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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 S U M M E R 2 0 1 7

A Sphere of Influence for the Sea By Rachael Miller, Rozalia Project Executive Director Did you know that we are eating our fleeces and yoga pants? Each article of clothing in our wardrobe is made up of millions of tiny fibers that break down when worn or washed. These microfibers are often too small to see, measuring as little as 3 microns—smaller than a red blood cell. Every time we use our washing machine, microfibers from our clothes flow down the drain and into public waterways. With the ubiquity of synthetic materials nowadays, these fibers are increasingly made up of plastics such as polyester, nylon and acrylic. But natural fibers such as cotton, wool and hemp are also problematic, as these are often treated with heavy metals, non-natural dyes, waterproofing chemicals and flame retardants. It is estimated that a single fleece jacket could shed over 81,000 microfiber pieces per garment per wash. An average family could inadvertently send the plastic equivalent of 14.4 water bottles into public waterways each year via washing machines. CONTINUED ON PAGE 10

In This Issue A Fortress of Solitude..................................3 2016: Year in Review.......................................8 Our New Home...............................................12 Safety in Numbers (of Boats)......................15

Paddling among the cliffs of Maine’s Bold Coast. Photo: Michael Daugherty

Maine’s Bold Coast: The Final Frontier By Brian Marcaurelle, Program Director

Is it possible to travel the entire Maine coast by boat, stopping only at sites on the Maine Island Trail? Yes, but only if you are intrepid enough to cover upwards of 20 nautical miles between sites in a few places. Those who struggle with such long distances will find gaps in the Trail that make through-travel difficult. The southern coast is one region with sizeable gaps that MITA has been working to fill for several years. On the opposite end of the Trail, another significant gap is the Bold Coast. Stretching roughly 20 miles from Cutler to Lubec, the appropriately named Bold Coast is known for its rocky cliffs, craggy bluffs and dynamic seas. Since the inception of the Trail, MITA has been reluctant to direct boaters here due to the formidable geography and concerns for boater safety. Even when the Trail extended beyond the Bold Coast into Cobscook Bay in 2012, this region was intentionally set aside for future consideration due to its unique characteristics and challenges. But now MITA is in the midst of a 5-year strategic plan that includes a goal to “provide an inspirational, border-to-border recreational experience for boaters of all kinds.” It is in this spirit that MITA has embarked on an effort to explore the Bold Coast in 2017 for potential inclusion on the Trail. CONTINUED ON PAGE 4

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Youth Education on the Trail By Doug Welch, Executive Director


Sam Adams, Freeport, ME Kelly Baetz, Bath, ME Nick Battista, Camden, ME Stephen Birmingham, Cape Elizabeth, ME Dan Carr, Dayton, ME Nicole Connelly, Falmouth, ME Nancy Egan, Harpswell, ME Mark Fasold, Yarmouth, ME Tom Franklin, Portland, ME Lindsay Hancock, Gray, ME Alicia Heyburn, Brunswick, ME Liz Incze, Cumberland Foreside, ME Cindy Knowles, Cumberland Center, ME Rob Nichols, Kittery, ME John Noll, Orland, ME Melissa Paly, Kittery, ME Lucas St. Clair, Portland, ME Andrew Stern, Falmouth, ME Odette Thurston, Falmouth, ME

STA F F Doug Welch • Executive Director Greg Field • Director of Finance & Operations Maria Jenness • Regional Stewardship Manager (East) Brian Marcaurelle • Program Director Madison Moran • Membership & Development Associate Jack Phillips • Development Director Erin Quigley • Membership Director Chris Wall • Regional Stewardship Manager (West) A special thank you to JillFrances Gray for newsletter design and consultation. The Maine Island Trail is a 375-mile long waterway extending from the New Hampshire border to the Canadian Maritimes. 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 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 100 Kensington St, 2nd Floor, Portland, ME 04103 (207) 761-8225 •


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In our last issue, I shared that an initiative was underway to determine whether there were ways in which MITA could support youth education in Maine. This research project was directed by MITA’s Board of Trustees as part of our 2015-2020 strategic plan and funded by a generous grant from the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation. As a recreational water trail typically utilized by adults, MITA has not pursued youth work in a focused way before. While we have responded to occasional requests for involvement or support from schools and other youth-related groups, we have not pursued it directly. Our objective for this research was not to presume there was a more systematic role for us in youth-related work, but to explore whether there might be. The bulk of this effort, which included over 50 interviews by MITA member, consultant and writer Marina Schauffler, is now complete. The Board has reviewed the conclusions of the Trail Committee, which oversaw the effort, as a final step. Marina’s work identified challenges and opportunities related to youth engagement on the Maine Island Trail. The challenges included logistics, liability, expense and training constraints. She identified possible partnerships that varied in fit with the MITA mission, complexity, staffing level and anticipated cost.

In considering these opportunities, the MITA Trail Committee concluded that none was of the scale to require the addition of new staff. Instead, MITA will pursue several smallscale, youth-focused initiatives in the years ahead. Specifically, we will: (1) seek to develop larger group sites on the Trail and share information about large group sites more systematically; (2) support youth group stewardship and service learning initiatives led by others; (3) assist with the training of youth group leaders in the appropriate use of Maine’s islands; and (4) continue to explore further opportunities for youth-oriented partnerships. These initiatives will be accommodated by MITA’s existing staff and volunteer resources.

MITA will pursue several small-scale, youth-focused initiatives in the years ahead.

Understandably, those who had hoped for a breakthrough youth program opportunity are somewhat disappointed; others more wary of this possible new direction are relieved. But ultimately, the Board agrees that MITA can support youth initiatives in meaningful ways without undertaking new efforts that are potentially distracting from or outside of its mission. If you are interested in seeing a more detailed summary of this work, please email me at

A Fortress of Solitude in Casco Bay By Brian Marcaurelle, Program Director Jewell Island is an iconic place, wildly popular with recreational boaters—and for good reason. Its natural harbor, network of trails, unique historic structures and prime waterfront campsites attract thousands of visitors every year. Some arrive for just a fleeting visit, others for a longer stay. But all appreciate that this 221-acre resource, owned by the Maine Bureau of Parks & Lands (BPL) and managed by MITA, is open to everyone, year-round, for free. Jewell is in fact one of the most heavily visited islands on the Maine Island Trail. On a sunny summer weekend, hundreds Caretaker Vinny Marotta rakes debris while volunteer Nick Battista helps clean up winter of boats will come and go from Cocktail storm damage at the Punchbowl on Jewell Island. Photo: Eliza Ginn Cove, and the island’s campsites will visitors in the spring and that it remains improvements on Jewell and Little be filled to capacity. It might seem odd Jewell to ensure that Vinny and future in good shape throughout the summer. to refer to such a popular island as a caretakers have the resources needed to Specific duties include maintaining fortress of solitude, but that’s precisely keep pace with management challenges trails, campsites, fire pits and privies; what it is for many visitors—a place on this popular recreational destination. controlling invasive plants; leading to escape the daily grind, to appreciate CONTINUED ON PAGE 7 volunteer workdays; removing marine the magic of the Maine coast and to debris and engaging in countless enjoy the company of family, friends or conversations with visitors about the oneself. For caretaker Vinny Marotta, island’s resources, history and the who returns for his 12th season in 2017, importance of low-impact practices. Jewell is not just a fortress of solitude— DONATE YOUR BOAT it has become a second home. TO CARE FOR MAINE’S Visitors often gush over the job, but it is WILD ISLANDS tiring work. Vinny’s love of the island, THE MAYOR OF JEWELL ISLAND the relationships he’s developed with Vinny first came to Jewell in 2003 as visitors and the progress he’s seen have part of a caretaker team during the early kept him motivated to return year after years of the program. He was such a year. good fit for the role that MITA happily Of course, Vinny would also confess welcomed him back as a solo caretaker that he’s a creature of habit. It took the next season, and the following three him nearly a year to abandon his cabin seasons after that. Vinny then took a tent on Jewell and settle into an actual hiatus to pursue other interests, but cabin on neighboring Little Jewell when returned to his post on Jewell in 2011 MITA began leasing the structure from and has remained in the role since. A BPL for use as a caretaker shelter. Now veritable fixture on the island, it is not comfortably situated on Little Jewell, uncommon to hear visitors shout “VinVinny has made it his personal mission neee” from their vessels to notify him of Photo Eliza Ginn to transform the cabin and grounds their arrival as they enter Cocktail Cove. from a homely caretaker residence to He’s earned a reputation as the mayor of If you are interested in donating a place that is more hospitable and Jewell Island, a label that Vinny brushes your seaworthy boat - power, sail, welcoming to visitors. off with a smile and a shrug. or paddle - please contact the The primary job of the caretaker is to ensure that the island is ready for 3

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In that same spirit, MITA is launching a campaign aimed at infrastructure

MITA office at (207) 761 8225 or

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TO BOLDLY GO? Interest in the Bold Coast region has been growing in recent years thanks to efforts to highlight its distinct natural and cultural resources. Interest by recreational boaters has also increased, particularly among paddlers seeking extreme remoteness, beauty and adventure. It turns out that many paddlers are already traveling these waters, and doing so with limited information. While some traverse the entire Bold Coast in a day, others seek refuge along the way where there are breaks in the rock. With no reliable guidelines for boaters along this stretch of coastline, and no approved stopovers or campsites, many have reached out to MITA for help. To address this information gap, and to meet our strategic plan objective, MITA’s staff and Trail Committee will conduct a thorough examination of the Bold Coast in 2017. Ultimately, we seek to answer two separate (but related) questions: 1) Can our water trail be extended safely along the Bold Coast? and 2) Should it be done? Through

meetings, conversations and groundtruthing we will compile data on access points, landing options, currents, tides, safety hazards and emergency resources while assessing the interests and concerns of the community. We will add sites to the Trail along the Bold Coast only if our findings suggest that an adequate number of Trail site opportunities exist, safety concerns can be satisfactorily addressed and there is sufficient community support. HAILING ALL FREQUENCIES A public meeting held on April 26 at the Cobscook Community Learning Center brought together a diverse group of community members and stakeholders with interest and expertise in the region. The meeting was held in collaboration with the Downeast Conservation Network and Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Prior to the meeting, a survey distributed to recreational boaters yielded 160 responses and provided valuable feedback. Throughout the summer, conversations will continue with representatives from a broad array of interests,

from governmental, educational and commercial to conservation, recreation and tourism. MITA is also eager to hear from you, our members and other readers of The Island Trail. If you have thoughts or information to share related to the Bold Coast, please contact Program Director Brian Marcaurelle (, and tell us about your experiences, ideas and concerns. Whether you think extending the Maine Island Trail along the Bold Coast is “highly illogical” or that MITA should “make it so,” we want to hear from you!

Most of the 160 respondents to MITA’s survey expressed support for expanding the Trail along the Bold Coast.

The Maine Island Trail Association gratefully acknowledges the following sponsors:

Cribstone Capital Management Green Clean Maine Kamasouptra Lee Auto Malls Lower Falls Landing Associates Malone Auto Racks Penmor Lithographers Robert’s Maine Grill Toad & Co WoodenBoat Publications 4

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Recreating with a Purpose By David Dane, MITA Member

Paddling is a family affair for Kittery Point resident Amy Fullerton, her husband and their two children. “The kids love just exploring, skipping rocks and having fun out there,” she says. “Out there” is Fishing Island, a small day-use island well known to locals that sits just beyond the moorings in Pepperell Cove. “It’s a perfect spot to stop outside the harbor. We bring a picnic, and it’s a pretty simple thing,” Amy says. At the height of the season, you can find the Fullertons paddling out to Fishing Island about once a month. For them it’s more than just a recreational family outing—it’s a lesson for the next wave of Maine Island Trail-goers. “If it’s a place that you want to see preserved and available for use, you have to help take care of it,” she explains. For the last four seasons, Amy and her family have helped MITA with the stewardship of Fishing Island as Island Adopters. “We have fun going out there and collecting trash and taking notes. I feel like I’m teaching my kids that we take care of what matters to us,” she says. ADOPTER PROGRAM AT A GLANCE MITA relies heavily on volunteers to help care for the islands along the Maine Island Trail, and Island Adopters are a big part of that volunteer stewardship equation. By design, the Adopter program is meant to be flexible and fun—an easy way for boaters to give back. As MITA gears up for the 2017 season, the goal is to enlist the help of as many Island Adopters as possible, especially for islands that are new to the Trail or do not already have much coverage. Adopters get an initial orientation from MITA, but then work mostly independently to monitor their island. Adopters volunteer on their own schedule, and are encouraged to visit their island as often as works for them between Memorial Day and Labor Day. 5

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Island Adopter Amy Fullerton and her family inspect a hermit crab while visiting Fishing Island in 2016. Photo: Amy Fullerton

The frequency of visits may vary from adopter to adopter or from island to island. While visiting, adopters remove as much marine debris as they can, engage with other island visitors to encourage low-impact practices, record noteworthy observations from their trip and report back to MITA on their activities and the overall condition of the island. The activities and findings of adopters provide MITA with valuable information that gets included in yearend stewardship reports to site owners. NURTURE FOR NATURE AND SPIRIT “I could get a little crazy about it sometimes,” admits Island Adopter Paul Knight. “My buddies all thought there was something wrong with me.” An avid paddler, Paul helped look after several islands in the midcoast region for many years. “They’re like family to me, I love ‘em’,” he says of Peggy, Castle and Little Bare Islands. Knight calls Portland home currently, but his admiration for these islands began during his upbringing in the Bath area. “When I lived right on the Sasanoa River it was real easy. I could just throw my boat on my shoulder and get down to Hockomock Bay to the islands,” he says.

When Paul first heard about the Island Adopter program in 2004, he considered it a no-brainer. “I realized I probably go to these islands once a week anyway for an after work paddle. So I thought, why not adopt them?” Paul recalls just how much he enjoyed setting logbooks out at the beginning of the season, picking up trash, looking for fire pits and reporting back his observations each month. “I always tried to make sure the island was as nice as I found it,” he explains. That’s exactly how MITA envisions the program working for its volunteers. It gives extra meaning to recreational outings while helping MITA fulfill its mission of high-quality stewardship of the Trail. “It’s just a little thing that I can do for MITA, which, as far as I’m concerned, does so much for me,” adds Paul. “It just makes me feel good. I get great satisfaction out of finding an island that is pristine.” MITA always needs more Island Adopters to help keep pace with an expanding Trail and increasing stewardship demands. To learn more about the program or find out which islands are in need of adoption, contact MITA’s Regional Stewardship Managers at

Doug Welch: 10 Years at the Helm By Lindsay Hancock, MITA Board Chair The 10th anniversary of Doug Welch’s service as Executive Director of the Maine Island Trail Association is a perfect time to reflect on his leadership of the organization. When asked to write about how Doug’s tenure has impacted MITA, I instinctively leapt to the characteristics of leadership that Doug embodies: strong communication and management skills, creative and innovative thinking, perseverance, willingness to take risks, openness to change and levelheadedness in times of conflict. A good leader is inclined to listen, to inspire and to know when to guide the boat or let others take the helm. Doug’s effective leadership practice helps explain MITA’s steady growth and solid staff—and yet there is a deeper story. Another way to understand MITA’s importance as a coastal stewardship and access organization is to align its success with good followership. According to Robert Kelley, professor of management at Carnegie Mellon, good followership requires committed citizens who are “courageous, honest and credible” and who care desperately about the people and places they serve. In my experience, few people can speak about the Maine coastline with the reverence and enthusiasm of Doug Welch, and that’s because he knows what he’s talking about. Doug meets with island owners, Trail users, donors, marina owners, outfitters and others up and down the coast to learn about opportunities and challenges facing MITA. He has made it his personal goal to explore every gunkhole, tide pool and Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental bittersweet) invasion on the over 200 sites along the Trail (on his own vacation time, in his Boston Whaler Arcturus). He writes and speaks eloquently about the sunsets, stars and silence found in these remote places, 6

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and he shares many of his observations and meditations using video that he shoots and edits himself. Doug’s past brushes with rock stardom as a drummer show in the music and the narration! Even though the Maine Island Trail existed for two decades before Doug’s arrival, it was on his watch that the Trail was named the Best Trail in Maine (Downeast, July 2010) and the Best Sea Kayaking Trail in America (Outside, July 2011). Other notable achievements during Doug’s tenure include: launching a campaign to create a stewardship endowment and raising $1.3 million in support of that effort, the addition of a second stewardship manager to MITA’s small staff, the replacement of donated rigs with two new towing vehicles, the development of Chimani’s Maine Island Trail mobile app, the partnership with Rising Tide Brewing Company to produce Maine Island Trail Ale, a revamped MITA website (twice!), the adoption of strict financial controls and processes in the wake of an embezzlement and the commissioning of an economic impact study showing that the Maine Island Trail generates

over $2.1 million in gross economic output each year by out-of-state visitors. Doug’s most recent project—moving MITA’s headquarters to the recently revamped second floor of the Maine Yacht Center, a full-service boatyard and marina in Portland—is just one more milestone. After all that he has done on behalf of over 5,700 MITA members and 95 partner landowners (who trust that listing their property on the Trail is assurance of stewardship that leaves these places in better shape than if left alone), it’s no wonder that Doug was selected as one of 50 Mainers shaping our state by Maine Magazine (2014). MITA is fortunate to have an Executive Director whose skills as a leader and a follower provide a model for nonprofits in Maine and beyond. We are grateful for Doug’s style of executive directorship and his commitment as partner and co-adventurer in our worthy mission: to turn island users into island stewards, and to ensure thoughtful use and care of Maine islands while maintaining an exceptional recreational asset on the coast of Maine.

Executive Director Doug Welch carries marine debris collected from Isle au Haut during the Acadia Centennial Cleanup in 2016. Congratulations, Doug, on 10 years of exceptional leadership and pacesetting!

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In 2017 MITA is seeking funds to accomplish several upgrades to recreational infrastructure on Jewell and to the caretaker program itself.

So is secure storage for the gear, since the one-room cabin on Little Jewell is suitable as a caretaker shelter, or for equipment storage, but not both. Appending a small tool shed to the cabin will enable the caretaker to safely store equipment and fuel outside of the living quarters.

The most urgent is an effort to rehabilitate the island’s five privies, which were constructed in the 1990s and have fallen into disrepair. Jewell is one of only a handful of Trail islands with privies, and these have proven indispensable for managing human waste. The second upgrade is outfitting the caretaker with equipment for maintaining trails and managing invasive species. Whether it is keeping campsites, trails and historic structures free of invasives or maintaining cleaner recreation areas to reduce exposure to ticks, vegetation management work on Jewell is neverending. For years, Vinny and other caretakers have made do with hand tools and donated or borrowed gear. To be truly effective, mechanized tools are needed.

If you are interested in supporting Vinny’s amazing work to ensure that Jewell remains a first-rate destination for recreational boaters in Casco Bay, please consider making a contribution to the Jewell Renewal Fund by visiting www. Also, consider paying a visit to Jewell this season to check on our progress or to volunteer. In deference to others using the island, just resist the urge to holler Vinny’s name when you arrive! A special thanks to the Maine Outdoor

The Punchbowl privy is one of several Jewell Heritage Fund for its support of this effort. Island privies slated for rehabilitation in 2017.

2017 Stewardship Fund

Download the

2017 MITA Mobile App

Core Features Donate today to help MITA leverage 5,500+ volunteer hours on the Trail this summer! Please visit to make your contribution. Photo: Jim Dugan


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• • •

All 218 Trail sites • Interactive NOAA charts • Anchorage information •

MITA events calendar Hundreds of photos Launches & pumpouts

Available on Apple and Android devices

2016: A Year in Review • The Maine Island Trail grew to 218 total sites owned by over 95 different private landowners, land trusts, government agencies and other institutions. • MITA volunteers contributed more than 5,400 hours to coastal stewardship (a 31% increase over 2015). • Over 1,300 bags of marine debris were removed from island shorelines, including 35 cubic yards of trash cleaned from Isle au Haut in celebration of Acadia National Park’s centennial. • More than 160 Trail islands were surveyed for invasive plants. • MITA’s membership exceeded 5,700 individuals. • Chimani’s MITA app was downloaded 3,353 times by first-time users. • Nearly 40 MITA Meetups (outings, trainings and social events) were organized. • The inaugural Splash! boating season kickoff party sold out a month in advance and raised important funds for MITA’s stewardship work. • MITA passed the $1.3m mark of the Wild Islands Campaign, fully endowing MITA’s stewardship fleet of boats and vehicles. MITA extends profound thanks to the 250+ individuals, families, and institutions who have invested in the campaign. 8

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Photo: Jim Dugan

Statement of Financial Position* ASSETS

FY 16

FY 15



Other Assets (Incl. Restricted Investments)



Total Assets

$1,518,848 $1,245,728

Current Assets

Capital Assets (Property & Equipment)



LIABILITIES & NET ASSETS Current Liabilities

Net Assets & Net Income Total Liabilities & Net Assets Change In Net Assets





$1,518,848 $1,245,728 $258,318

Revenue & Expenses by Area SUPPORT & REVENUE Membership Dues & Indvidual Contributions Grants, Sponsorships & Contracts Events Other

FY 16

FY 15



$188, 111


$36,737 $18,768

$46, 818


Total Operating Revenue

$695,977 $626,927

Income Restricted to Endowment

$300, 495


EXPENSES Program Services



Fund Development

$120, 062

Total Operating Expenses

$694,002 $659,684


Total Operating Net


$78,422 $74,121

$1,975 ($32,757)


MITA’s finances in 2016 were marked by both steady growth and continued diversification of operating income. For several years running, the percentage of our total income drawn from sources beyond membership dues has grown. Foundation grants, corporate sponsorships, major gift donations from supporters above their dues and the success of MITA’s inaugural Splash! event have all helped “grow the pie.” Why does that matter? Diversifying the sources of our operating income means greater stability for the organization now and over the long term. It also means that we can continue to hold the line on dues levels—there has been no increase in dues in almost 20 years. People who cannot support MITA beyond the annual dues amount can join and remain members without facing escalating costs. We can do this for our members while still remaining committed to more outreach, to greatly increased mobilization of volunteers and most importantly, to more robust island stewardship efforts. We noted in last year’s review that MITA had reached $1.25m in total valuation. That growth continued this year as we hit the $1.5m mark. These numbers have a real, visible impact on MITA’s mission and program: improvements to our fleet of MITA skiffs, trailers, tools and tow vehicles are the backbone of support for the staff and volunteers who get the work done on the islands.

*CPA audited financials are available upon request.

Thank you!


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C o n t i n u e d f r o m pa g e 1

This makes microfibers the single biggest plastic pollution problem facing our oceans. The consequences of microfiber pollution could be significant, including both physical and biological threats to our marine ecosystem and human health through the introduction of harmful chemicals to the marine food web. Consider a 2015 study, which found that 67% of all species from California fish markets contained microfibers or microplastics. Even if seafood isn’t part of our personal diet, fish meal is often fed to chickens, cows and pigs, giving it another pathway to our plates. WORKING TOWARD REAL-WORLD SOLUTIONS The problem of microfibers in the environment cannot be easily regulated away, and no filter technologies exist that can stop microfiber pollution and allow water to flow at required rates. But the Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean has developed an innovative new product that can help consumers reduce their own microfiber impact at home. Rozalia Project is a nonprofit whose mission is to clean and protect the ocean and conserve a healthy, thriving marine ecosystem. Like

MITA, Rozalia Project has been focused on the problem of marine debris for many years and has partnered with many nonprofits on public education and cleanup efforts. But our work also extends beyond these realms to incorporate cutting-edge technology and solutions-based research throughout the water column—from surface to seafloor. Rozalia Project’s expedition base is the Kittery Point Yacht Yard, and our research vessel is the beloved American Promise, Dodge Morgan’s round-the-world recordsetting sailboat. We have turned the American Promise into a stateof-the-art, green oceanographic laboratory that embodies our mission by demonstrating how to minimize a vessel’s environmental footprint. Our recent work on microfiber pollution has led to the development of a microfibercatching product called the Cora Ball. We believe it is a humanscale solution to the effects of microplastics and textile chemicals on the marine environment. INTRODUCING THE CORA BALL The Cora Ball is a laundry ball roughly the size of a small

Introducing the Cora Ball: a potential solution to household microfiber pollution that fits into the palm of your hand. Photo: Rozalia Project 10

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grapefruit that goes in your washing machine. It collects fibers and hairs, including pet and human hair, and prevents them from flowing out with the drain water. Think of it as a lint filter for your washer. It works in any washing machine, and does no harm to the appliance or to your clothes. It can also go into the dryer to act as a dryer ball. Eventually, balls of fuzz and lint will form inside the Cora Ball. These can be picked out and tossed in the trash just like dryer lint. Rozalia Project is working on finding a way to upcycle these fibers, but for now the trash bin is a much better place than down the drain.

The Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean has developed an innovative new product that can help consumers reduce their own microfiber impact at home. The Cora Ball is easy to use and easy to clean. It allows your clothes to get clean and dry while preventing microfibers from washing down the drain or sticking to other clothing. It is made from 100% recycled material, is recyclable itself and is made right here in New England. Check out or to learn more about the Cora Ball and Rozalia Project. Proceeds from sales of the Cora Ball support Rozalia Project’s work in the Gulf of Maine. We’re also happy to welcome visitors aboard the American Promise anytime. Simply stop by the boat when you see us at Kittery Point Yacht Yard or Maine Yacht Center, or hail us as you pass by on Channels 13 or 16. We’d love to chat all things ocean with you!

What’s New on the Trail in 2017? By Brian Marcaurelle, Program Director

tower, oil house and barn. A new walking path linking the lighthouse and bell tower to a south-facing beach has also been opened. The Army Corps of Engineers will be making safety improvements on Fort Gorges in Casco Bay this summer, including the installation of railings, gates and a viewing platform on the top tier of the fort. The interior of the fort will be closed to visitation during construction.

The bell tower is one of several structures on Perkins Island slated for a facelift in 2017.

Change is the only constant on the Maine Island Trail. Whether it is changing seasons, changing weather conditions, changes on the islands or changes to the Trail itself, this dynamic recreational waterway is always evolving. Here is a brief look at some noteworthy changes that all Trail users should be aware of in 2017.

will remain closed as a result of last year’s browntail moth infestation until KCT determines that it is safe for visitors to return.

The 2017 Trail Guide features five new Trail sites, including a mix of privately- and publicly-owned island and mainland sites. Eleven additional launch ramps and one pumpout station have also been added to the Guide as resources.

Beginning in 2017, the Friends of Seguin Island Light Station will allow camping on Seguin Island. Camping is by reservation only with a suggested minimum donation of $10 per person per night. Visit www.seguinisland. org for camping guidelines and reservation info. In Muscongus Bay, a formal campsite has been created on Little Griffin Island in an effort to improve opportunities for overnight use there.

Three sites have been removed from the Trail in 2017. Goat Island in the Kennebec River has been closed due to an eagle nesting above the campsite. Fort O’Brien in Machiasport and McClellan Park in Milbridge have been removed due to the difficulty of accessing these mainland sites from the water. In Cape Porpoise Harbor, Vaughn Island, owned by the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust,

Thanks to further collaboration between the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, the American Lighthouse Foundation and generous community members, restoration work on the historic structures on Perkins Island in the Kennebec River will continue in 2017. Following successful renovation of the keeper’s quarters and lighthouse in 2014, the focus of rehabilitation efforts this year will be the bell


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Stay tuned to the MITA app for complete descriptions and the most up-to-date information about Trail sites, guidelines and closures throughout the boating season.

Join the MITA Meetup Community! Our Meetup site allows members and friends to connect with like-minded boaters for peer led outings to Maine’s wild islands and other MITA-relevant gatherings. In the past two years, MITA Meetup participants have posted 77 events, and the group has grown to 302 members!

A MITA Meetup on Casco Bay in 2016. Photo: Liz Johnson

Visit for more information

MITA’s New Home on the Waterfront By Doug Welch, Executive Director

After 13 great years at the Portland Company, the Maine Island Trail Association office moved to the Maine Yacht Center (MYC) building in Portland on April 27th. Located at 100 Kensington Street, beside the B&M Baked Bean plant, MYC overlooks Portland’s Back Cove channel, Tukey’s Bridge and the Eastern Promenade. MYC occupies the first floor of the building but, despite great potential, for many years much of the second floor went underutilized. With assistance by the Dunham Group, MITA discovered this exciting 2,400-square-foot space and leased it for the next decade. The MYC shares our excitement over this new partnership. It makes sense for Maine’s largest recreational boating organization to be located at a state-of-the-art marina and service yard, and it makes sense

100 Kensington Street is easily accessed by turning at the blinking yellow light on Veranda Street and following the road to its end.

that MYC’s cruising customers have a strong interest in America’s first water trail. The lease even includes dockage for two MITA work boats! With help from Prospect Design and HEMESphere Design, MITA developed exciting plans for the space, which was financed by a

“The more experience I have with MITA, the more I want to ensure that the organization and its mission last as long as possible.”

Odette Thurston, MITA trustee and professional financial advisor, on her family’s decision to include MITA in their estate plans. To learn more the advantages of planned giving, visit, or contact Jack Phillips at or (207) 761-8225 12

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single donor to the Wild Islands Campaign. We selected Wright-Ryan Construction in a competitive bidding process to finish out the office, and work commenced on February 24th. We hope you will visit us in our new home!

Remembering Robby

MITA lost a great friend with the passing of Robert “Robby” Pawle in April. A founding member of MITA, Robby was a volunteer Monitor Skipper for 17 years beginning with the inaugural class in 1992. He was a dedicated steward of islands in the Casco Bay and Western Rivers regions and a dependable captain for many shoreline cleanups and workdays. Robby’s smile and can-do spirit were contagious. His willingness to allow MITA to station boats in front of his Falmouth home was emblematic of his generosity and kindness. We are grateful for the enduring mark Robby left on the Trail. He will be greatly missed.

Communicating the Meaning of a Trail Trip By Erin Quigley, Membership Director

divide the trip into segments, with my communication during each segment meant to highlight a different aspect of the MITA mission: Leave No Trace, Monitor Skippers and Island Adopters, our landowner partners, marine debris, invasive plants, the benefits of MITA membership and more. Through photographs, videos and blog posts, anyone who’s interested will be able to experience the value of Maine’s wild islands. Stay tuned throughout the summer as I plan my trip and offer various ways to get involved.

Membership Director Erin Quigley paddles through Whitehead Passage in Casco Bay. Photo: Joe Guglielmetti

This fall I’ll be getting out of the office and onto the water! My work as MITA’s Membership Director is inspired by my love of islands, boats and the sea, but on a day-today basis I spend most of my work life indoors. Fortunately I get to spend plenty of time helping with Trail stewardship each summer, and my desk has an awesome view of Portland Harbor. But this year I hope to do more to celebrate what it means to be out on the Trail. With fantastic support from the MITA staff and Board, I’m planning a two-week sea kayak expedition on the Maine Island Trail in September of 2017. In my experience as an outreach professional, one of the best ways to share the value of something you care about is to explain what it means personally, through your own actions and commitment. By embarking on a Trail adventure, I’m hoping to frame MITA’s mission of stewardship and access in a personal context and more effectively communicate 13

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the significance of the Trail with others. If all goes well, the trip will be an intersection of all aspects of the MITA mission in one coherent package.

I’m hoping to frame MITA’s mission of stewardship and access in a personal context and more effectively communicate the significance of the Trail with others. I plan to stay connected with MITA members and friends throughout the trip in several specific ways. Social media and posts to the MITA blog will allow armchair adventurers to follow along as I travel the coast. Participation in cleanups and Meetups, and maybe even a presentation or two along the way, will allow me to share my experiences and spread the gospel of the Trail in person. I’ll

Through photographs, videos, and blog posts, anyone who’s interested will be able to experience the value of Maine’s wild islands. September is the best month to be outside in Maine, so I’m hoping for (relatively) warm water and (relatively) stable weather. My sea kayak, a bright orange Nigel Dennis Pilgrim Expedition (dubbed “Paprika” and “Pumpkin Spice” by MITA trustee Dan Carr) will be my skinny fiberglass home away from home. While I’m likely to encounter fog, high winds and whatever else the Maine coast might feel like dishing out, I’ll trust in my experience as a Registered Maine Guide and rough water paddler to make safe decisions about when to stay put and when to paddle on. Follow along on the Tales of the Trail blog ( and our Facebook and Instagram pages as I get ready for my trip. If any salty sea kayakers have recommendations about how to charge electronic devices while paddling, please contact!

Coastal Campground Revival By Brian Marcaurelle, Program Director Longtime MITA members may remember Ocean Woods Campground, the beloved private waterfront campground on the Schoodic Peninsula that closed in 2009. For decades it served Downeast travelers and Trail users as a quiet, peaceful wilderness camping destination in a rugged coastal setting far removed from life’s hustle and bustle. This family-run business proudly eschewed luxuries and embraced an ethic of respect for nature and for fellow visitors, which earned it a faithful following. When the campground was shuttered the property was sold and nearly turned into house lots, but timing and market forces conspired against subdivision and build-out plans. After several years in limbo, the 113-acre property was acquired in September of 2016 by philanthropist Roxanne Quimby, who intends to restore the campground and bring it back into operation.

With significant cleanup and site rehabilitation needed, the campground is not likely to reopen until 2018 at the earliest. But eager campers may have an opportunity to spend a night or two on the property this season in exchange for some volunteer help.

Check out Oceanwoods Campground on Facebook to learn more about upcoming workdays and to stay apprised of progress. Please be sure to share your appreciation with members of the Quimby family for conserving this remarkable piece of the Maine Coast!

A tent at the former Ocean Woods Campground in 2006. With restoration work currently underway, campers will soon be able to enjoy cozy camping just steps from the sea on the Schoodic Peninsula. Photo: Dan Carr

MITA’s Digital Makeover: A New Online Look By Erin Quigley, Membership Director

Way back in February, as snow swirled across Portland Harbor, a quiet but significant breakthrough crept out into the world from the MITA office. New staff? New boats? No—we spent the winter revamping the MITA website, with help from local web developers Big Room Studios. The new site is significantly more user-friendly than previous versions, and we’re excited about the updated look, simpler navigation and clearer payment forms. Take a gander at and let us know what you think!


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Safety in Numbers (of Boats) By John Good, MITA Granite Society Member My daughters, Celeste and Charlotte,are 28 and 31 this year, and we first started exploring the islands of the Maine Island Trail 25 years ago. In our rental house on Swan’s Island was a chart that included Isle au Haut and the islands of Merchant Row (officially, Approaches to Blue Hill Bay). It was dotted with islands with poetic names. Charlotte and Celeste gazed at the chart, and I said, “Where shall we go today?” “Sheep looks good, Daddy,” said Charlotte. I cross-referenced the request with the MITA Guide and off we went, checking the best approach to landing with the aid of the sketches in the book. Adventure! My goal for many years was to set foot on at least one new island per year. This we did on boats big and small, to islands near and far, under sail or power or paddle. There were so many islands we loved, but we found ourselves returning to our favorites time and again. One summer when Celeste and I were alone and Charlotte was at Camp Four Winds near Blue Hill, we decided to go camping. The engine on our powerboat conked out, and our Rhodes 19 was also inoperable. Frustrated on a beautiful summer day, with my beautiful young daughter pining to go camping, we took action. We loaded the Puffin

Leeward Islands, Caribbean: Celeste, John and Charlotte in 1995. Photo: John Good

dinghy with sleeping bags, a tent, provisions and stuffed animals and shoved off at mid-tide from City Point. We rowed up Burnt Coat Harbor, past Harbor Island and on to Big Baker Island. Like so much of the Maine coast, pink granite islands studded with fir trees and protected coves graced our sightlines in every direction, with an osprey nest nearby on Little Baker and intermittent shrieks from the soaring birds. We found the campsite empty, wrote in the MITA guestbook, played on the beach and cooked dinner, and five-year-old daughter and Dad were immensely happy. We went from despair to elation one summer day in Maine, a place that has provided countless fond memories.

Editor’s Note:

Until jobs and life got in the way, my daughters spent significant parts of every summer in Maine. Now when they miss a summer they are sad, but vow not to let two summers in a row go by without a visit. The coast of Maine is a magical place, and MITA has made it even more so. From the beginning, I marveled at the responsible and pure approach MITA took to getting people out to these extraordinary islands. We adore Swan’s Island and its remoteness, but getting out to other truly pristine islands has been supremely rewarding and fun. It has reinforced a love of nature for us and also an appreciation for stewardship and the enlightened shared use of public and private land.

As MITA approaches its 30th anniversary in 2018, we’re reaching out to members of our Granite Society (20+ years of MITA membership) for their recollections about the early days of the Trail. Through accounts such as this one submitted by John Good, we hope to gain a better understanding of MITA’s roots, collect and document personal stories and share them with others as part of the 30th anniversary celebration. If you have recollections about MITA in its infancy—Trail explorations, island stewardship, the formation of the organization—we would love to hear from you. Please share your stories with MITA Executive Director Doug Welch at Thanks!


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100 Kensington St, 2nd Floor Portland, ME 04103 207-761-8225

HELP WANTED: MITA MONITOR SKIPPERS We’re seeking hearty volunteers to join our Monitor Skipper team! Looking for experienced skippers coastwide, but especially in the Deer Isle, Mount Desert Island and Downeast regions.

Qualifications and Commitments:


• Significant power boat experience

• Use of MITA skiffs

• Tow vehicle

• Willingness to embark on full-day monitor runs a minimum of twice a month • Dedication to and passion for stewardship of Maine’s coastal islands

• Reimbursement for mileage and other direct expenses • Active participation in keeping wild islands clean and accessible

• Being part of a close-knit community of conscientious boaters

To learn more, contact Maria or Chris at 207-761-8225 or Photo: Daniel E. Smith,

Summer 2017  

In this edition, MITA explores a new frontier, raises funds for Jewell Island, and celebrates 10 years of Executive Director Doug Welch at t...

Summer 2017  

In this edition, MITA explores a new frontier, raises funds for Jewell Island, and celebrates 10 years of Executive Director Doug Welch at t...