Potato – The Grand Reopening!

Nesting birds are one of the few reasons a site can come off the Trail, or change the island guidelines. Many islands already have restrictions on when you can use them – many you cannot visit until after July 1st due to Osprey nests. Because of a nesting Bald Eagle, Potato in Deer Isle had been closed.

Photo of a Bald Eagle on the Trail.

However, as crews monitored the island from the water this spring, there were no signs of the eagle or the nest. It was after the print date for the 2019 Guide and mobile app, so it didn’t make the cut for this year. It is a publicly-owned island, located to the east of nearby Sheep Island and Stinson Neck. It has been home to both eagles and osprey, but eagles had been its residents for a while.

After a chat with Bureau of Parks and Lands, it was decided that Potato could be reopened for use this year. However, it would take a fair bit of work to get the island ready for visitors!

A large tree covers the camp site on Potato.

After some work, a small crew took take of the downed tree, and returned the island to its previous visitor-ready state. While the crew was working, people stopped on the island to let them know about the nesting eagle. It was heartening to the volunteers that so many people knew about the eagle and cared about whether it was safe! Luckily, it was an easy explanation and now those visitors could share the news that the island was going to reopen.

A small crew got to work on the blow down.
Maria Jenness, MITA’s regional stewardship manager for the eastern half of the Trail, stands next to the tree stump.

After all the work to get the camp site cleared, visitors camped on the island this past weekend and shared some photos.

A perfectly cleared campsite, ready for visitors.
Ready to relax!