use of the islands for hiking, picnics, and as a windbreak for protected anchorages. Perhaps because of this history of unfettered island use, cruisers traditionally have not seen the need for an organized coastal trail, and some in fact view it as a contrivance. “The reaction we often hear is, ‘Well, my family has been picnicking on this island for thirty years,’” explains executive director Karen Stimpson. “So when the Maine Island Trail came along 15 years ago, a lot of them said, ‘That’s nice, but what difference does it make to me?’” Unlike small boaters, cruising yachtsmen rarely spend the night on an island and often do not perceive the need for MITA’s work managing and maintaining campsites, cleaning
trails and shorelines, and monitoring island use. Moreover, since a good portion of the down east coast is undeveloped (and up until recently seemed likely to stay that way), many may not have seen the value of a group dedicated to seeking out and helping protect undeveloped tracts of coastal real estate. With the coastal property boom and the increasing development pressure that this is producing, however, the logic behind MITA seems more compelling. As more coastal property gets posted and as more housing begins to dot the shorelines, even infrequent island visitors want to safeguard what’s still wild. “Part of the allure of cruising the Maine coast, even if you never set foot on island, is the knowledge that you can anchor in a quiet cove and just look out at an undisturbed shoreline,” Stimpson comments. She adds that in the focus group session, participants said that they want to hand down this kind of experience to their children, and that they would welcome an organization that could help make this happen.
Steering Committee Convened MITA is making a strong case for support to the cruising community. We have already held a number of slideshow presentations at yacht clubs and are looking for more invitations. In addition, we are convening a steering committee of yachting enthusiasts to help us better connect with the cruising set. If you are interested in joining this group, please contact Drew Wyman in the Portland office, email@example.com or 761-8225. ■ In our last issue we incorrectly acknowledged a donation from member Dorothy Hopkins. We should have noted that the donation was in honor of Joanne Saunders and Robert Hopkins’ wedding. We apologize for the error.
MITA MOVES ON UP (continued from page 1)
Very special thanks are due to an anonymous trustee who foot the entire bill for the office move and transition. In addition, we would like to thank a second trustee, Greg Barmore, who outfitted the staff with brand new computer terminals (including flat screen monitors!) and the hardware for a much-needed local area network. ■ Members are welcome to stop by any time to check out our new space or come to the holiday pot luck on December 9 from 6 to 9 p.m. The new office is in the Portland Company Complex, which is just past Hamilton Marine on Fore Street. Our office is in the first building on the left, which is marked “Cornerstone.” The new address is 58 Fore Street, Building 30, 3rd Floor, Portland, Maine, 04101. Our phone and fax remain the same, 207-761-8225 and 207-761-0675.
LEGISLATURE IMPERILS LAND CONSERVATION (continued from page 1)
Bonds must be sanctioned by a two-thirds majority in the house and senate before voters are asked to approve them through a referendum. However, in this case the LMF bond never got out of the Appropriations Committee, where it was voted down nine to four. The move is a troubling one because it does not reflect the will of overwhelmingly conservationconscious Maine voters. As recently as June, polls suggested that twothirds of Maine voters would support a $30 million bond package to support LMF. LMF’s mission complements MITA’s own strategy in critical ways, and by supporting LMF, we also help assure public access to our most important coastal landscapes. The next chance to approve an LMF bond package will come in the January legislative session. MITA encourages members who live in Maine to call and write to their state representatives and senators and ask them to immediately approve the LMF bond package. You can find the representatives from your district by visiting the state legislature web page at janus.state.me.us/house/ townlist.htm. ■ 5
Why You Should Dig Deep for This Year’s Annual Appeal By Jeremy Wintersteen, Board Chair The Maine Island Trail is a powerful concept. In today's changing world, which unfortunately has fewer protected and open lands, more “No Trespassing” signs, and more people-are-theproblem attitudes, the Maine Island Trail offers a different philosophy. The Trail is about hope, giving something back, and a faith and belief in people. MITA's mission is grounded in the notion that our lands, coast, and islands have much to offer us. They make us better. That’s why we work so hard year in and year out on behalf of the Trail. We hope and believe that our public access and conservation efforts will enable today’s experiences to be possible for the generations that follow us. Think, for a moment, about the times you have spent on the Trail this year and why that is important to you. Maybe it provided a funfilled day in the sunshine, or a quiet opportunity to clear your mind. Or maybe, as member Julie Wormser writes in the testimonial on this page (see box at right), your travel on the Trail was also in some sense a spiritual journey. Whatever the reason—and even if you did not get out on the water this year as much as you would have liked—it is important to safeguard the Trail so that these priceless experiences can continue to take place next year and every year. There simply is no alternative. We have had a very busy year at MITA and are asking for your support. Your financial help will enable us to continue to grow the Maine Island Trail, take care of its 6
islands and mainland sites, and enlist the help of others in doing so. While we all should be proud of the Maine Island Trail, we are also very excited about the possibilities that lie ahead for it as we explore Trail expansion opportunities. As a member, you are part of the driving force that keeps this organization moving forward and doing great things on the coast of Maine. MITA's 3,500+ members take care of over 130 islands and mainland sites, undertake stewardship efforts, adhere to and teach low-impact practices, and volunteer for countless projects. Thanks to you, MITA’s belief in voluntary compliance is working, and people are taking care of Maine’s beautiful island heritage. In the mail recently you should have received a letter requesting your support for our Annual Appeal. I hope you will be as generous as possible with your donation this year and will help us reach our goal of $100,000. Thank you for your support of MITA and the Maine Island Trail and best wishes for the remainder of 2004. MITA extends a grateful thank you to Jeremy Wintersteen for his outstanding leadership as Chairman of MITA’s Board of Trustees. During his tenure, MITA has greatly increased its organizational efficiency and level of professionalism—a trend that has culminated in our Portland office relocation, which Jeremy strongly encouraged and helped arrange. We are fortunate that Jeremy will be staying with us when his Board service concludes at the end of the year, and that he will chair our Capital Campaign Planning Committee. Jeremy shares access to two coastal properties with MITA members and has been involved with the organization since 1991 as a staff member, volunteer, and, for the last six years, as a trustee.
SUNSETS WORTH SAFEGUARDING In 2002, my husband Fred and I took a month off from work to explore the Maine coastline by kayak from Penobscot Bay to Machias. We camped along the Maine Island Trail, visited small coastal communities, and took in the stark beauty of the North Atlantic. At one point we camped on Mink Island, a gorgeous public island in the mouth of the Pleasant River. We paddled the five miles upriver to Addison in search of a grocery store and a post office. On the way back, the ominous, steel-gray clouds we'd eyed warily all day suddenly broke open to soak us with pelting rain. We arrived at our island campsite to clearing skies and a late-afternoon sun, laid our wet clothes on the rocks to dry, and I went to make dinner. Some time later, hot food in hand, I went in search of Fred. I found him on the far side of the island, staring out at the green-black surrounding islands and the burst of red, orange and purple of the setting sun mirrored perfectly in the now-glassy ocean. He was crying. My husband, a UnitarianUniversalist minister, had seen the glory of God in a sunset. – Julie Wormser
Jewell Island: Still Wild, in More Ways Than One Four years since a “They trashed the MITA caretaker first place, plain and landed on Jewell simple,” Vinny says. Island, it seems safe “They took target to conclude that the practice at glass bottles, program has largely cut down 18 trees, and accomplished what it when they left they set out to do. The didn’t clean up a thing. campsites and trails There was shattered are in good shape; the glass everywhere and privies are clean; the several piles of human Caretaker Vinny Marotta visitors are pleased; waste.” and the low-impact message has This is exactly the sort of nightreached thousands of new boaters. mare that the caretaker program was Caretaker Vinny Marotta, having supposed to help prevent, but in the recently completed his second full heat of the moment Vinny found that he had few options for managing the season on the job, says that the situation. vast majority of visitors are “When I first approached them respectful of the island and have after they arrived, you could tell that become even more courteous since they had been drinking and they he first arrived in 2003. But that doesn’t mean there were already very hostile toward aren’t still a few hard cases—or me,” Vinny says. “Then, when I heard that there isn’t some room for the rounds going off, I followed the improvement in how MITA established protocol and called the manages the island. harbormaster and the Portland Police Department. But nobody wanted to go out there on a Friday night and Bender by the Bay deal with the situation. They said if Case in point, according to it’s an emergency, call 911, but Vinny, is the crew of drunken otherwise there’s nothing we can do.” lobstermen who descended on the Loath to declare the situation an island in June and wrought emergency, Vinny laid low until the absolute havoc on their campsite.
group left and then spent the better part of a day cleaning up. He says that in the future, he would like a more flexible response option that allows him to confront these situations before they spiral out of control.
MITA’s Response Jewell has a long history as a party spot and as a place where you can go to get beyond the reach of the law. Before the caretaker set up residence, reports of raucous and destructive groups were fairly commonplace, whereas now they are an isolated occurrence. Still, as this incident clearly illustrates, groups determined to flout the law can still do so out on Jewell and face little in the way of consequences. According to executive director Karen Stimpson, there comes a time when we must move beyond “respecting traditions of access” to respecting the experience of other visitors. “It’s also safety issue,” Stimpson explains, “both for the caretaker and for other people who may be out on the island. While this particular group was in an isolated area and did not pose an immediate threat to other campers, we still need to work with law enforcement officials to develop a more effective response mechanism.” ■
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Message Board Fizzles The idea for an online member message board, which we floated in the last issue of The Island Trail, has taken off like a lead balloon. Our request for feedback generated very few responses, contributing to our fears that the board would be underutilized and would amount to a vacant online eyesore at our website. Opinion about the board was split evenly among those who took the trouble to write in. On the pro side, member Richard Anderson said he would find a message board “very useful both for increasing knowledge, sharing information, and for making contact with other members.” In the con camp, members Jeff and Sue Moeller commented that a message board would probably contribute to overcrowding and overuse of the islands, and that it seems to go against MITA’s low-impact ethic. “As MITA stands now, there is plenty of specific and accurate info available to help those who want to do their homework and their groundwork to find the adventures they are looking for,” they wrote. “A chat board just seems to be another one of those technological add-ons (‘well, now we've got the web site...’) that would be easy and convenient to do, but in the end may very well damage our standing as an organization.” Given the apparent limited demand for a message board, MITA has decided to table the idea for now and will put its resources toward more pressing organizational priorities. ■
Member Photo Gallery Opens Since opening its virtual doors early this summer, the new member photo gallery has received a steady stream of submissions and appears well on its way to becoming an online institution at MITA. Below is a small sampling of the great shots members have sent and which are displayed on our site at www.mita.org/ photogallery/. If you have any special images you’d like to share, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post them right away. ■
Clockwise from top left: Monitor skipper Jon Lawton and clean-up crew member Dave Morrill with a mountain of island trash collected during the Down East clean-up (photo by Sid Quarrier); Rob Carr posing on top of Halifax Island (photo by David Carr); sunset as viewed from Steve's Island near Stonington, ME (photo by Robert D. Haggerty); and George Planansky with Jon Eden's kayak entering the picture, photographed from the dock on Eagle Island (photo by Chris Guzofski).
Relaxed Weekend on Warren Demonstrating that the most memorable island experiences are often the totally unplanned and unscripted ones, this year’s free-form annual campout was, in the words of one satisfied attendee, “probably the best one I’ve ever been to.” With fun the only item on the agenda, the gathering of several dozen seasoned as well as new members was encouraged to sail, paddle, or snooze their weekend away while basking in the abundant September sunshine. A communal potluck 10
provided plenty of camaraderie, and a spirited storytelling session kept members chuckling well into the night. Keeping with our tradition of alternating low-key and high-profile annual meetings every other year, the next one will be a more structured meeting with a full complement of speakers, workshops, and events. Look for more details in our next issue or check our website, www.mita.org, for updates. ■
Enjoying cappuccino al fresco at Cafe Warren.
Boat Donations = Tax Deductions By some estimates as many as Our newfound expertise in this half of all boats over 10 years old are area comes through a partnership for sale. You’ve seen them in with Block Island Maritime Funding, boatyards and in backyards, on the Inc., which will be administrating dock and in the boat donation driveways. Maybe program. The principals you even own one at Block Island have of these boats, extensive experience with and you’re tired pleasure yachts and of pouring your possess some 100 years of money into it combined while you wait for marine knowsomeone to offer how. This you a fair price. gives you If that’s the case, confidence to then now is the time know that is to consider your donating your generous boat to MITA. offer will be You already handled know that MITA professionally and is a cause worth with the highest supporting, but possible return both you may not to you and to have considered MITA’s stewardship the tax benefits programs. that you stand to Time is running reap from out to take donating your advantage of these Boats for sale: The 25’ Merit (top), the 26’ vessel to a nonbenefits in the 1969 Calkins Bartender (center), and 25’ profit. Especially O’Day (bottom) are three of the generous current tax year. It if you are in a only takes a phone boat donations that we are now selling to high-income tax call or email to get raise stewardship funds. For more information about these boats, check the bracket, the started making your MITA website at www.mita.org/ impact on your donation (and next return could boatsforsale.html. deduction!). be significant. (And just think about all those maintenance headaches that will now be someone else’s problem!) Another advantage of donating to MITA is that we now have a dedicated, expert-run program to handle all aspects of these transactions—from your initial inquiry right through to the closing. Not only can we provide a very quick evaluation and response to your offer anywhere in the Northeast, but we can also provide some ideas for how to maximize your financial gain from the deal. This kind of know-how is critical for high-value yachts that may have substantial tax-reducing implications.
Share Your Love of the Maine Coast Gift memberships help us continue our stewardship of over 100 islands on the coast of Maine and keep them available for your children and grandchildren. You receive the tax deduction (and skip a trip to the mall!) and we send a special note from you with the membership, including these benefits: ✔
The 425-page 2004 Guidebook for trip planning over the winter months ✔ A subscription to The Island Trail, MITA’s newsletter, published semi-annually ✔ A MITA window decal ✔ And come spring, the new 2005 edition of the Stewardship Handbook & Guidebook including several exciting new additions to the Trail! Get a head start on your shopping by calling the Rockland office now. There’s no better way to show how much you care!
PO Box C, Rockland ME 04841 207-596-6456
Between the Tides, A World Awaiting Discovery common their dependence on moving water to bring them food. Worms, mussels, lobsters, and sand dollars are all members of this group. Some invertebrates carry marvelous By Les Watling, Jill Fegley, and John common names, such as the ornate Moring; illustrated by Andrea spaghetti worm or the bushy-backed Sulzer. Edited by Susan K. White, sea slug. Watling profiles the fascinating ways they feed. Speckled Maine Sea Grant Program. Tilbury flatworms trap small animals in House, 2003; $15.00 sticky slime, for instance, and Reviewed by Lee Bumsted bloodworms inject their prey with a When you walk along your neurotoxin. He also covers invertebrates' means of locomotion or favorite tidal shoreline, do you find attachment to other surfaces. Sea yourself pausing to observe things in stars move using the tube feet on the your path? A shell with an interesting shape, an odd bit of underside of their five arms. Barnacles glue seaweed, or a flowering their "heads" to rocks. plant might catch your eye. Do you stop to gaze A chapter on fish introduces a dozen into tide pools, marvelcommon to the intertidal ing at the creatures moving about within zone. Among them are Bay Scallop (Agopecten the lumpfish, "a football them? If so, Life Between irradians)—3 in (7.5cm) with warts," that uses a the Tides: Marine Plants suction device to attach and Animals of the Northeast will help you to marine algae. The American sand lance is a identify your finds. It long thin fish that will also help you appreciate the rich burrows in the sand of the surf zone. The grubby variety of life in the has an antifreeze element intertidal zone. Sea Scallop (Placopecten magellanicus—up to 9 in (23cm) in its blood plasma and You can browse can thrive in cold, through this 6" x 8" field shallow waters. John Moring, who guide at home or slip it into your was a professor of zoology and day pack when you head out. Its 110 pages are neatly organized to help marine sciences at the University of Maine, authored this section. you quickly locate the object of your Jill Fegley, an assistant professor of interest, and there is an index with common and scientific names. marine biology at Maine Maritime Academy, describes plants and Delicate and detailed line drawings seaweeds of the intertidal zone in the by Andrea Sulzer appear adjacent to final chapter. Salt marsh plants and concise descriptions of the organsea grasses have physical adaptations isms. The only thing missing is a that allow them to tolerate high glossary. levels of salinity. Flowering sea Life Between the Tides starts off with an overview of coastal habitats, lavender and seaside plantain are examples of salt-tolerant salt marsh such as salt marshes, mudflats, sand plants. flats, beaches, and rocky shores. Les Watling, a professor of oceanography The illustrations of the seaweeds highlight their beauty, and help make and marine biology at the University it clear that they are not true plants, of Maine, contributed this introducbut rather algae. Plants and seaweeds tion plus the extensive chapter on do have photosynthesis in common, invertebrates that follows. but many other features differentiate While varying greatly in appearthem. One such feature in a complex ance, most invertebrates have in Andrea Sulzer
Life Between the Tides: Marine Plants and Animals of the Northeast
seaweed is the holdfast, a structure that anchors it. Nutrients do not move up the holdfast, as they would in a plant's root, but rather are absorbed over the entire alga. Life Between the Tides helps you understand the many ways marine organisms feed, move about or stay put, and respire. It explains what niches they occupy, and tells something of how they serve as refuge or food for other creatures. The next time you set out for a saltwater shoreline, carry this guide with you and take some time to observe the salt marshes, tide pools, or beaches you find there. Perhaps you'll spot a bushy-backed sea slug! ■ Lee Bumsted is the author of Hot Showers! Maine Coast Lodgings for Kayakers and Sailors, a guide to 152 coastal B&B's, inns, and similar lodgings, and 30 campgrounds. Information about her book is available at www.biddle-audenreed.com/ Kayak.html. This review first appeared in Gulf of Maine Times (www.gulfofmaine.org), and is reprinted with the publisher's permission. Illustrations by Andrea Sulzer from Life Between the Tides are used with the publisher's permission.
Lend a Hand on Little Chebeague Volunteer Dick Innes has been maintaining the trails and historic signage on state-owned Little Chebeague Island for ten years, but the task is simply too much for any one person to reasonably handle. We are putting out the call for a volunteer who can help Dick throughout the summer. Candidates will need their own transport out to the island and ideally will have one morning or afternoon a week to devote to the project. For more information please contact Amy Kersteen in the Portland office, 761-8225 or email@example.com.
Rethinking the Intertidal Zone A Contrarian’s View of Some Leave No Trace Guidelines By Kevin Lomangino, Editor In her review of Life Between the Tides, Lee Bumsted describes an intertidal zone that is teeming with all manner of marine creatures and seems to rival the onshore habitat in its number and diversity of living organisms. You would think that conservation-minded MITA would seek to protect this unique ecological niche and the many strange plants and invertebrates that make their home there. But a look at the Leave No Trace guidelines in the Guidebook suggests that the opposite may in fact be the case. Instead of advising members to carefully skirt this sensitive incubator, MITA encourages them to set up their cooking areas below the high tide line and to kindle their permitted lowimpact fires there as well. We want to “minimize foot traffic into the fragile island interior,” but our message regarding the intertidal zone seems to be—well, never mind. It’s pretty easy to see why this philosophy is the prevailing one. After all, the intertidal zone is underwater half the time; and what is out of sight is also often out of mind. Moreover, if we’re going to designate one aspect of the islands to be “sacrificial,” most would probably choose the foulsmelling ooze below the high tide line rather than the cherished topside trees,
Sea Kayaking & Sailing/Rowing Wilderness Expeditions On the Maine Coast
wildflowers, and other vegetation. Still, we may be fooling ourselves if we think this approach is not having an impact on intertidal marine life. Studies in Oregon and California suggest that intertidal biodiversity is strongly correlated with the amount of human use an area has received. Researchers there have found that species composition and abundance can be starkly lower in tidal areas frequented by humans compared to those too remote or protected for people to visit. Tracy Hart, a marine associate with Maine Sea Grant who is helping to develop science-based environmental monitoring protocols for the Trail islands, agrees that it is time to give the Leave No Trace recommendations a closer look. She says that the guidelines for intertidal zone use reflect the conventional wisdom that this area is more resilient than the adjoining land. But it’s still an open question, she notes, as to whether this “wisdom” equates to sound management practice. On the one hand, says Hart, there are some good reasons to believe that the intertidal zone on Trail islands may be able to handle the foot traffic that it receives from visitors. “Organisms here are adapted to some of the harshest conditions that exist—pounding waves, exposure to both marine and land predators, extremes of temperature, and both submersion and drying conditions,” she explains. But Hart worries about the heaviest use areas, and areas that might harbor
endangered species. “We don’t know if repetitive impacts could keep larvae from taking hold and growing to the original sizes in the same numbers,” Hart says. “And there may be rare or sensitive species in the intertidal zone to pay attention to. Has anyone made sure that there aren't rare or endangered species on the Island Trail?” As long as we continue to visit the islands (and I’m certainly not suggesting we shouldn’t), there are going to be some consequences for the unfortunate organisms that find themselves in our path. New monitoring initiatives should help to quantify this impact and determine what steps, if any, are needed to help reduce it. Meanwhile, perhaps we should all try to step a little more lightly, no matter where we find ourselves on an island. The life of a warty lumpfish, or even a poor little grubby, may well depend on it! ■
Donate Your Used Kayaks Kayaks are easy for MITA to sell! So if your end-of-season assessment shows that it’s time for an upgrade, why not donate your old kayak to MITA and save yourself the hassle of trying to get rid of it? Donations are fully taxdeductible and are a great way to support island stewardship.
For Teenagers: 3 weeks June - Aug. For Families & Individuals: 3-7 days May & Aug.
Wilderness Trips and Workshops for Adults and Families Canoe trips in Maine, Quebec, Labrador, Baffin Island • Hiking in Baxter State Park Sea Kayaking in Maine • Sailing along the Maine Coast in Traditional Wooden Boats Wilderness First Responder and Outdoor Leadership Workshops Canoe and Sea Kayak in the Florida Everglades Wilderness travel at a pace set to enhance exploration and appreciation of the natural world. Please call or write for a brochure of this year’s trips. The Chewonki Foundation, 485 Chewonki Neck Road, Wiscasset, ME 04578 (207) 882-7323 • FAX (207) 882-4074 • E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 13
MITA Partners with Chebeague Island Youth This past summer MITA welcomed students from Chebeague Island in Casco Bay to join us in making an initial environmental assessment of neighboring Bangs Island, which was new to the Trail in 2003. The goal of the assessment was to establish baseline data on the Students from Chebeague Island take environmental readings on island’s current conditions in order neighboring Bangs Island. to track and address any subsequent the students told us about their user impacts. By involving families’ traditional use of the Chebeague’s young residents in the island and suggested management project, we hoped to engage them in strategies that would have the best stewardship of the island and foster likelihood of success. a sense of local involvement and MITA expresses its sincerest responsibility for its future. appreciation to the Maine ComUnder the supervision of MITA munity Foundation, which trustee Natalie Springuel, the supported this project through its students spent two days out on the Rural Grants Fund, the MCF island in July learning about Leave Fund, and Pine Tree Fund. We also No Trace methods and taking would like to thank Bob Earnest, environmental readings on indicathe adult coordinator on tors of human impact. One of their Chebeague who recruited the primary accomplishments was the students and helped supervise development of a precise scale map their work out on Bangs. In of one of the campsites, which will addition, hearty congratulations help MITA track and mitigate any are due to the Chebeague Island future campsite sprawl. project participants: Mia Taliento, The learning went both ways, as Daria Johnson, Johnny Miller. ■
Guidebook 2005: A Call for Feedback By Kate Kennedy One of the annual rites of autumn here at MITA is pulling together all of the new material, corrections, and changes that will appear in the coming edition of the Guidebook and Stewardship Handbook. I edited the 2004 edition and I would very much appreciate hearing any thoughts you may have about how to improve the 2005 edition. This might include what you consider useful in this year’s guide, what’s not useful, what you like/don’t like, what you’d like added or expanded, taken out or shortened—and, of course, any mistakes you’ve found. You may also have ideas for new directions (given our tight finances) which might make the 2005 Guidebook even more relevant to your life on the water and on the Trail’s beautiful islands. I hope you’ll consider our request for feedback as yet another opportunity to volunteer time and experience to MITA’s efforts. I’d enjoy hearing from you by phone (799-1410) or by email at email@example.com.
Thank You Contributors! MITA salutes the very generous Portland and Rockland area restaurants and shops that donated the incredible spread for our stewardship celebration. Please support MITA by frequenting these establishments: Arabica Coffee • Atlantic Baking Company • Aurora Provisions Borealis Bread • Boyton-McKay Food Company • Hannaford Market Basket • Market on Maine Morrison’s MaineCourse Prism Glass Gallery and Cafe Saltwater Grille • Sparhawk Brewers State of Maine Cheese Street & Company • Sweet Sensations Bakery • Walter’s Cafe
Kicked Off an Island, Finding a Home at MITA Soon after the family disembarked, however, a boat sped toward the beach and the operator began waving and yelling for them to get off the island. Morris says they were more than happy to comply, but were put off by how aggressively the demand was made. “Not only did he yell at us, but he circled slowly just offshore while we packed up, to make certain we left in a hurry,” Morris notes. The incident took place at a time when the Hancocks, who were members of the Island Morris Hancock, the 2004 Margaret C. Emerson Institute (MITA’s parent Stewardship Award winner. organization at the time), had been considering placing Sometimes you have to get their own property on Kimball thrown off an island to appreciate Island on the Trail. what a precious service MITA Now their minds were made up. provides. “I called up [MITA founder] Dave Member Morris Hancock knows Getchell the next morning and told this first-hand, because it was just him we wanted to put the property such an experience that led him to on the Trail,” Morris says. “Since join the organization and, ultimately, these people were saying you to earn the 2004 Margaret C. couldn’t land on their island any Emerson Stewardship Award— more, we wanted to cancel that out MITA’s highest volunteer honor. by welcoming people to our island It was nearly 15 years ago that property.” Morris took his fateful sailing cruise It was a lucky turn of events for aboard a friend’s boat and was MITA, because Morris’ support over brought ashore at a spectacular shell the years has been nothing short of beach in Casco Bay. So captivated extraordinary. In addition to sharing was he by the landscape that Morris access to Kimball, Morris has served brought his wife Lin and their as a very active trustee for a number daughters Susana and Stephanie of years, and recently completed an (age 4 and 10 months, respectively, exemplary tenure as chairman of at the time) out several weeks later MITA’s Board. to share in the discovery. Morris is a workhorse volunteer “This was in the days when who has provided incalculable help permissive trespass on islands was with outreach events and fundmore accepted,” Hancock explains. raising activities. Not only that, but “And I had assumed, based on my he also somehow finds time to previous trip, that the owner of this reward the staff with an annual particular island didn’t mind people sailing cruise and other very coming ashore.” thoughtful thank-yous.
“Morris is a treasure for this organization and it was a great pleasure to be able, in this small way, to acknowledge his tremendous service,” says stewardship programs manager Amy Kersteen. ■
Stewardship Party Awards MITA was treated to yet another perfect late-summer evening in Rockport Harbor as we celebrated the contributions of volunteers at our annual Stewardship Party. We extend our sincerest thanks to the following standout volunteers who received special acknowledgment for their support of MITA programs and activities: Adopt an Island Daniel Smith John McMurray Advisor Award Scotty Folger Rob & Emlen Cabot Cleanups Dave & Deb Morrill Jon & Charlotte Lawton Extracurricular Activities Natalie Springuel Monitor Program Deb & Ted Clark Office Support Jen Chu Pat Nagot Outreach John Lehmus Margaret C. Emerson Award Morris Hancock
Monitor Skipper Bill Thomas and his wife Ann Marie—two of the many volunteers feted at this year’s Stewardship Party. 15
MITA CALENDAR Fall 2004 Check our website, www.mita.org, for new events and updates. CLEAN-UPS. Each spring and fall, MITA organizes work parties to clean trails, shorelines, and campsites and carry out projects on the islands. Everyone is welcome—with or without your own boat. Clean-ups are weather dependent. Reserve your spot early, as spaces fill up fast. Contact Amy in the Portland office at 761-8225 or firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up. OUTREACH EVENTS. Throughout the year, MITA participates in or is represented at various boat shows, fairs and conservation-related events. We are always seeking volunteers to work at our booth and to help inform the public of our mission. Please contact Drew in the Portland office at 761-8225 or email@example.com to sign up.
MITA Holiday Pot Luck Friday, December 9, 6-9 p.m. MITA Portland Office. Join MITA’s pot-luck holiday celebration and tour the new Portland office. For more information contact Drew Wyman in the Portland office. Maine Boatbuilders Show and MITA Open House Friday – Sunday, March 18-20, Portland, ME. We are looking for volunteers to staff our booth at this event. In addition, we will be hosting an open house for member attendees who wish to tour the new Portland office, which is located next door to the exhibit hall. Stonington Area Clean-Up Saturday & Sunday, May 14 & 15. Join us for one or two days with optional campout. Casco Bay West Clean-Up Saturday, May 21. Join us for this one-
LIKE-NEW OUTBOARDS AVAILABLE If you have been looking for a quiet, clean outboard that has been impeccably maintained and has years and years of excellent service still to offer, then your search is over. Strout’s Point Wharf Company in Freeport, which generously donates Honda outboards for MITA’s workboats and free maintenance as well, is selling two of our gently used 2002 four-strokes for very attractive prices. There is one 25-horse and one 30-horse available. Both come with a long-shaft tiller handle, electric start, tachometer and hour meter, and a warranty. The motors have been on sale for quite awhile, so Strout’s Point has knocked down the prices to $2,500 for the 25 and $2,750 for the 30. This is an excellent opportunity to get a great deal while also supporting a business that supports MITA. For more information, call our friend Peter Barnes at 865-3899. You may also want to ask about the 2003 MITA outboards, which will soon be available.
MAINE ISLAND TRAIL
day clean-up of Jewell, Little Chebeague, Crow and Bangs Islands. Casco Bay East Clean-Up Sunday, May 22. Join us for this one-day clean-up of the Casco Bay islands between Jewell and Cape Small. Western Rivers Clean-Up Saturday, May 28. Join us for this one-day clean-up event on the Kennebec, Sheepscot, and Damariscotta rivers. Muscongus Bay Clean-Up Saturday, June 4. Join us for this one-day clean-up of our many islands in the Bay. Penobscot Bay Clean-Up Sunday, June 5. Join us for this one-day clean-up of islands off North Haven and Vinalhaven. Downeast Clean-Up Saturday, June 11 (rain/wind date is June 12). Join us for a one-day clean-up of islands east of Schoodic point.
NON-PROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE
PAID MAINE ISLAND TRAIL ASSOCIATION
Association 58 Fore Street, Bldg. 30, 3rd Floor PORTLAND, ME 04101
The Newsletter of the Maine Island Trail Association • Summer 1998
MITA relocates its offices and reaches out to the cruising community, and the importance of having a caretaker on Jewell Island is driven ho...
Published on Dec 12, 2004
MITA relocates its offices and reaches out to the cruising community, and the importance of having a caretaker on Jewell Island is driven ho...