Islands cared for by those who love them will maintain their fragile environments better than those left entirely alone.
That simple idea lead to the formation of the Maine Islands Trail Association (MITA) in 1987. Since then, the group has cleaned and maintained more than 200 islands and coastal sites along 375 miles of the Maine coast.
The Maine Islands Trail is a path through the rich costal waters that bridges public and private land for the enjoyment of boaters who hop along the coast, camping and enjoying nature along the way.
MITA manages these visitors, encouraging leave-no-trace visitation and providing minimal infrastructure for sustainable recreation. Thanks to a recent $100,000 donation by L.L. Bean, as well as other sponsors such as Rising Tide Brewing Company, the group is well on the way to being perpetually endowed.
L.L Bean’s donation to the group’s Wild Islands Campaign brought the endowment to $900,000 raised over the last two years. Proceeds from the endowment support a fleet of five boats working to maintain the marine trail system. A sixth boat will be added soon to facilitate work by more than 200 volunteers who put in nearly 5,000 hours of work each year.
“It will pay for the operation and maintenance of those boats, trucks and trailers,” said Doug Welch, executive director of the Association. “You need the right kind of donor, which is why we were really excited about L.L. Bean. Some companies are interested in naming buildings, but for us, the end is keeping the islands clean.”
The group hopes to build the endowment to $2 million, enough to fully support the group’s mission perpetually.
Current members enjoy access to Trail properties for day use or overnight visits in return for observing low-impact techniques and guidelines outlined in MITA’s annual 250-page trail guide. For more information contact MITA at 207-761-8225, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.mita.org.