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The Island Trail T h e N e w s l e tt e r o f t h e M a i n e I s l a n d T r a i l A s s o c i at i o n s u mm e r 2 0 1 1

Messing About on Muscongus Bay B y R e i n h a r d Z o ll i ts c h

I had told myself I would stay away from tide-ridden saltwater shores, and especially tide rips, come 2010; and I did, deciding instead to circumnavigate our biggest lake in New England, and sixth largest lake in the United States, Lake Champlain. With the 400-year hype of 2009 over (Samuel de Champlain canoed and named this lake in 1609), I felt it was a sensible compromise for the “old salt.” Don’t get me wrong: it was a wonderful 276-mile round trip. But there was something distinctly missing: the air, the smells, the open vistas and curved horizon, the challenge of irregular waves, swells from distant storms, and the ever-changing water level. There were no tides, no rips, no salt spray or spindrift, no bells, gongs or whistles, and not enough gulls, terns and other seabirds. I missed it all already, on my first trip away from all that stuff. Lines from John Masefield’s poem, “Sea-Fever,” kept going through my mind, till I finally succumbed and decided to do something about it.

In This Issue

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Stewardship Goes Local...............Page 4 Seguin Island’s Light Station .....Page 6 Growing Up in Boats..................... Page 7 2010 Financial Review.. ..................Page 8 The Guide That Binds................... Page 10

Sailors, paddlers, and other boaters visiting the Trail provide a significant economic boost to Maine. Photo: Fred Weymouth.

Making an Impact While Leaving No Trace

Harvard Study Details Trail’s Economic Benefits B y K e v i n Lo m a n g i n o

The Maine Island Trail is most widely known as a recreational asset that promotes natural resource conservation. Now it can also credibly claim to be an economic engine that bolsters the financial fortunes of coastal communities. Visitors to the Trail spend an estimated $1.75 million on the Maine coast each year, according to an economic impact study by Harvard University graduate students. More than $550,000 of that spending was by out-of-state visitors who came to Maine specifically to the use Trail and wouldn’t otherwise have visited the state, the study found. “The study confirms what we always suspected was true but couldn’t show,” said MITA Executive Director Doug Welch, “which is that people coming to use the Trail bring substantial benefits for the coastal economy.” In a separate analysis, the study authors also quantified the value that the Trail provides to the recreational visitors who use it, including MITA members. They reported that visitors derive an annual benefit worth about $3.2 million, or roughly $91 per day of visitation, from their access to the Trail. continue page 12

m i ta .o r g

Memories of a Sailor b y D o u g W e l c h , e x e c u t i v e D i r e c to r

M ITA B OARD O F TRU S TEE S Peter Adams, Yarmouth, ME Kelly Boden, Portland, ME Scott Camlin, Belmont, MA Nicole Connelly, Falmouth, ME Cyrus Hagge, Portland, ME Lindsay Hancock, Gray, ME Kathryn Henry, Waitsfield, VT Rodger Herrigel, Phippsburg, ME Liz Incze, Cumberland Foreside, ME Tony Jessen, Freeport, ME Melissa Paly, Kittery, ME Joan Smith, Portland, ME Stafford Soule, Freeport, ME Rod Vogel, Cumberland, ME Bill Weir, Bar Harbor, ME Jeremy Wintersteen, Boston, MA


Doug Welch • Executive Director

Danielle Chaput• Member Services Associate

Tom Franklin • Director of Special Programs

Eliza Ginn •

Marketing & Membership Manager

Greg Field •

Director of Finance & Operations

Peter Kenlan •

Development Officer & Stewardship Manager

Kevin Lomangino • Newsletter Editor

Brian Marcaurelle • Program Director

Pro-bono newsletter design services by Jillfrances Gray JFG Graphic Design|Art Direction The Maine Island Trail is a 375-mile long waterway extending from the New Hampshire border on the west to Cobscook 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.

M AINE I S L AND TRAI L A S S OCIATION 58 Fore Street, 30-3 Portland, ME 04101 (207) 761-8225 •

Vol. 22 2


No. 1

Ten years ago this May I lost my stepfather to cancer. A native of Holland, Anton J. Vanpoortvliet was known to his countless friends in America as “Van.” With his gentle, everpresent accent, he used to tell stories of sailing a makeshift sailboat in the canals around Rotterdam as a child. As I recall, it sounded like a canoe with a bedsheet sail. But these simple boyhood pleasures were cut short by World War II, when in 1940 at age 12 Van watched as his native port city was bombed by the Germans and literally burned to the ground. Van and his family struggled to survive the Nazi occupation. He told how he traded his bicycle for a ham to feed his family. I can only imagine what became of his little boat.

generation Windsurfer.) Van gradually worked his way up through various boats to his pride and joy, Aurora—a 35’ Baba with beautiful teak decks that I will never forget acid-washing one long summer. My mother, meanwhile, graduated to a wonderful 23’ Pearson Electra. When Van captained Electra, she became known to disgruntled racers as “the Pig Boat”—with her handicap and Van at the helm, she gobbled up every trophy.

In 1983 I was working at the furniture store when Van had a heart attack. My mom managed to get him from the house to the local country hospital and saved his life. Although his health rebounded quickly, Van soon retired to embark on the trip of a lifetime. Taking my younger brother out of middle school for the year, he and my mom sailed Aurora from Dunkirk, New York to the Bahamas. I was lucky enough to join them on several legs of the year-long journey. Through the storied From Nazi-occupied canals of New York State Holland to the shores and past the Statue of Lake Erie, my of Liberty, Van made an immigrant sailor’s stepfather kept ultimate victory lap in the sailing through American Dream.

After the war, Van became a ship’s mate with the Holland America Line working the New York route. With his parents’ blessing, at age 16, he disembarked alone in New York and stayed. He worked odd jobs all over hardships and the US, often as a salesman, Among many friends victories. though sometimes in dire Van and my mom made poverty. But his wide grin in the Bahamas were and smiling eyes made family members of yacht designer Chuck him as many friends then as they did in Paine. They eventually visited the family later life. He soon found a sponsor who in Maine and enjoyed a couple of sails on helped him gain permanent legal status Penobscot Bay just as the Maine Island in America. He settled in Western New Trail was being established. From then on, York where he opened a furniture store. Van sailed mainly in Florida, occasionally Eventually owning and managing two helping friends cross the Gulf Stream. store locations, Van had “made it.” Van was diagnosed with a rare form And he never stopped sailing. Living of abdominal cancer in 1999. He near the shores of Lake Erie, Van was survived the first bout, but the cancer a founding member and eventual soon returned aggressively. We have a Commodore of the Dunkirk Yacht Club. beautiful picture of him grinning on a (Despite some amazingly talented Florida beach in a straw hat in April 2001, sailors, the laid-back DYC also accepted but when I arrived from Boston at the my single mother and her three boys hospital in Florida just weeks later he on the basis of our owning a firstwas very near death.

Unable to speak, Van listened as I chatted with him all afternoon. I relayed light news of the family as he drifted in and out of consciousness. But I will never forget the total clarity in his eyes when I told him about my new job on the Boston Harbor Islands and our plans for a mooring program for transient boaters. I told him he would have to bring Aurora back north, and can only imagine how excited he would have been about the Maine Island Trail. But as my mom and I sat with him in the early evening hours, he slipped away. We buried Van in the country cemetery at the bottom of his long driveway in the Arkwright Hills of Western New York. Family members each brought jars of seawater collected from Van’s lifetime of sailing grounds off Rotterdam, California, Lake Erie, and Florida. We poured each into his open grave and said goodbye. Although I have never claimed to be a sailor, I owe what experience I have to Van and am inspired by his memory every time I sail in Maine.

Connect with MITA Online

Use the following online media to find out about MITA events and activities, volunteer opportunities, Trail updates, and other information related to your membership.

Paddlers Urged to Use Vessel Identification Stickers

The Coast Guard is asking all small craft owners to affix a Paddle Smart identification sticker listing a contact name and at least two phone numbers to their boats. For boaters, such stickers can lead to the recovery of craft that get lost or stolen and which otherwise would be totally untraceable. For the Coast Guard, the stickers can help determine whether to initiate costly search and rescue missions when unattended craft or gear are found out on the water. The Coast Guard must assume that someone is in trouble whenever it finds a canoe, kayak, or other small boat or dinghy that is unattended or adrift. An identification sticker can help response agencies to quickly identify the vessel’s owner or operator and aid search-and-rescue planners in determining the best course of action. In many cases, unattended paddle craft have simply broken free of a mooring or washed off a beach at high tide. The importance of the stickers was highlighted last year when an unattended kayak was found adrift in Puget Sound near Seattle. A 41-foot Utility Boat rescue crew responded and searched a 33-square-mile area for more than 11 hours, costing taxpayers more than $31,000. A Coast Guard helicopter rescue crew also responded, searching a 28-square mile area for more than two hours, costing taxpayers more than $19,000. The search was eventually suspended and no kayaker was ever reported missing. “The benefit comes from being able to identify a real emergency,” said Coast Guard official Jeff Seifried, in Coast Guard News. “If the Coast Guard isn’t using resources searching for someone who isn’t missing, it’s going to save a lot of time and money. We’re not putting Coast Guard rescue crews at an unnecessary risk and at the same time, it could ease a family’s anxiety to know there isn’t an emergency.” Seifried noted that the stickers are available at no charge from local Coast Guard Auxiliary flotillas. You can locate contact information for your local flotilla at www. “It’s simple, extremely beneficial and free,” Seifried said. “I can’t come up with a reason why you wouldn’t want to use it. With a little bit of information you can help the Coast Guard find your property or save your life.”

• On the Web: Visit our website,

• Email: Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter by visiting and clicking the button to sign up. • Facebook: Become a fan at • YouTube: Subscribe to the MITA Channel, maineislandtrail.

• Twitter: Hear our latest tweets at • Flickr: Share photos at groups/maineislandtrail/

• Linkedin: Connect at companies/maine-island-trailassociation M I TA .O R G


Stewardship Goes Local to Meet Increased Need B y K e v i n Lo m a n g i n o

Local. These days, it’s how many of us prefer to do our eating, our shopping, and even our banking. Now MITA thinks it might also be the best way to organize the stewardship of Maine’s wild islands.

Board member Scott Camlin. “But the line representing stewardship resources in terms of staff time or budget would essentially be flat or maybe even going down a little bit. The gap is getting bigger every year.”

In a pilot test of an emerging concept, MITA is seeking out small groups of Enter the “local” program, which local volunteers willing to take more Marcaurelle thinks could play a role direct responsibility for looking after in expanding MITA’s stewardship the Trail sites in their region. The idea is capacity. He noted that that these autonomous local organizers may local groups can more have more extensive “The hope is that effectively mobilize networks from which if we decentralize people in their area to to recruit volunteers participate in island things a little, but still to participate. And he stewardship. provide some structure said that people who live nearby may find “There are many people and support, we can it easier to provide who care about the empower volunteers regular stewardship coast who might never to be more proactive care compared with participate in a MITA and achieve the someone who has to event or program. It’s just travel to get there. not who they are,” said goals that we’re all MITA Program Director “The hope is that striving toward.” Brian Marcaurelle. “But if a if we decentralize neighbor tells them they’re things a little, but still organizing a clean-up, they may be much provide some structure and support, more open to the idea and willing to help we can empower volunteers to be out. We want to tap into that.” more proactive and achieve the

Keeping Pace with Demand A major factor driving the experiment is the need for more manpower devoted to volunteer organization. MITA today provides the central coordination for the vast majority of stewardship activities on the Trail. Shoreline cleanups, routine monitoring and island work projects are accomplished through a variety of volunteer programs that have remained largely unchanged since the Trail’s inception in 1987. But as the Trail has swelled to more than 190 coastal islands and sites, it has become increasingly difficult for the small Portland staff to keep pace with the growing demand for stewardship services.


“If you were to display the problem on a graph, you’d see the line representing the number of Trail islands going up steadily year after year,” said MITA M I TA .O R G

goals that we’re all striving toward,” Marcaurelle said.

Building on Success

There is evidence that this vision can work if implemented under the right conditions. Long-time members will recall that MITA once had regional sections that organized local events and stewardship projects. The program worked well for a time but was seen as expendable in the face of budget cuts in the mid-1990s. More recently, MITA has cultivated closer ties with local kayaking clubs such as the MDI Paddlers—a group that has been autonomously cleaning and monitoring Trail sites around Mount Desert Island for about a decade. In the past couple of years, though, increased coordination with MITA has helped maximize the effectiveness of the club’s efforts, according to club president Ron Greenberg.

“The way I look at it, we’re out there on the water already doing this stuff, and if we can coordinate our efforts it relieves you guys [MITA] of a lot of responsibility,” Greenberg said. Greenberg noted that trash collection has always been a component of MDI Paddler outings. “But now,” he explained, “if we see something that needs to be addressed, we know that we can call the MITA stewards and tell them about it. And if we need help with something, we know that they can usually get it to us very quickly.” Leveraging a strong local network, Greenberg also is in a position to take on stewardship projects that MITA could never contemplate. Last year, in place of the normal MITA fall cleanup, Greenberg teamed MITA up with more than a dozen partner groups to initiate the inaugural Clean Waters, Clean Shores trash pick up along the shoreline of Mount Desert Island and the outer islands associated with MDI. The event drew more than 150 individual volunteers—many from local schools and community groups— and was co-sponsored by all the surrounding town governments. Marcaurelle said the event demonstrated the advantage of empowering local advocates in the community. “What Ron was able to pull off is bigger than anything we could have organized in that area,” Marcaurelle said. “So instead of trying to do our own separate thing all the time, maybe the best use of our resources is to coordinate with and nurture those who are already in a position to be effective.”

Expanding and Diversifying

The seeds of additional regional programs are now being planted in other areas of the coast. Last year, MITA relied on the Southern Maine Sea Kayak Network (SMSKN) to provide extra stewardship coverage on a handful of heavily used islands in Casco Bay. According to

SMSKN president Bob Arledge, taking on a greater role in island stewardship was a natural extension of the club’s recreational mission. “We’re the ones getting the most benefit from the owners putting these properties on the Trail,” he said, “so it does feel good to pay a little bit of that kindness back where we can. Every little bit helps.” As the partnerships with SMSKN and MDI Paddlers suggest, MITA so far has found itself working primarily with local kayaking groups. That’s understandable, says Scott Camlin, because these clubs have the organization and manpower to respond to pressing stewardship needs immediately. Longer-term, however, Camlin says it is important to include a diversity of different stakeholders in the program. He pointed to Ron Greenberg’s efforts to recruit other partners, including local governments, state agencies, schools, land trusts, and lobstermen, as an example for MITA to emulate. “Ron’s the hero here because he’s expanding it way beyond the kayaker community. We need a wide network of people that represents the diversity of the Trail and the coast,” Camlin added. MITA is taking a step in that direction with its recent efforts in Muscongus Bay. There, a council of local volunteers is being recruited from a variety of different stakeholder groups. The hope is that the group will blossom into an effective organizing force and a model for other regions. “One of the challenges is that people volunteer for MITA so that they can get out of their houses, get out on the water, and do some actual project work,” Camlin said. “But that’s only part of what we’re looking for. More critically, we need people who have the time and the skills to manage the volunteers, handle the scheduling, and do the behind-the-scenes work to make the projects happen. Those people are out there, but they aren’t easy to find.”

Ron Greenberg (center) and other members of the MDI Paddlers arrive on shore to check on island conditions and sweep the shoreline for trash. Photo: Bill Weir.

Emphasis on Innovation

According to Marcaurelle, it’s too soon to say if any of these experiments will alleviate MITA’s current resource crunch or have long-term staying power. And he says there will probably always be a need for MITA to organize stewardship efforts apart from any regional partnership. For now, the take-home message, in his view, is about MITA’s continuing commitment to innovation.

“If we think there’s a new way to approach stewardship that will be more inclusive and more effective than what we’re doing now, we want to give it a shot,” Marcaurelle said. “We’re not abandoning what we’re doing, but we’re certainly investigating alternatives. These regional partnerships could be an important supplement to our existing programs if they pan out the way we hope they will.”

An Island Trail Excerpt The following passage is excerpted from Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, by Gary D. Schmidt, which chronicles a boy’s experience with racism in Phippsburg, Maine, in 1912: Ahead of him, the beach was covered with stones, their hard outsides rubbed off and smoothed so that they glowed as the waves gathered them up and down. The granite ledges were streaked by a thousand shades of gray and silver, separated by slices of pink quartz that glowed like happiness. And the pines! The pines threw their roots around the shore’s boulders, grappling with the living rocks and wrestling them into position. And out of those rocks they thrust themselves into the air as if they might scratch the blue dome of heaven, and as they stretched back and forth trying to reach it, and as the sea stretched itself back and forth up the beach, Turner felt the world moving slowly and anciently beneath him, and he began to sway back and forth with the waves, with the trees, with the rolling globe itself. Copyright 2004 by Gary D. Schmidt. Recommended for ages 9 and up.



Seguin Island’s 214-Year-Old Light Station By Liz Fitzsimmons

During his explorations along the Maine coast in 1605, Samuel de Champlain noted an island shaped like a tortoise at the mouth of a wide river. This was Seguin Island, and the river was the Kennebec. Two years later Englishmen George Popham and Raleigh Gilbert reportedly anchored off Seguin Island, sailing up the river and establishing Fort Popham, the short-lived first English colony in the New World. By the 1780’s the peninsulas and islands of southern Maine had a population who depended upon the sea for their livelihoods. Spurred by the dangers their vessels could face, 55 local men petitioned the General Court of Massachusetts, of which Maine was a part, for a light on Seguin Island. The 1786 petition stated: The Island Seguin seems to be designed by Nature for this purpose, being situated at the mouth of the great River Kennebec, and being an excellent direction not only for that Harbour, but likewise for the Harbour of Falmouth, Booth-Bay, Wiscasset-Point, New Meadows, and Harpswell… Your petitioners think that if there was a Light upon this Island many Vessels would be saved from Shipwreck, and many Persons preserved from immature Deaths. In 1797 Seguin Island beamed a fixed white light over the ocean, becoming the second light station on the Maine coast. The tower, constructed of wood on a rubble stone foundation, was built 165 feet above sea level. The light is believed to have come from a circle of sixteen oil lamps without chimneys that had crude reflectors.


Major Jan Polerescki, a Polish veteran of the Revolutionary War, was hired as the first keeper at an annual salary of $300. The government expected the keeper to be self sufficient and allotted him $150 to clear land for farming. Polerescki lived without his wife on the island, and five years of isolation and extreme M I TA .O R G

Wish List MITA will gladly consider donations of anything from boats and vehicles to office equipment. Please call us at 207-761-8225 or e-mail if you would like to donate these or other items.

FOR THE office

• High-definition video camera • Nautical charts/chartbooks • Slide scanner


• Handheld chart plotter / GPS • Throwable buoyant cushions • Binoculars

FOR THE ISLANDS Seguin Island and its light. Photo: James Perkins Collection, Penobscot Marine Museum

weather there may well have caused him more hardships than his military service. Seguin’s tower and lens were destroyed or damaged repeatedly in the early decades. In 1855 Congress voted to upgrade the facility. In 1857 the stone tower that stands today was constructed and a First Order Fresnel lens installed. Seguin Light, now 186 feet above sea level, is the highest in Maine. Usually visible from about 20 miles away, one night in 1925 the steamship City of Bangor reported seeing the light from more than 47 nautical miles away. The first fog signal on Seguin was a bell that the keeper would ring by hand when a passing vessel signaled. In 1872 a steam-operated fog whistle that sounded at 52-second intervals was installed. An oil-powered horn that blew three double blasts a minute went into operation in 1931. It reportedly could be heard from 7 to 10 miles away. More than 50 keepers, including three women in the 1860s and 1870s, staffed the light station over 189 years. In 1939 the

U.S. Lighthouse Service transferred Seguin to the U. S. Coast Guard, which maintained it as a “family light” until January 1963. Coast Guard personnel continued to man it until 1985, when it was automated. The island began to come to life again in 1989, when the Friends of Seguin Island received a lease from the Coast Guard. They now own the buildings, which are on the National Register of Historic Places. They have preserved the duplex house, fog signal building and oil house at the top of the island, the boathouse and donkey house at the bottom, and the 1006-foot wooden tramway that carried coal, food, supplies, equipment, and people to the top of the tortoise’s back. During the summer they offer daily tours of the light station. A caretaker lives on the island from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Seguin, new to the Trail this year, is a fascinating place to visit. You can find out more about events related to the island, including island work parties as well as the Friends of Seguin Island SummerFest celebration, at

• Flathead rake • Spade shovel

• Heavy duty anvil loppers

• Handheld pruners / clippers • Pruning saw

Growing Up in Boats B y L au r a S e wa ll

When I was a 50-pound kid, my father built a ramp so that I could push a rowboat into the bay all by myself. By age 10 or 11, he made sure that it was a tubby sailboat, and by 12, I could shove our 10-foot aluminum “Can-Can” off the dock and repair its 3 horsepower Evinrude outboard. Soon enough, I was buzzing around the bay, exploring, fishing, singing at the top of my lungs and feeling free. I was also feeling pretty dang empowered for a lightweight teenage girl. I had discovered a “can-do” sense of myself that has stayed with me, and it may be the best gift my dear dad ever gave me.

So remember: family memberships extend to teenagers—to sons, daughters, nephews and nieces—even young ones. My nephew, Deehan, is a new member at age 14. He is a competent boater and has a Department of Marine Resources apprenticeship lobster license. I hope other young people will be out there to join Deehan this summer as he explores the coast and learns what the Maine Island Trail is all about. Our islands and our oceans are depending on them.

All of this makes me want to get kids into boats. But it’s even more important than self esteem and fun. I want them to love the water because our rivers, bays and oceans need them. The oceans are profoundly compromised and facing unprecedented challenges, like acidification and polluted storm water run-off. Humans, I believe, must love our waters back into the wild state of health and abundance that I knew as a kid; nothing less than our own wild love will be enough.

Please consider a gift to our Stewardship Fund which directly supports the islands. M I TA .O R G


2010: The Financial Year in Review

2010 was a good year for MITA and for recreation on the coast in general. The 75th Year of Maine’s State Parks was blessed with extraordinarily good weather and was, in the end, the biggest visitation year ever for the state parks system. The Maine Island Trail received unprecedented magazine coverage in 2010. The fact that none of it was solicited directly by MITA suggests that the Maine Island Trail is increasingly recognized as an integral element of the Coast of Maine. We were featured in BoatUS, Sea Kayaker, Yankee, Points East, and Maine magazines. Despite this attention, membership experienced a modest (3%) decline, but with more members opting for higher support levels we faced only a 1% drop in dues. (Happily, the spring of 2011 has seen this restored.) General contributions were up by 7%, and other income sources such as donated boat sales and sponsorships for the guidebook were either steady or increased from the prior year. Still, the sluggish economy led to declines in areas such as investment income, resulting in an overall drop in unrestricted revenue of about 5% from 2009 levels. At the same time, efforts were made to contain expenses, resulting in savings of $8,683. Staff and volunteers worked diligently to find cost savings and managed to cut publication expenses by 16% while still maintaining contact with MITA members and continuing education and outreach to the general public. Reductions to trail management and stewardship spending magnified the importance and the impact of work done by volunteers to protect the legacy of the Maine islands. Program funding supported the development of the online version of the Guide to the Maine Island Trail. Funded by a Recreational Trails Program grant, ever-popular Little Chebeague Island in Casco Bay was the target of particular focus in 2010. Work continued to develop the Trail in Cobscook Bay and Southern Maine. Importantly, however, as announced immediately after its discovery in March 2011, MITA learned that it had been the target of embezzlement by a past employee. This activity specifically manipulated our expenses, appearing on our financial statements in inflated administrative expenses. Legal efforts were pursued in both civil and criminal court. The civil charges were settled in early May 2011 with an agreement for restitution. The civil settlement does not impact the criminal case, which remains ongoing. We are pleased to report that MITA’s Board of Trustees has approved a comprehensive set of financial controls that was carefully developed and immediately implemented.


Even with the challenges we faced, MITA ended the year with a positive change in unrestricted net assets of $19,372.


Statement of Financial Position* ASSETS

FY 09

FY 10

Current Assets



Other Assets (incl Restricted Investments)



Total Assets



Capital Assets (Property & Equipment)



In 2010… • Two new skiffs were added to the Maine Island Trail fleet.

• Seven new sites were added to the Trail,

including four islands and three mainland

LIABILITIES & NET ASSETS Current Liabilities




• On the Cuckolds (Boothbay Harbor),

Net Assets



Total Liabilities & Net Assets



in conjunction with local volunteers and




• Volunteers carried 209 bags of trash off

Membership Dues & Unrestricted Contributions

Sponsorships & Contracts Events & Other

MITA islands in the spring and fall cleanup

• On Little Chebeague, nearly one mile

FY 09

FY 10







Investment Income



Net Assets released from restrictions









Total Unrestricted Revenue & Other Support



Revenue & Expenses by Area SUPPORT & REVENUE

several dozen lobster traps were removed

of hiking trails was rehabilitated and

two-thirds of a mile of new trails were

established; two acres of historic fields were reclaimed; and 10 acres of tree groves were cleared of invasive bittersweet.

• Some 7,000 members, supporters and followers received monthly emails.

• The Online Guide was launched. • The Maine Island Trail was named “Best Trail” in Maine by Downeast magazine.

EXPENSES Program Services

Fund Development & Member Recruitment Administration Total Expenses





*CPA reviewed financials are available upon request. Photos: Scienic New England Photography by Daniel Smith; Eliza Ginn.

Thank you! M I TA .O R G


An Island Engagement

The Guide That Binds

By Peter Ken lan

B y B r i a n M a r c au r e ll e

Despite its emergence in recent years as a nationally recognized waterway and a model for hundreds of imitators around the globe, the Maine Island Trail that we all know and love is surprisingly fragile in some respects. One aspect that comes to mind is the informal nature of our agreements with island owners. These handshake deals require continued trust between island owners and visitors to stay viable. If users fail to uphold their end of the bargain, landowner confidence could easily erode and the whole system would quickly unravel. That’s why we ask everyone who joins MITA to take their membership pledge very seriously. We consider it so important that we print it in bold on the first page of the MITA Trail Guide. It reads: “Through membership in MITA, you acknowledge that access to these islands is a privilege and pledge to practice responsible recreation and careful stewardship when you visit.” There are three components of the pledge that are particularly important to keep in mind.

The Privilege of Access

It is crucial that all visitors to the Maine Island Trail recognize that we are guests on another person’s land. Whether islands or mainland sites, whether privately owned or belonging to land trusts or public agencies, Trail sites will remain open for our careful enjoyment only if we treat them with respect. The right to be there belongs to the property owner and to the native flora and fauna that occupy the space. We are simply houseguests.

privileges and on the health of the islands themselves. Users may not always agree with an owner’s restrictions on use. In MITA’s experience, “no fires” and “no pets” seem to be two of the more vexing landowner requests of visitors. Particularly in places where owners seek to rein in past inappropriate use by instituting more controls, longtime visitors sometimes struggle to adapt to the changing usage parameters. The good news is that, thanks to the diversity of the Trail, there are many island destinations up and down the coast where fires and pets are welcomed. And so it really isn’t much of a hardship to comply with these restrictions on the islands where they are in place. We should respect an owner’s wishes just as we would respect a friend’s request to refrain from smoking in their home or to keep pets outdoors when visiting. On the Trail we are responsible for knowing the rules, and as MITA members we promise to follow them. Responsible recreation begins with reviewing the site descriptions in the Trail Guide before venturing out and planning our activities accordingly.

Careful Stewardship

In addition to subscribing to the Leave No Trace philosophy and treading carefully along the Trail, MITA members are asked to take their commitment one step further by actively participating in stewardship while enjoying the coast. Members are encouraged to see themselves as caretakers of the places they visit. This can mean removing shoreline flotsam or trash left by careless visitors. It might also involve serving as an ambassador for the island owner and/or MITA when you encounter others on shore. By setting a good example of respectful use and helping remind others about the importance of adhering to the owner’s wishes, members can help raise awareness and motivate behavior change in the future. The Trail Guide and the MITA website are both great resources for information about stewardship activities and opportunities to volunteer with MITA. Whether you choose to work stewardship into your own outings, volunteer for a MITA cleanup, or become an island adopter, you will be doing a tremendous service to the islands and to the Trail by introducing a stewardship element into your recreational pursuits.

Responsible Recreation

Responsible recreation on the islands means understanding and abiding by the usage guidelines for each Trail site, following Leave No Trace principles, and being safe and respectful visitors. These are simple considerations, but they have a profound impact on our visitation



Dismantling a fire ring on Ram Island, Vinalhaven. Even where fires are allowed, it is important to Leave No Trace of your visit. Photo: Eliza Ginn.

0357 AM EDT SAT NOV 6 2010 SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT UNTIL THIS AFTERNOON SEAS 5 TO 8 FT…VSBY 1 TO 3 NM. This was the forecast for Casco Bay that greeted me the morning I proposed to my fiancée. It was too late to back out. I planned to take my then-girlfriend Jessica out to Jewell Island to walk around in privacy, collect the four island logbooks, and, of course, ask her to marry me. Schemes were underway, dinner reservations were made, and over a dozen people knew about it—far more than could keep a secret for long. Still, I was cautious. Drowning wasn’t my idea of the best way to start a life together. I thought an island was the perfect place to stage this life-changing event. For me, there’s a close association between islands and soul-searching. They are authentic and honest places that set one’s perspective properly alongside the irresistible ocean and immovable granite. Jessica had already accompanied me on several Casco Bay cleanups, and I knew that I could get her out to Jewell with me without arousing too much suspicion. Just to be sure, I told her ahead of time that Eliza Ginn, MITA’s Membership and Marketing Manager, was going to join us on the trip to collect the logbooks before we put the boats away for the winter. As part of my disinformation campaign, I arranged for Eliza to call us once we were on the road to cancel because of illness. We retrieved Scoter and put in at the Falmouth Town Landing. The ride out to Jewell was a fun rollercoaster with entertainingly large long-period swells, but that changed when we tried to land on the island. The usual landing near the caretaker site was inaccessible due to high tide, storm surge, and the fact that the swells were refracting directly into Cocktail Cove. A small rowboat was tied to a tree at the

top of the bank with its owner nowhere in sight; waves were breaking in the stern and slamming it against the rocks. After a few failed attempts to land, we gave up. Being dashed to pieces like the rowboat wasn’t my idea of the best way to start a life together.

from where we wanted to go) then told him where we were going and set off at a doubled pace making (obnoxiously) loud conversation as we went. Getting shot wasn’t my idea of the best way to start a life together. We made it, uneventfully, to the south end of the island and back. When we returned to the campsite near where we left the boat, I got down on one knee, produced a ring, and asked Jessica to be my wife. I didn’t actually hear her response—all I heard was a loud buzzing noise—but she seemed excited and let me put the ring on her finger, so I took that as a “yes.”

After a few more attempts in other locations, we were finally able to go ashore on the inner side of the peninsula that forms Cocktail Cove. The tide was high and this area flats out relatively quickly, so our time on the island was limited. Getting stuck in the mud for 12 hours wasn’t my idea of the best way to start Drowning wasn’t my a life together.

The final element of the surprise was that I convinced her to let us keep our engagement a secret until after we could go to dinner to celebrate on our own. We had a reservation for dinner at the restaurant where we had our first date, and when we arrived, both of our sets of parents were already there waiting for us. It couldn’t have been a better way to start a life together.

idea of the best way to start a life together.

We set off on the Peninsula Trail, a path that would take us along the Smugglers Trail to the south end of the island and back as quickly as possible. At the second campsite we came across, there was a man sitting, wearing an orange vest, and looking out towards Cliff Island—his deer rifle propped on the bench next to him. I introduced myself and he told me that he had been making a fall hunting trip to Jewell for seven years. I assessed our situation (neither of us was wearing orange) asked him where they were hunting (the opposite side of the island

Peter Kenlan is MITA’s Development Officer

and Stewardship Manager. He and his fiancée Jessica are planning a July 2011 wedding. M I TA .O R G


And if anything, the findings probably understate the true worth of the Trail to visitors, according to Glassman. “We made a lot of assumptions that were actually very conservative,” he said. “And we’re convinced that in particular the $3.2 million figure is very low.”

Making an Impact - continued from cover

Quantifying the Benefits

These figures represent best estimates based on state-of-the-art valuation techniques, said Vilas Rao, who coauthored the study together with Jon Glassman. “Valuing an environmental resource like this is difficult because there’s no admission price,” he said. “And the trail is so long that it’s hard to do surveys of everyone who enters.”

The data suggest that the Trail is host to about 11,000 trips by individual visitors each year. (Most of these individuals visit the Trail as part of a larger group.) Sailors spent the most money on the Trail per trip, averaging about $970 per group, followed by kayakers at about $670 per group. (See the table.) Trail-related spending was highest in the Deer Isle area, followed by Casco Bay, and was lowest along the Downeast and southern coasts.

To gather credible data for their analysis, Glassman and Rao sent an online survey to some 7000 individuals from the MITA mailing list regarding their visitation and spending habits. They received 800 responses. They also analyzed data collected in 2006 as part of a census of island visitors in the Deer Isle region. Island log book entries since 2002 were the third major source of information for the study.

Cost-Cutting Climate

The findings come at a time when conservation spending is threatened by budget cuts in Augusta. And yet the data suggest that Maine’s investment in the Trail is money very well spent, Welch says.

While actual spending on the Trail could be estimated based on the responses provided by survey takers, there was no way for Glassman and Rao to directly measure what a day on the Trail is worth to individual visitors. Instead, they based their assessment of the Trail’s value on how much money people were willing to spend to travel to Maine and get out to the islands. With the appropriate refinements, that spending can be used as a kind of surrogate measure of the Trail’s worth to a given individual, the study authors said.

“The spending by Trail visitors results in more tax revenues to the state than the state spends on the Trail each year,” he noted. “That’s not even considering the much larger impact on businesses and individuals who benefit from Trail usage.” Glassman and Rao agreed that the Trail has a strong economic case to make for itself moving forward. “This economic impact is significant in a state looking towards nature-based tourism for future job growth, and we recommend that MITA leverage this fact for future grants and donations,” they wrote in the study.

This calculation method, known as the Travel Cost Method, is the gold standard technique for valuing environmental resources and is endorsed by the National Park Service.

How much do they spend? Kayak




Spending per Group





Avg Persons Days





Avg Party Size





Spending per Person Day*





* Spending per Person Day does not equal “Spending per Group” / “Avg Person Days” because visits with fewer person days tend to have higher spending per person day.



Give a Gift or Join MITA Today

Upcoming Events

Join online at Email your information to Fill out this form and mail it to: MITA, 58 Fore Street, Suite 30-3, Portland ME 04101

MITA Island Cleanups • June 4, Casco Bay

• June 11, Muscongus Bay • June 18, Stonington • June 25, Downeast

For more information or to sign up, please e-mail

Stewardship Party and Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting and Stewardship Party will take place on Thursday, August 11. For members not planning to attend the meeting, Trustee election ballots shall be conducted electronically as authorized by the MITA by-laws. Ballot information will be posted in July at and a reminder will be sent to all MITA member email addresses recorded at that time. We would request that all members provide email addresses to save mailing costs. However, if you require a paper ballot, please call the MITA office to request one at 207-761-8225.

Other Upcoming Events • June 11: Joint SMSKN/MITA Muscongus Bay Paddle (Round Pound) • July 29: Friends of Seguin Island SummerFest (Maine Maritime Museum) • July 31: 9th Annual Boatbuilders Festival (East Boothbay) • August 11: Stewardship Party and Annual Meeting • August 12-14: Maine Boat Homes and Harbors Show

More information about these MITA-related events is available at

State Parks Report Banner Year The year 2010 was the busiest of the last 20 years for Maine’s state park system. More than 2.6 million people visited Maine’s 48 state parks and historic sites last year—an 11% increase over 2009, according to the Bureau of Parks and Lands. Lamoine State Park, which is on the Trail, showed an exceptional 22% percent increase from the previous year.

More than 2.6 million people visited Maine’s 48 state parks and historic sites last year— an 11% increase over 2009. BPL officials credited the popular new Passport Program for encouraging increased interest in the parks and driving visits to lesser known destinations. (Visit www.maine. gov/doc/passportindex.shtml for more information about the Passport Program.) A summer of clear skies and balmy temperatures helped get Mainers outside to enjoy the state’s diverse portfolio of properties. The attendance figures capped a yearlong anniversary celebration for the parks system, which was founded in 1935. “Our 75th year has certainly been a banner year for all of us in Parks and Lands,” Will Harris, BPL director, said. “These attendance numbers show two things—the exceptional work and dedication of our staff, and the eagerness of Maine’s citizens and visitors to enjoy recreating in our state parks and historic sites.”

Please check one of the following: o New o Renewal, member #:

o Gift

Membership Levels o Individual member ($45) o Supporting member ($100)

o Other

o Family member ($65) o Sustaining member ($250)

o Please do not exchange my name with other organizations Address (Billing + Shipping): Name(s): .................................................................................................................................................. City: .............................................................. State: .............................................Zip: ......................... Tel: ................................................................. Email: .............................................................................. Method of payment: o Check (payable to MITA) o Visa o MC Card Number:.......................................................................................................................................... Signature:................................................... Expiration Date:............................................................ Call with questions or to join: 207-761-8225 x107 summer 2011

Get Published!

The Island Trail welcomes article submissions on boating tips and techniques, island trips, the coastal environment and wildlife, and other topics that are of interest to MITA members. For more information or to submit an article, contact Kevin Lomangino, or 207-799-6530.

Gear Is Here!

Looking for another great way to support MITA? Why not choose one that makes you look great in return? Our new line of MITA apparel includes: • Baseball and visor caps • Fleece and soft shell vests and jackets • Denim long-sleeve shirts • Polo shirts • T-shirts • Bags Product and ordering information at M I TA .O R G


than on the lovely Griffin Island shell beach. But the view straight out to sea over low, treeless Eastern Egg Rock with its small puffin colony, across to Pemaquid in the southwest and Monhegan on the southeast horizon, was spectacular.

Messing About - continued from cover

Yes, “I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.” Or, in my case, my trusty old Verlen Kruger Sea Wind solo sea canoe, my carbon bent-shaft paddle, my Ritchie compass and my beloved NOAA charts. I felt the distinct need to do some serious messing about on salt water, and why not revisit some of my favorite haunts on Muscongus Bay in Maine? “Messing about on Muscongus Bay, Maine” sounded good. It even had some very fancy literary alliteration to make up for my humble Eureka abode, canned dinner menu by Bush, Hormel, Dinty Moore and Chef Boyardee, and my coffee and cereal with fat-free powdered milk.

Up the Western Edge

Along the Eastern Edge

For the first night out I had picked tiny Griffin Island at Davis Strait, just a tad north of Benner and Allen Island. My first day’s paddle would delineate the eastern edge of Muscongus Bay. I was very familiar with this area, especially Davis Strait, because of earlier family sailing trips in our little 22’ Venture swing-keeler on the way from Port Clyde to Pemaquid Point. The St. George River is really a very wide and even longer tidal arm. It must have looked like the Northwest Passage to all the early explorers, obsessed to find that fabled route to the riches of the Orient. Champlain came looking for it up the Penobscot River in Maine (1604) as well as the St. Lawrence River in Canada, all the way up to the Lachine Rapids in Montreal, the China Rapids (1602), as did Jacques Cartier before him (1535). Captain George Waymouth (in most modern popular literature spelled with an “e”—Weymouth) checked out the St. George River in May and June of 1605, but was mostly looking for possibilities for a British settlement in the New World. I passed very picturesque inlets like Maple Juice Cove, made famous in paintings by Andrew Wyeth, and saw a most delightful tidal short-cut behind Gay Island and a handful of very ledgy-



Boulders on the shore of Black Island in Muscongus Bay. Photo: Daniel E. Smith;

looking islands between Caldwell, McGee and Thompson Island. Griffin Island and Ledge were a treeless delight. There even was a small flow-through shell beach, which made landing really easy, especially from the south at about mid tide. I saw several eagles on the way out here, also lots of eiders and loons, as I watched sailors and lobster boats and also a few pleasure craft pass through this narrow passage.

The Traverse

The next day, I opted for a big traverse of Muscongus Bay. At the anchorage between Benner and Allen Island, also known as Georges or Pentecost Harbor, I tried to recall what I had read about the early explorer Waymouth, who anchored his boat, the Archangel, here during May

and June of 1605, even celebrating mass on Pentecost Sunday on the very spot where you now find a large granite cross. (On it the name Waymouth, with an “a,” was clearly visible from my boat perch.) Since I was in such a mellow, nonpeople mood, I decided to skip some of the more touristy spots in the area and instead check out two tiny MITA islands, Bar Island at the southern tip of Louds Island, and Little Marsh, south of Marsh Island. And since Bar was taken by two young paddlers, I opted for Little Marsh, a bold, almost white ledge with two and a half spruce trees on top, offering just enough shade for my little tent. Landing and launching the next day, though, over ledges covered with seaweed, was a bit more challenging

Early the next morning I crossed Muscongus Sound to follow its western shore to Round Pond, where I had sailed many times with my family, almost always in the fog. Today was different – sunny and clear, which made everybody very friendly. The tide was also with me, and sitting in a hand-powered boat in quite sheltered water I did not have to worry about the wind, as I did in the past while sailing, tacking against the tide through the very tight, ledgestudded Hockomock Channel. I even went behind Oar Island to finally see the wooden five-masted schooner Cora Cressey, beached there on the mud flats. She was built in Bath, Maine (1902) for the coal trade, being able to haul 2193 tons, but she ended up in Boston as a floating nightclub (1938), and when that failed, she was towed to her present location and served as a lobster pound, till her sides rotted out. I could not bring myself to take a picture of the old schooner hulk. It looked so abandoned, so sad, so dilapidated, so disrespectfully disposed of, slowly rotting into the mud. They should have poured gasoline on her years ago and had a glorious bonfire instead, as the Vikings did with their boats, or they should have scuttled her far out at sea; in either case, giving a proper burial, setting her spirit free. After that I pushed on with the remaining tide all the way up to Waldoboro, and then back to the narrows of Havener Ledge, where I pulled out. A family with four kids had a friendly picnic on the beach. Answering all the questions the young kids had and showing them how all my gear worked, from my paddle, to my compass, radar reflector, wiggle stick, tent, Crazy Creek chair, and stove, was fun, being an “old teach.” I like curious people and always reward them.

MITA Sites in the Middle

The next day I planned to criss-cross the center of Muscongus Bay, ending up on Thief Island. I checked out the sites on Hungry, Strawberry and Crow Island, where I met an older solo canoeist in a short, shallow, flat-bottomed Old Town camp-style canoe, which he propelled with a set of well-worn wooden kayak paddles. He seemed to be having a great time and claimed to have paddled all over the place. I was impressed, but was glad I was sitting in my covered Kruger sea canoe instead of that nutshell. Then I enjoyed a most charming passage behind Wolsgrover and Wharton Island, but when I stuck my bow back out into the Medomak River, it got windy. Whitecaps were forming in a hurry, and I danced my way from Hog Island to Louds, using Indian Island as the last jumping-off point to Thief Island. The tide was such that I had to land on hard rock – ouch! – and had to weight my tent down from the inside before I could raise it. But soon all was fine again in that little, protected, sumac grove campsite. Coffee and hot cocoa and eventually my culinary friend Dinty Moore lifted my spirits.

Friendship and the Islands to the South

After a detour up into Friendship Harbor, I swung back around to Black Island, where I had to land on the rocks between two huge erratics on the northeast side, where you see those

lovely lilac bushes up on shore. The weather report for the next few days did not sound very promising: strong northeasterlies with heavy rain starting about 10 a.m. It was time to get off the bay. I was suddenly done. I had sniffed enough salt air, even tasted some salt water on my lips, danced enough to feel good and excited, but never out of control. It was a perfect six-day loop through the island world of Muscongus. All I had to do now was power my way 14.5 miles up the St. George River with the tide, but against the wind, back up to Thomaston, where I was to meet my wife Nancy at high noon, as usual.


Eighty-four mostly leisurely miles in six days (14 miles/day on average in 4.1 hrs/ day)—a much gentler pace than my usual 25 miles/day, when I am on a real trip to somewhere. On all MITA sites I was always alone. I saw only three other boaters in six days. Even in late August, the ocean is still not over-crowded, because it does take an effort to get out, always, and some skill, strength, but especially prudence to know when to persevere or when to quietly quit and pull out. You, too, keep paddling, be safe and enjoy. More of Reinhard’s seafaring adventures, from the St. Lawrence to the Shetland Islands, are recounted on his website, www.zollitschcanoeadventures. com. We welcome trail tales from other members; send your ideas or your manuscripts to

Reinhard alongside the dock in Thomaston. M I TA .O R G


New Signage and Web Content for Little Chebeague Thanks to an infrastructure grant from the Maine Humanities Council with matching support provided by the Casco Bay Island Development Association and private contributions, MITA will create and install interpretive signage on Little Chebeague Island this summer and develop website content to enable further exploration at home and in the classroom. Additional funding by the Maine Historical Society will enable MITA to review and preserve the work of long-time island caretaker Richard Innes, who has painstakingly documented Little Chebeague’s history. The new signage and web material will build on Innes’ work to encourage thoughtful reflection on the adaptive reuse of this cherished Casco Bay resource. For more information or to volunteer to help, please contact project coordinator Erno Bonebakker at

Left: Caretaker Dick Innes inspects an interpretive sign in 1994.

Please consider a gift to our Stewardship Fund which directly supports the islands.

MITA.ORG 207.761.8225 PORTLAND, Maine 04101 58 Fore Street, Suite 30-3 MAINE ISLAND TRAIL ASSOCIATION



Summer 2011  

Our newsletter has an overview of the 2010 financial report, stewardship going local, and a story about growing up on boats, followed by Seg...

Summer 2011  

Our newsletter has an overview of the 2010 financial report, stewardship going local, and a story about growing up on boats, followed by Seg...