Fair Skies and Following Seas

The Trail was started by a small group of intrepid boaters, who wanted to make sure that this amazing recreational asset was cared for. Many years later, small groups of volunteers like the ones in the blog post below are still abiding by that principle. To support the important work MITA does, please visit mita.org/floattheirboats.

September is usually a busy time of year for MITA’s stewardship staff, boats, and volunteers. However, all the important work that needs to be done is contingent on fair skies and seas. The past two cleanups, Downeast and Deer Isle, have been cancelled due to weather. Mother nature hasn’t completely ground MITA’s stewardship programs to a halt, though. In good weather windows, teams have been getting work done. After making the call to cancel this past weekend, regional stewardship manager Maria and a small crew went out in the Deer Isle region to take care of some important priorities.

Maria, her dad, and this year’s recipients of the Spirit of Stewardship award as well as Apprentice Skippers, Tim and Ellen Ketcham, went out to address some of the Deer Isle projects they could get done in this fair weather window.

Ellen had her eye on tackling a buoy tree – or in this case – a piece of driftwood covered in stray lobster buoys. She has been in a MITA skiff pretty often this summer but getting to dismantle this buoy tree had eluded her. This time, she was able to get the job done!

By the end of the day, the buoys were returned to the Harbormaster’s office, where fisherman were free to look through and find their lost buoys. This small crew also brought in some logbooks, which MITA places on most of the islands and uses to track site usage and user experience. Logbooks are then entered in the MITA database, along with a lot of other data, and spit back out as reports to island owners.

As the season is winding down, the weather becomes more of a determining factor. After the last fall cleanup, there is not much MITA stewardship activity going on on the water. The 1,300+ island landings, 1,200 trash bags, and 6,600 island stewardship hours all happens within a span of May to October.

As the season winds down, the staff is starting to crunch the numbers on this season, but there are indications this may be one of the most successful years for MITA’s stewardship program!