The Island Trail T H E N E W S L E T T 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 W I N T E R 2 0 1 2
A Tradition Worth Handing Down BY R I KKA WOMMAC K
For Aaron Paul, MITA runs in the family. His parents joined MITA in the early 1990s, shortly after its inception, and raised their family as members who paddled, sailed and motored around the islands of Penobscot Bay. This year, Aaron, now in his first year at Yale’s School of Forestry, signed up for his own membership, and is happy to carry on the family tradition. “More than anywhere else I’ve ever lived, it feels like home. The promise of returning to Maine fills me with a kind of excitement that I don’t get anywhere else,” Aaron says about continuing his family’s relationship with MITA. The Paul family grew up in Brunswick and spent their summers on Vinalhaven at the family cottage. They were avid boaters, spending time on the water in sailboats, kayaks, and power boats. Aaron recalls fond memories of islandhopping around the Fox Islands in a skiff whose hull was “about as thick as a Coke can,” as well as family overnights on the islands around Vinalhaven and North Haven. continue on page 11.
In This Issue CABIN FEVER ANTIDOTES.. ............................ 3 ISLAND REMNANTS OF WWII....................... 6 SUMMER OF STEWARDSHIP.. ........................ 8 CROSSING THE CAPE.................................... 13 SPRINT TO STONINGTON............................. 14
DRA’s Steve Spencer with Brian Marcaurelle at the Huston Landing preserve. Photo credit: Maria Jenness.
New Bonds in an Enduring Partnership
Damariscotta River Association Adds 5 New Sites to Trail B Y L E E B U M ST E D
Does the name “Steve Spencer” ring a bell? Longtime liaison to MITA from the Maine Division of Parks and Public Lands (DPPL), recipient of our 2006 Margaret C. Emerson Stewardship Award, former board member? Left Maine in 2007 to go to the South Pacific and Alaska? Well, he’s back! Steve first got involved with MITA before it was even MITA. He recalls helping Dave Getchell break ice at the launch ramp in Milbridge one cold day in December, 1986. They needed to get a skiff out and look at islands for a water trail that was under consideration. For nearly 20 years, Steve helped create a strong partnership between DPPL, where he worked as a recreation specialist, and MITA. When he returned to Maine, Steve found another opportunity to work on coastal protection and recreational access. He became Stewardship Director for the Damariscotta River Association (DRA). Once again, Steve is collaborating with his friends at MITA. continue on page 4.
M I TA .O R G
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 I TA B O A R D O F T R U ST E E S Peter Adams, Yarmouth, ME Kelly Boden, Portland, ME Dan Carr, Dayton, ME Nicole Connelly, Falmouth, ME Kathy Eickenberg, Liberty, ME Mark Fasold, Yarmouth, ME Tom Franklin, Portland, ME Lindsay Hancock, Gray, ME Kathryn Henry, Waitsfield, VT Rodger Herrigel, Phippsburg, ME Liz Incze, Cumberland Foreside, ME Cindy Knowles, Yarmouth, ME Melissa Paly, Kittery, ME Joan Smith, Portland, ME Bill Weir, Bar Harbor, ME Jeremy Wintersteen, Boston, MA
STA F F
We had found a cheap rental that was neither on the water nor close to the Ferry dock. But the unheated 1900 cottage was wonderfully rustic with just enough furnishings to support quality summertime living.
Doug Welch • firstname.lastname@example.org Executive Director
Nan Cumming • email@example.com Campaign Director Greg Field • firstname.lastname@example.org Director of Finance & Operations
Maria Jenness • email@example.com Stewardship Manager
Peter Kenlan • firstname.lastname@example.org Director of Annual Giving & Information Systems Kevin Lomangino • email@example.com Newsletter Editor Brian Marcaurelle • firstname.lastname@example.org Program Director
Emma Pope-Welch • email@example.com Membership Manager Rikka Wommack • firstname.lastname@example.org Membership Services Associate Pro-bono newsletter design services by Jillfrances Gray : www.jfg.com JFG Graphic Design|Creative 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 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 58 Fore Street, 30-3 Portland, ME 04101 (207) 761-8225 • email@example.com
Vol. 23 2
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Like most working parents, my wife and I are always on the lookout for ways to simplify our life. At the same time, we are also always on the lookout for possibilities of adventure. And so this past July we decided that rather than take a vacation for which neither of us had sufficient time accrued, we would take an inverse “staycation”—moving our family temporarily to Peaks Island in Casco Bay but continuing to work in town.
Once our invasion was complete, we converted quickly to island life and enjoyed it immensely. Living in the city, my 12-year-old daughter is not accustomed to being able to bike solo at any point in the day to anyplace it can carry her. She quickly learned the joys of independence, even when they involved running an errand to the store. There was no TV. She went back in time. Island life provided less tangible but equally liberating experiences for my wife and me as well. Looking back at one’s city and home provides a mirror upon one’s life. Seeing it from the water or a distant shore provides a certain clarity of perspective. It highlights the beauty over the mundane details. It made us feel incredibly lucky for what we have on-shore, and for the ability to leave it for a while.
Rather than relying on We were treated to the ferry, we used our walks on the beach, 17-foot Boston Whaler spectacular sunsets, and Looking back at one’s for transportation. The simple meals at home. city and home provides We also discovered house was located near a mirror upon one’s a waterfront club with that on Peaks Island, a dock and moorings it never rains. At least life. It made us feel available to rent. This not that week. Soon incredibly lucky for was key to the entire we were fantasizing, what we have on-shore, arrangement. We used as people always seem and for the ability to the boat every morning to do on vacation, to get to work and every about the possibility of leave it for a while. evening to get back. moving to the island We kept the car on the permanently. But unlike mainland for my wife to such fantasies from drive to work. As it turned out, it took other states or countries, that are always me no longer to get to work from the dashed by practical concerns about jobs island than it normally does on foot and green cards, this time it seemed from my house. more realistic. We were already doing it. Wanting to live simply, of course, we brought only the most elemental belongings. Three giant suitcases, totes, the contents of our refrigerator and other groceries for a week, the dog, three bicycles, and a full-sized electronic piano for my daughter to practice on. And, yes, we moved all of this to the island in the Boston Whaler. Two trips. Simple indeed.
So we chatted with friends on the island about what it was like to be there permanently throughout the year. The winters, the ferry, the inconveniences. The early rising for the boat to get to school on time, the hassles of on-shore parking, the lack of grocery options. Nothing simple about any of that. They concluded that island living by definition is intentional living.
Cabin Fever: Members Share Their Antidotes BY EMMA POPE-WELC H
As you read this issue, winter is still fairly new. Our gardens have been harvested, warm clothing is a part of our daily routine, and for most of us our boats have been pulled out and we look forward to next spring for making more memories on the Trail. There are, however, many hardy MITA members who travel the Trail year-round. They see waters and wildlife in a different light and we thought it might be fun to learn more.
The rustic 1900 cottage we rented on Peak’s Island.
Nobody would do it unless their livelihood depended on it, or unless something else highly compelling drew them to it. I certainly cannot claim that leading MITA requires me to live on an island. But I certainly felt the pull of a smaller place, a sharply-defined and tightly-knit community. A lifestyle where inconvenience necessitates at least a modicum of simplicity. We also learned that off-season rentals are dramatically cheaper than in the summertime. In fact, an entire month in the off-season can be cheaper than a week in the summertime. And so as I write this, my wife and daughter are squeezing a few last groceries into the remaining cubic inches of our car. They are headed to the car ferry, and I by bike to the Whaler, to meet on the other side and begin an offseason month of island living.
We caught up with John Eastman, a MITA member since the beginning, in Rockport. John doesn’t spend his winters directly on the Trail, but he has found a way to sail in Maine year-round. John, a self-proclaimed wharf rat, tells me he spends the off season continuing to boat. How? Ice boating. John is part of the Chickawakee Ice Boat Club, which is comprised of about 100 members from across New England. “With many lakes being watched for optimum conditions,” John says, “the word goes out and folks converge to sail!” Sounds cool! Just up Route 1 in Lincolnville lies a little shop that bustles all summer long. Owners Thor Emory and Chris Laughlin
are sharing, among many sports, the fast growing sport of paddle boarding with tourists and locals alike. They even hosted an entertaining paddle board jousting competition at this year’s Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors Show. Thor and Chris are yet another set of MITA members who don’t let the winter slow them down – they keep paddle boarding and kayaking throughout the colder months. I first met Thor on a brisk winter’s day after he had done a quick paddle to Rockland and back. He suggested we chat about MITA over coffee. Understandably, he needed a “warm-up.” Many paddling members hit the Trail throughout the year, including two of our very own Trustees. Bill Weir is renowned for paddling the waters of Mount Desert Island 12 months of the year. Dan Carr, a southern Maine paddler who has done the entire Trail in one shot, is another avid cold-weather kayaker. He says that “if you choose warmer days with little wind, you can be rewarded by views illuminated by low angle light giving the land and seascapes and the winter waterfowl a special glow to shake off the winter darkness.”
We should be back in our mainland home by the time this reaches your mailbox. Then again, you never know! Have you ever had your perspective changed by spending time on an island, whether in Maine or elsewhere? If so, The Island
Trail would love to hear about it. Send your submissions of 700 words or less to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Iceboating with a view Mt. Katahdin. Photo credit: Bill Buchholz, www.iceboat.me M I TA .O R G
continued from page 1.
Leader Among Land Trusts
The DRA was an early supporter of the Maine Island Trail. In 1994, they took a considerable leap of faith by becoming the first land trust to put one of their islands, Hodgsons, on the Trail. The concept was a hit: 11 other land trusts have followed the DRA’s lead by adding more than 40 of their properties to the Trail network. DRA added a second island, Carlisle, four years ago. Dodge Point, a mainland property they manage for DPPL, is also on the Trail. While Steve was at DPPL, he worked closely with DRA as they developed the management plan for Dodge Point. “One of the nice things about working with DRA,” says Steve, “is they are incredibly creative and focused. They make things happen and have the follow-through to get things done.” The DRA was established in 1973 to monitor the river’s water quality and advocate for the health of its watershed. Steve describes their current work in habitat protection, scenic protection, and environmental education as an outgrowth of those early efforts. Today they protect 22 miles of freshwater and saltwater shoreline, and close to 3000 acres on mainland and island properties. Their many volunteers are active in stewardship of their preserves and in community outreach.
Partnering for Access
Steve is delighted that DRA will be listing more of their coastal preserves in next year’s MITA guidebook for day use. “We’re interested in folks accessing and enjoying these properties, and a great way to get to them is from the water,” he says. Steve feels these five mainland sites, which are open to the general public, should hold particular interest for MITA members. Three of the sites are on the Damariscotta River and two others are on the neighboring Johns River. 4
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The DRA preserves at Plummer Point and Seal Cove are near existing DRA-owned Trail sites at Hodgsons (marked Menigawum/Stratton on the map) and Carlisle (Big Huckleberry) Islands.
He suggests boaters “plan to visit several preserves in a day. Leave on the dropping tide and return on the flood.” Huston Landing 1740 is less than one mile south of downtown Damariscotta on the east side of the river. The 10-acre preserve has 400 feet of shore frontage and is easily accessed on the top half of the tide. It was part of a land grant given to the Dodge family in 1740; descendants of the original family made the donation to DRA. Visitors are asked to keep off the steep gravel banks of a small barred island found there.
Plummer Point Cove is just north and east of Hodgsons Island. Steve says it has “a nice network of hiking trails through oak, softwood, steep ledgy ground, and an old quarry site.” Those in small boats can land at any tide. The DRA wants to make it easier for boaters to find their preserves and land at them. “We’ve had good success at Dodge Point, where we have a dock,” says Steve. “While we won’t have docks at other properties, we have identified good places to come ashore with canoes, kayaks, or dinghies at Huston Landing
and at Plummer Point.” Shorefront access points will be identified with 6” x 6” signs bearing the DRA heron logo. The third new Damariscotta River listing is the Seal Cove Shore preserve, south of Hodgsons. Until DRA volunteers build a trail on the property, arrival by water on the top half of the tide is the best approach.
Off the Beaten Path
Over on the North Branch of the Johns River are the McLaughlin and Swanson preserves. “You can launch at Fort Pemaquid and paddle north in sheltered waters,” notes Steve. “It’s very scenic up in there.” These preserves open up a section of the coast for day visits that might otherwise be overlooked by MITA members, as there aren’t any Trail islands nearby. This trip should be made on the top half of the tide. For boaters intrigued by these preserves and other mainland sites, Steve suggests a visit to the DRA headquarters in Damariscotta, where they can purchase “Midcoast Trails.” DRA and seven other land trusts in the area created this 143-page guide. Another reference available is “A Small Craft Explorer’s Map and Guide.” You might even get a chance to say “welcome back” to Steve while you are there. To learn more about membership and volunteer opportunities with the Damariscotta River Association, go to www.damariscottariver.org.
Fall Cleanup in Stonington Supports Small-Scale Rescue Operation In the midst of their cleanup work, erstwhile MITA volunteers noted a small vessel in distress off Sheep Island. The square-rigged ketch’s 9” foam hull was expertly fashioned from a modified lobster buoy. The only crew in evidence was a fearsome if jaundiced Lego pirate who, with battle axe firmly in hand, protested the rescue with a glare. While high seas had stripped his one cannon from its gun-carriage, his blood-red sails and rigging were otherwise intact. The vessel was identified only by the name Brendan and a Pennsylvania phone number. When reached on his cell phone (during school hours), 14-year-old Brendan was thrilled to hear that his micro-vessel had successfully navigated the Deer Island Thoroughfare for several weeks. MITA staff are pleased to provide winter dry dockage to both vessel and crew and think Brendan has a promising future as a Maine ship-builder.
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Little Chebeague Remnant Recalls Wartime Past B Y K E V I N LO M A N G I N O
As far as beachfront architecture goes, the rust-encrusted steel box on Little Chebeague’s east-facing shoreline leaves plenty to be desired. “It’s an eyesore,” admits MITA Program Director Brian Marcaurelle. “There’s no way to sugarcoat it.” Then again, Marcaurelle notes, aesthetics weren’t exactly a priority for those who erected the structure some 70 years ago, during the height of World War II. With its ships facing a growing threat of surface, aerial, and submarine assault across the globe, the United States Navy needed sailors who could contain the shipboard fires that often resulted from such attacks. Firefighting training structures, such as the one on Little Chebeague, were erected in more than 100 locations worldwide to help provide the critical know-how.
The training structure on Little Chebeague (above) and a Navy firefighting school in Warwick, Rhode Island (below), showing how the structure would have been used during training. Both are pictured circa 1943. Photos courtesy of the National Archives of Boston.
The goal was to make “every sailor a firefighter” by “taking the fear of fire out of the sailor” through realistic training, according to MITA member Erno Bonebakker, who has researched the history of the building. Instructors would deliberately set an oil fire inside the structure, which was modeled on a ship’s machinery compartment, Bonebakker explained. Students would brave the flames and learn to douse the fire with a fog of high-pressure seawater. During the final two years of the war, some 15,000 sailors were trained at the Little Chebeague firefighting school alone. With materials collected from the National Archives in Boston, Bonebakker has prepared an online exhibit that explores the firefighting school’s history and contributions to the war effort. Supported by a Community Mobilization grant from the Maine Historical Society, it’s available for viewing online at the Society’s digital museum, the Maine Memory Network. 6
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(Go to www.mainememory.net and search on “Little Chebeague” or simply Google “Chebeague firefighting.”) Over the past several years, Bonebakker has also coordinated efforts to widen Little Chebeague’s paths, clear invasive plants, and update educational signage around the island. As part of that ongoing initiative, MITA volunteers last summer erected kiosks that will feature historical details and other information about the current management of the property.
The idea, says Marcaurelle, is to try to provide more texture to the recreational experience for visitors. While many Trail islands are widely appreciated for their beauty and as a home for wildlife, their role in human events is less well known. “If you didn’t know the history, you might wonder why MITA hasn’t removed that rusty old box from the beach,” he said. “But when you understand the story, it adds a new dimension to the visitor experience.”
Volunteers Help Repel Invasive Plants BY MARIA J EN N ESS
Managing invasive species has become an increasingly important aspect of MITA’s stewardship activities during recent years. Although there are only a handful of islands where invasives are a real problem, early detection and rapid response are essential to ensuring that these species do not become established and get beyond our control. This has led us to take a more proactive stance in monitoring for invasive plant species on a Trail-wide scale. This summer, member Erno Bonebakker and I compiled an invasive species “crib sheet” that includes what we determined to be the five major species of concern on Maine’s coastal islands. This guide helps identify the plants, gives tips for how to control them, and lists what to do if you find them on an island. Success stories of recent invasives work include the eradication of a bittersweet patch on Sellers Island and a large barberry infestation on Hungry Island. Volunteer island adopters helped with the initial removal, and continue to be instrumental in monitoring for and removing any new sprouts.
Engaging the next generation in invasives control: Erno Bonebakker’s grandson, Henry Bonney, 7, of London, England, is pictured after clipping bittersweet with his brother Charlie, 10, in Casco Bay. Photo credit: Erno Bonebakker.
Little Chebeague Island is heavily overgrown with multiple invasive species, most notably Asiatic bittersweet. While it is beyond early detection and into the intensive management stage, we were able to make tremendous headway this season on Little Chebeague and other islands thanks to the many volunteer groups that came out.
These included IDEXX, Cole Haan, Rippleffect, Waynflete, Fluid Imaging Technologies, North Yarmouth Academy, Take Action Portland and several Boy Scout groups. I will be planning a series of invasive plant work days on islands for the 2013 season. Email email@example.com if you would like a copy of the crib sheet or to sign up to be notified of work days next season.
Field Tips for Invasive Species Control
If you see any of these plants on the Trail, please contact the MITA office before taking any action to remove the plant. In most cases, we need permission from the island owner before starting any removal work or other management, and we need to confirm that the plant is an invasive before we approach the owner with such requests. The crib sheet discussed in the main article has more detailed information about identifying and removing these invasive plants. Invasive
Black swallowwort (a.k.a. dog-strangle vine)
Perennial vine, single non-branching stem dies back annually, to 6’
Dense woody shrub with numerous arching, spine-bearing branches, 3-6’
Deciduous vine, climbs by twining, to 50’
Japanese knotweed (a.k.a. Mexican bamboo)
Robust perennial herb emerges early. Large hollow stems turn chestnut brown, may remain standing for most of winter. Forms dense thickets, 3-9’
Upright deciduous shrub, branches spread widely, older stems with hollow pith (cut to see), 3-16’
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2012: A Summer of Stewardship
In 2012, volunteers were out on the islands in force to help monitor conditions, clear trash, and maintain trails and campsites. Here are a few examples of the tremendous work you accomplished on the Trail this year!
Chainsaw Trail Work
A combination of winter storms and aging spruce stands on islands has led to numerous blowdowns on MITA sites in recent years. These downed trees sometimes land in inconvenient or hazardous locations within campsites. In order to increase our capacity to handle these projects, MITA hosted a chainsaw safety course in July, which was appropriately held on a Trail island! Six members, including volunteers, board and staff, participated in this intensive two-day course. Shortly after the course, the chainsaw skills were put to use for a work day in the Deer Isle area to clear some blowdowns that had been on the project list for a few years.
Stew ar Chris dship M an T techn adema-W ager Ma ria Je ique ielan n s on. P hoto while ch dt (botto ness (top m a Cred ) it: M insaw in ) practic and volu aria Jenn structor e differe nteer n P ess a nd B ete Tracy t rian Marc looks aure lle.
Unity Service Project on Monroe
Unit y main College v ol la Phot nd after unteers g o cre a dit: M service etting re a d aria Jenn ay on Pe dy to hea nobs ess. cot B d back to ay. the
8 M I TA .O R G
Each fall, Unity College engages new students in outdoor-oriented service projects through its NOVA program. According to Jessica Steele, Director of the Outdoor Adventure Center at Unity, these trips are designed to support the transition to college life while promoting environmental stewardship. The program encourages students to give back to the wild and scenic places they are exploring. This year, Jessica contacted MITA about a service project as part of an islandfocused NOVA trip. Nine students and two leaders spent a day doing trail work on Monroe Island in Penobscot Bay, clearing existing trails and cutting new ones.
Kiosks on Little Chebeague
Little Chebeague Island in Casco Bay has a rich history as a 19th century resort and World War II training and recreation post. With funding from the Maine Humanities Council, MITA hopes to make this history a more integrated part of the visitor experience. Toward that end, volunteers erected two informational kiosks that will focus on the island’s unusual past, as well as current management initiatives.
Volu nt on Li eers Tom ttle C C hebe arr and B ague . Pho ill Mozak to cre dit: R construct ikka i Wom ng kiosk s mack .
The annual spring and fall regional island cleanups allow us to remove large amounts of shoreline debris from numerous islands in just a single day. An exciting development for the fall cleanups was that MITA obtained permission to collect intact lobster buoys, which we’ve previously had to leave behind. Fishing gear such as buoys or traps is private property, and Marine Patrol permission must be obtained to remove it. With that permission granted, we worked with the local harbormasters in each region to find a central location to leave the gear so that lobstermen could reclaim and reuse it. Feedback from lobstermen in Stonington was particularly positive, and we’re looking forward to continuing this relationship. Background photo credit: Lauren Dietlin.
Mari n Bill M a Mozak (to o full o zak, find p), daug h s the f tras only ter of vol h du Phot ring unte place o cre t er d h t i Volu ntee t: Maria e Muscon o sit on a monitor Jenn rs (be s g Fish u s ess. Bay c boat com kipper low) & loa in leanu a lar Wildlife p in J g back ge-sc boat d trash a une. al d n Phot o cre e island uring Cle d derelic clean dit: B t trap an W rian u Marc p effort aters Cle s into the a arou aure nd M n Shores US lle. , ount Dese rt Isl and.
M I TA .O R G 9
The Maine Island Trail Association is grateful to the individuals, businesses, and foundations who made gifts for annual operations in the fiscal year that ended on 9/30/12. Those among our 3,467 members as of that date whose gifts reached $100 or more are listed below. We have tried to be completely accurate in compiling this list and we apologize for any unintentional errors or omissions and ask that you help us correct any mistakes. If you notice one, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and help us get it right! The Maine Island Trail Association recognizes the extraordinary generosity of our Trailblazers, individuals whose annual operating gifts reached $1,000 or more for the fiscal year ending 9/30/2012. Anonymous Dr. & Mrs. Robert Barchi Donna & Greg Barmore Richard M. Barton Roger Berle Carl & Pat Bredenberg Willard W Brown Jr Scott Camlin & Beth Uptegrove Daniel & Pamela Carr George Cogan & Mary Frances Allen Madeleine G. Corson $25,000+ Arcadia Charitable Trust $10,000+ Davis Conservation Foundation GE Foundation Virginia Wellington Cabot Foundation $2,500+ Charles L Read Foundation L.L. Bean Inc Sand Dollar Foundation $1,000+ The Gale Foundation Lucy Foundation WestWind Foundation $500-$999 David F Allen & Leann Diehl Joel Antolini & Meeghan McLain Bangor Savings Bank Jim & Ellen Banks Stephen & Paula Birmingham Peter & Sofia Blanchard Kelly Boden Cameron & Patricia Bright Dr. Bobbie Brown Cabot Creamery Mary M. & Thomas D. Cabot, Jr. Stephen & Maria Cashin Mr & Mrs Archibald Cox Jr Allerton Cushman Jr Diversified Business Communications Michael P & Jan Douglass
Mazie Livingston Cox Sara Crisp & Gregg Lipton J Martin Devine Richard M Engel & Barbara Chilmonczyk Mark & Patricia Fasold Scotty Folger J Thomas Franklin & Anna Ginn James B. Gagnon, M.D. & Margaret Hausman Patty & Fred Green Harriette & Peter Griffin
Elizabeth Ehrenfeld Matthew Faulkner & Alice Grant Forster Family Foundation Suzanne Fox & Moritz Hansen Mark Goff & Anne Powelson Mr. & Mrs. Herbert H Gowen II Peter Graham Karen Hartman Mr. & Mrs. Edmund L. Harvey, Jr Joseph Higdon & Ellen Sudow Norm Hildreth Elizabeth & Lewis Incze Mark Isaacson & Family Anthony & Hilary Jessen Johnson-Wortham Family Geoffrey & Anne Lafond George R Lucas Maine Historical Society Dana & Alison Martin Martinâ€™s Point Health Care Emsbo-Mattingly Family Monty Montano & Alan Mountjoy Eric & Linda Murphy James Owen Richard J Perry & Elaine Carlson Peter H Robinson Mr & Mrs Martin G. Rosansky Jean-Andre & Vicki Rougeot Ann Rougle Jack & Patricia Shepherd Walter Slocombe & Ellen Seidman Ann Sonnenfeld & Family The New York Community Trust John & Julia Ver Ploeg Roderick & Lori Vogel
Morris Hancock & Linda Peyton Rodger & Jillian Herrigel Dr & Mrs George Higgins Jon & Charlotte Lawton William & Gail Legge Mark Mason Heather M McCargo & Brian McNiff Cornelius & Suzanne McGinn Halford & Annie Park Michael Perry & Christine Wolfe Sara Pierce
Chuck & Anne Vose Howie & Sue Wemyss $250-$499 Peter & Elizabeth Adams David & Holly Ambler Mr. & Mrs. James M Anderson Walt Bailey Bar Harbor Savings & Loan Penelope & William Bardel Richard Birns & Madeleine Sann David A & Maureen E Bluett Laura Blutstein & Charles Duncan Gregory Bowes & Alice Albright Alexander K Buck Jr Carrine Burns & Pete Bouman Mrs Edmund B Cabot Mary Callanan W Morgan Churchman Thomas M Claflin II Susanne & Benjamin Clark Katherine & Thomas Clements Les & Joyce Coleman Nicole & John Connelly M.B. & Mary M. Converse Linzee & Beth Coolidge David Coulter & Susan Weeks, The Ayco Company Robert & Norma Davee Paul & Linda Demers Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation Charles & Marylee Dodge Peter Edwards Bayard C Ewing Joseph Faber & Family
Robert & Marietta Ramsdell Karl Sims & Pattie Maes Daniel Smith Cynthia Sortwell MD Steven J. Szarawarski Joan P Tilney Diane T & Ian R Walker Gregory W Welch & Ann Lewnes Jeremy R Wintersteen Julia Wormser & Frederick Small
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Sea Change: Multiple Threats to Coastal Shellfish B Y K E V I N LO M A N G I N O
Shellfisherman increasingly report a troubling phenomenon in mudflats across the state of Maine: the absence of clams and other shellfish from areas that had historically yielded productive harvests. One of the causes, according to scientists, is acidification, or a reduction in the pH level of the water. The decreases in pH are small but potentially enough to have a negative impact on shellfish. “It’s well documented now that we see pH levels that are causing larval shellfish to die, and in relatively large numbers,” Mark Green, an oyster grower and marine science professor at St. Joseph’s College in Standish, told the Bangor Daily News last year. “And the pH projections in the future are [much more acidic than] what’s been seen in laboratories to cause massive die-offs.” Shellfish are especially sensitive to pH changes because their shells are made of calcium carbonate, which dissolves easily in acid. Only under higher-pH (less acid) conditions can young shellfish leach the calcium they need to grow shells out of the surrounding water.
Industrial Emissions at Fault
The global rise in carbon dioxide emissions is a major culprit behind ocean acidification, according to experts. “As the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases, the amount of carbonic acid in rainwater and ocean water will also increase, resulting in increased acidity of rainfall and oceans,” notes a fact sheet from the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR). “Over the past 100 years, the pH of ocean water has decreased from 8.16 to about 8.07 today.”
made of calcium, also face a grave threat from acidification—as do the marine creatures that depend on them. An invasive shellfish predator, the green crab, is another well recognized threat to Maine shellfish populations—as is local stormwater runoff. Nitrogen typically gets flushed into coastal waters from fertilized lawns and sewage discharges. The extra nitrogen promotes the growth of algae, which eventually dies and sinks to the bottom. Its decomposition triggers the release of even more carbon dioxide, which further acidifies the mud.
DMR biologists have said it is unclear if lower pH, or some other factor such as fluctuations in salinity, is responsible for the recent shellfish decline. The state has just two staff members to keep tabs on about 150,000 acres of intertidal flats, limiting their ability to understand the problem.
The combination of several different stressors seems to be too much for local shellfish to handle, says Tom Kay, a Marine Warden who monitors clamflats for the Town of Freeport. He estimated that the size of productive clamdigging flats had declined by about 50% in Freeport over the past 10 years.
Nevertheless, a recent study concluded that the earth’s oceans are acidifying at a rate faster than at any point during the last 300 million years. The study authors noted that coral reefs, which are
“The amount of housing development has increased, which leads to increased use of fertilizer that runs off into the water,” he said. “The green crabs are clearly a problem, too.”
What Can Be Done? Reducing greenhouse gas emissions may be the only long-term solution to the oceans’ growing pH imbalance. But researchers are looking at ways to buy more time for the local shellfish population. Mark Green, of St. Joseph’s College, says that disposing of shucked clamshells back onto the mudflats seems to increase the viability of young shellfish. The shells are high in calcium that may help neutralize the acid in the mud. There are also plans afoot to try to market the invasive green crabs as seafood (see “Freeport to Counter Green Crab Invaders” on following page). Another approach is to encourage homeowners to reduce the amount of fertilizers and pesticides they use on their lawns. That will limit the nitrogen runoff that promotes shellfish-killing mud acidification, according to the Yardscaping Initiative, a partnership involving dozens of organizations and businesses concerned about the issue. Their tips for a “truly” green lawn include: • Water deeply, only once or twice a week, to penetrate the soil. • Mow high. Cutting grass at 3 inches encourages longer, stronger roots. • Leave clippings, nature’s fertilizers. • Take a soil test to see what nutrients, if any, your lawn needs. • Fertilize frugally. If you must fertilize, wait until the end of summer. Lawns older than ten years generally don’t need lawn chemicals. • Overseed thin patches with fescue grasses to crowd out weeds.
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Scallops and other shellfish are threatened by acidification and invasive predators. Photo credit: Daniel Carr.
More information is available at www.yardscaping.org.
Freeport to Counter Green Crab Invaders The European green crab, an invasive species that feeds on mussels, scallops, and clams, has been found in North America for almost 200 years. The cold water of the Gulf of Maine has helped to contain the infestation locally for most of that time. However, recent warm winters, coupled with a decrease in finfish predators, have made Maine a more inviting place for the voracious crustacean to call home. That’s one reason for a stark decline in productive shellfish beds in southern Maine, says Chad Coffin, President of the Maine Clammers Association. “We’re seeing lesser amounts of juvenile clams in what were once productive flats,” he told Maine Public Radio recently. Not coincidentally, green crabs are now visible in numbers that were previously unheard of. In an attempt to turn the tide, Freeport has become the first municipality in Maine to launch a shellfish conservation commission. According to the Portland Press Herald, the town plans to spend up to $500,000 over five years to staff the program, conduct studies, and
purchase nets and other gear needed to trap the invasive crabs. The plan is for the trapped crabs to be deposited in a local landfill for composting. In addition, shellfish dealers are exploring opportunities to market the edible crab as seafood. Americans have not yet acquired a taste for green crabs, and are more likely to use them as bait. However, the website eattheinvaders.org, which advocates “fighting invasive species, one bite at a time,” claims that softshell green crabs are delicious either sautéed in butter or batter-dipped and fried. The major challenge is locating the crabs when they are between shells—the best time to make a meal out of them. “Blue crabs have physical cues that enable crabbers to predict when they’re about to molt, but few people can detect this moment in green crabs,” according to the site. “I have been fortunate to discover a few softies in my exploration of the intertidal zone in Maine, but molting crabs are generally retiring when they’re in this vulnerable stage and difficult to find.”
The European green crab. Photo Credit: Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez via Wikipedia.
A Tradition...continued from page 1.
He also recalls attending a MITA annual meeting on Warren Island as a 12- year-old (which no doubt was far less exciting than the boat ride over from Lincolnville!). Despite his enviable summers and proximity to this fantastic resource, it wasn’t until Aaron began taking more extended sailing and paddling trips in his teens that he began to develop his own relationship with the Maine coastline outside of his family’s summer vacations. Developing that personal connection to Maine’s environment has been key to maintaining a multi-generational tradition of MITA membership, he says. “Ultimately, my family is drawn back because the coast means something different to each of us.”
“Ultimately, my family is drawn back because the coast means something different to each of us.” Aaron also spoke of exploring the coast by kayak and feeling as if he were the first person to discover it. He points out that each year, the Maine coastline gets increasingly split up into private parcels with less and less access for the public. “It’s highly important to keep the Trail open,” he says, so that future generations will still be able to experience a wild, unspoiled coastline for the first time. As the Maine Island Trail Association enters its 25th year, the staff, board, and broader community hope to see more stories like the Pauls’ of multigenerational commitment to Maine’s wild islands. Families that instill an appreciation for the Maine coast help to ensure that the islands will always have a community to care for them. Aaron is living proof: when asked if he anticipates remaining an active part of MITA in the future, he answers, “Naturally.” M I TA .O R G
Tr u s t e e P r o f i l e
Board Chair to Focus on Long-term Sustainability B Y K E V I N LO M A N G I N O
More so than many of us, Liz Incze has had her destiny shaped by the granite of Maine’s islands. Every summer during her childhood, Liz’s large family would pile into a van and trek from distant Rochester, New York, to Hermit Island near Small Point. And it was there, at the age of 13, that she first met her husband-to-be, Lew. The two maintained a friendship for many years before revealing the true extent of their feelings for one another. Three days after they embarked on a trip up the coast together, Lew decided to propose marriage, and Liz accepted. “It was clear in hindsight that there was something there all along,” Liz says. “Both our parents claimed that they knew we were meant for each other from the moment we first met.” It’s a magical story—one made possible, at least in part, through the access provided by Hermit Island Campground, which has been on the Trail since 2000. As the incoming Chair of MITA’s Board of Trustees, Liz is grateful to be involved in our efforts to provide similar opportunities to enjoy Maine’s coast. “It was such a wonderful way to grow up,” she says, recalling time spent in tide pools and collecting sand dollars on island beaches. “And it still guides my outlook on life today. We’re outdoors people, and we’re stewards of the land and water, and we think about access. That perspective was instilled in me from first time I visited Hermit Island at age 5.” Liz first got involved with MITA when she and Lew returned to Maine in 1987 after having lived in Seattle. They were fortunate to spend portions of their summers on an island in Casco Bay, in a tiny cabin owned by Lew’s family. And as avid sailors, they were well aware of the value of having sanctioned access to 12
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Incze at the helm of her 35-foot Ericsson, Szél.
the islands while cruising. “It just made sense” to join an organization that provided stewardship in return for that access, she said. “It’s such a logical model,” Liz commented. “And there was no question in our minds that we would be part of continuing that tradition.” Over the years, Liz’s participation as a member grew into an invitation to join MITA’s Board of Trustees. And her capable leadership led to a recent promotion to Chair. “Liz has exceptional talent and experience as a management executive, human resources professional, and leadership coach,” said Doug Welch, MITA’s Executive Director. “And she’s been very generous in sharing those skills during her time on the board already.” Welch said that Liz was a very active participant on the development and governance committees. “She has incredible energy and enthusiasm, and the ability to focus it where it’s needed,” he added. Moving forward, Liz plans to channel her efforts toward ensuring the longterm sustainability of MITA’s mission, which she sees as the most pressing
issue facing the organization in the coming 5 to 10 years. “We’re 25 years young,” she says, “which is a great accomplishment in the non-profit world and a testament to our staying power. And now we’ve got to look at how we can maintain that success and continue to provide stewardship for the next 25 years.” MITA’s links to more than 20 likeminded partner organizations will prove to be a huge asset in that effort, Liz added. She emphasized that the support and enthusiasm of MITA members are a uniquely valuable tool as we chart the course ahead. “We have an amazing organization that does some really great work, and I have a huge amount of pride in the staff, the board, the members and volunteers who make it all possible,” Liz said. “I’m really just honored and humbled to be allowed to help guide this great organization into the future.” Liz Incze welcomes feedback from
members. Send your comments, questions, and ideas to email@example.com.
Crossing the Cape B Y J U L I A KO ST E R ( W I T H R I C H A R D D O E G E )
For the last several summers, my husband Richard and I have headed northeast, away from Washington’s heat, to the coast of Maine. Using different towns as a base, our goal is to explore all of Maine’s coast by kayak. Each year we’ve kayaked further eastward, first exploring Casco Bay, and then Muscongus Bay. This year, Richard and I chose Isle au Haut for our adventure. At the mouth of Penobscot Bay, Isle au Haut is four miles from the mainland and six miles long. Our aim was to circumnavigate it. Very early one morning we loaded up the car, with kayaks on top, and headed for a beach south of Castine. Just as the ebb tide began its gentle pull out to sea, Richard and I pushed off and paddled along with it. Under favorable conditions, we moved along at 2 or 3 knots, and made it to our planned campsite – Wheat Island, at Isle au Haut’s northern tip – by lunchtime. In the afternoon, we made camp, explored our island, and had supper with a cocktail. Richard took some photographs as I studied the charts to plot our paddle around Isle au Haut the next day. Richard and I launched into a rising tide the next morning. The flooding current helped us paddle west around the north end of Isle au Haut. We enjoyed a slight tail wind as we stroked down the nearly uninhabited west side of the island. Midway, we stopped on a cobble beach for lunch, but it was a very quick stop. In an hour we would be paddling out into the open Atlantic to get around the island’s South Cape. The prospect made us anxious. Waves from the wind and swell from the ocean concentrate their energies on any point jutting into the sea. Wise mariners are always cautious about taking their ships around capes, even when conditions nearby are harmless. For Richard and me, when jostled in the seas that churn around a cape, our
kayaks seem like frail sieves. We knew that winds along the Maine coast strengthen in the afternoon. And we knew that the tide was now ebbing. The combined effect at the South Cape was unknown. After a worried lunch, Richard and I launched from our protected beach and resumed our paddling southward along the island’s west shore. Intending to give the South Cape a wide berth, our course took us further and further out to sea. Going far out has its own hazards, but the sea is calmer away from a cape.
Cape. It was narrow and shallow. With an ebbing tide, the pass was getting narrower and shallower by the minute. We went for it, and found ourselves on the other side of the Cape in totally calm seas. There was only a little swell and no wind. In just a few more minutes the ebb tide would have changed the isthmus into an impassable berm of rock. We had narrowly avoided the South Cape!
Feeling good, Richard and I paddled the home stretch and were back on our campsite on Wheat Island as the sun With a mile yet to paddle began to dip toward the before turning the South horizon. Richard’s GPS Wise mariners are Cape, we saw whitecaps showed we had paddled on the sea ahead. The always cautious about fourteen miles in eight wind at the Cape was hours to get around taking their ships strengthening. Richard Isle au Haut. As the full around capes, even began to consider our moon rose through when conditions options – perhaps even twilight, we sat alone turning back. Searching nearby are harmless. on our island with a the sea for waters that panorama of Penobscot were calmest, Richard Bay to the west and Mount Desert Island, thought he saw an isthmus on the our next adventure, to the northeast. In island. Neither my chart nor Richard’s the foreground white buoys, like confetti, GPS indicated there was a passage that tossed about on a wine-dark sea. we could get through to the other side. Hundreds of gulls and shorebirds lofted But maybe there was! We paddled over overhead. Oh, yes—we’ll be back on the to see. Closer in, we saw a tiny pass Maine coast this summer. between the main island and its South
Julia plots the paddle around Isle au Haut at their Wheat Island campsite. Photo credit: Richard Doege. M I TA .O R G
Trail Trip 2012: A Sprint to Stonington and Back BY DOUG WELC H
“But for those in small craft seeking superb boating and solitude, an island trail along some of the world’s most beautiful coastline may be just what they are looking for.” — Dave Getchell, Sr., 1987
Seeking a little adventure, some staff bonding time, and some video from the Trail, Peter Kenlan, Emma Pope-Welch and I embarked on a mid-July journey in my 17-foot Boston Whaler Outrage to see what we could see. Although unsettled weather would force us to alter our plans several times during the trip, I came away amazed by the relative ease of our four-day voyage covering some 233 miles from Portland to Stonington and back. This far exceeded the length of any previous journey I’d taken in the Whaler. As I blogged earlier in the year, I recently purchased a $50 iPhone app (iNavX) that converts a phone into a small chart plotter. Although skeptical from the start (and I remain so at some level), I have found the device to be remarkably useful. Connected to AC boat power, it retains its battery over long distances and has never lost its GPS signal. With a sturdy mount to my windshield, it charts waypoints, plots headings, and tracks an actual course very easily (see graphic).
The Ride to Port Clyde
A stormy longer term forecast hastened my departure. I donned my lifejacket, clipped on my “dead man’s” switch, and headed straight out into Casco Bay, making a course for Port Clyde. It was there that I planned to meet up with the other MITA staffers to begin our exploration of the area. We originally intended to meet a group of MITA paddlers for an overnight on Ram Island in the Sheepscot, but a small craft advisory for the evening spoiled that plan. It was difficult to pass dozens of Trail sites without stopping to explore, but I had a schedule to keep and there was a growing possibility of evening thunderstorms. 14
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The iNavX chart plotting app tracked our course from Portland to Stonington and back.
After a quick lunch break in Seguin for the Fox Island Thoroughfare. Seeing harbor, I was safely docked at Port Clyde Muscle Ridge but not having time to before 2:30. The others arrived by 3 pm, stop was again frustrating, but it sure as planned: Peter and Emma, who were beat getting caught in a storm. joining me at that point to shoot video; The Thoroughfare was and Maria, Brian, and Pete magnificent from the Tracy, who would lead I fell in love with Little sea. While I had seen a chainsaw certification parts of it from shore Hen and Hay, course over the following on Vinalhaven, I had and vowed to find days on Burnt Island. Our never experienced its gracious host for all of the new MITA sites on serpentine grandeur above was MITA trustee the south side of from the water. The short Jeremy Wintersteen. Vinalhaven from the crossing to Stonington We all headed out to the and then around to Webb countless islands we safety and comforts of Burnt Island where there passed before getting to Cove brought us to Old Quarry – our second were just enough bunks Hurricane Sound. sheltered overnight spot. for all. Some of us snored We spent a slovenly straight through the early afternoon napping off the journey and morning storm. Others didn’t. chatting with kayakers. It was a thrill to The next morning brought continued note three MITA stickers in a parking lot of bad news in terms of weather. Having only about 10 cars. no room on Burnt once the paying Then the much-heralded thunderstorms chainsaw training students arrived, finally came. The skies blackened and the and little desire to be soaked, we opted Doppler radar seemed to predict certain to make a run for Old Quarry Ocean death in Technicolor. But remarkably, Adventures in Stonington. while much of the state was pummeled Overnight at Old Quarry (including Woolich in the Midcoast where The plan had been to meet Dave Getchell a tornado touched down!), Stonington in South Thomaston and head to got very little weather. By early evening it Muscle Ridge. But weather and wisdom was gone and beautiful yellow light crept put that idea to rest early. Instead, we in. We jumped in the boat again to catch it repeated the “get there fast” strategy reflecting on Merchants Row islands and of the previous day and made a beeline some of our new paddling friends.
Picking through Merchants Row in the evening’s calm seas was tricky even in the Whaler, but a real treat. We returned in time to buy three lobsters from Bill Baker, who quickly dispatched them as we melted the butter.
Remarkably, Ram proved to be a
Ram and the Journey Home
MITA handbook—to keep the Whaler
The following morning was beautiful again, so we returned to Merchants Row. The breeze had returned, however, making boat and video camera tippy. We chased sail and powerboats and landed on Harbor Island for some firmly grounded shooting before proceeding to the Isle au Haut thoroughfare, where we dropped a hook and ate lunch. Then it was back to open water and a bouncy ride to Seal Bay, Vinalhaven. I fell in love with Little Hen and Hay, and vowed to find new MITA sites on the south side of Vinalhaven from the countless islands we passed before getting to Hurricane Sound.
smorgasbord thick with passing minnows for the taking by exuberant terns in the hundreds. We set up camp on Ram and successfully rigged our haul-off— as instructed by the off the rocks. After dinner and an early bed (Peter and I tented; Emma hammocked!), Thursday dawned pleasant and plenty calm enough for long-range boating. Peter captained us back to Port Clyde, where he and Emma disembarked for the car. I headed South solo again through the minor southwest chop and made Portland just after noon. The boat was filthy, as was the captain, but the trip was a success.
Grant Doubles the Impact of Your Annual Appeal Gift This summer was one of the busiest ever on the Maine Island Trail. We held more work projects than ever before, recruited new monitor skippers, hosted Leave No Trace workshops, created an invasive species handout for volunteers, and much more. All of this is possible only with the support of you, our members. Your passion and dedication as cleanup volunteers, monitor skippers, island adopters, and more, is truly inspiring. We could not fulfill our mission without you. In the past few weeks you should have received a letter asking you to support our 2013 Annual Fund. If you have the capacity and inclination, please consider giving generously to the Annual Fund this year. Your voluntary contributions, above and beyond your membership dues, make possible the full range of services and volunteer opportunities that MITA provides. Thanks in part to an ongoing $75,000 Challenge Grant from the Arcadia Charitable Trust, your gift will go twice as far this year.
Wish List FOR THE TRAIL
• Hand Tools: clippers, loppers, foldable pruning saws • Landscaping Tools: leaf rake, flathead rake, spade shovel, rock bar
FOR THE BOATS
• Throwable buoyant cushions
FOR THE OFFICE
• Volunteer for light office tasks
• Lightly used armless task/office chairs • Small/handheld vacuum
• Dorm-size cube refrigerator
MITA’s unique mission entrusts the care of the islands to the very best in human nature. Our simple yet powerful philosophy is that the islands are best protected when a sense of community and belonging connects people with places special to them. We are fortunate to have you as a member of the MITA community and grateful for your continued generosity and support. Sincerely, Peter H. Kenlan Director of Annual Giving
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MAINE ISLAND TRAIL ASSOCIATION
58 FORE STREET, SUITE 30-3 PORTLAND, MAINE 04101 207.761.8225 MITA.ORG
Give the islands to the ones you love. What better gift than 200 wild Maine island and coastal sites? Look no further than a gift membership to the Maine Island Trail, Americaâ€™s first water trail! All memberships come with a complimentary set of notecards featuring art by MITA members and the 2012 Guide as a placeholder until spring, when your recipient will be one of the first to receive the 2013 Guide! Add a MITA hat to any gift membership for only $12 (call 207-761-8225 to complete)!
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Published on Dec 12, 2012
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