Jewell Island is consistently the most visited site on the Maine Island Trail, and has long history of human impact before the Trail’s founding in 1988. MITA’s involvement with the island, especially the addition of a caretaker sixteen years ago, has helped foster a sustainable model of visitation.
In 1991, the Brunswick Rotary Club recognized the need for more infrastructure on Jewell to deal with some of the problems of overuse during that time. A group of motivated individuals from the Club organized to build privies and fire rings across the island in memory of one of their members, Dr. Andrew Longley, Jr.
However, few updates have been made since the Club’s effort 26 years ago. This summer, MITA decided that our first ever crowdfunding campaign – the Jewell Renewal Fund – would focus on a round of much needed infrastructure updates so that long-time island caretaker Vinny Marotta could continue to properly care for the island.
The campaign launched with a grant from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund and continued throughout the summer. In the meantime, work on renovating the aging privies began. Materials were delivered to the island thanks to Hammond Lumber and a local barge owner, Greg Bergman.
Professional carpenter and dedicated volunteer Bill Mozak then helped Vinny build the privies and a new tool shed. The Jewell Renewal Fund supported the purchase of all the necessary supplies and tools. Bill will continue working throughout the fall to finish up the privies.
When all was said and done, the campaign reached $25,000 in contributions. Over 70 people and other funders donated to the effort. Many supporters came to the campaign with comments about their island experiences. Staff favorites were:
- “So many wonderful memories camping on Jewell.”
- “Go Vinny, Go! You’re the man!”
- “Always a great adventure. A must for anyone exploring Casco Bay.”
- “Great to see you again Vinny — the girls had a blast at the Punchbowl!”
- “Greatest place in Maine — let’s keep it that way!”
Through the campaign, MITA was able to reach people who visit and love the island but did not already have a personal connection with MITA. One of them was videographer Morgan Myer, who made the short film below. Morgan reached out to MITA because, like so many others, he had spent meaningful time on Jewell and wanted to capture why it’s such a special place. We’re thankful for his expertise and excited to share his video with you!
Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Jewell Renewal Fund, generations of boaters will continue to enjoy this world-class recreation destination.