Wow – MITA’s 30th anniversary is coming up in 2018! Time has gone so fast, and we’re proud of the Trail we’ve built while staying true to our original philosophy – that those who visit the islands can also be those who care for them. To celebrate, we asked our Granite Society (folks with 20+ years of MITA membership) to submit their favorite stories and memories. Every other month we’ll share a few here on the Tales of the Trail blog, edited for length and clarity. These three are from some of our first members, including #2!
Member #2 South Thomaston, ME
One day I got a call from someone named Dave Getchell who said he was from the Island Institute, and wanted to come to my office in Milbridge to discuss this trail idea that he had.
A lot of things about the Trail resonated with me, but probably the one that I liked the best was the idea that users would be encouraged to adopt what is now known as “Leave no Trace” practices.
What really convinced me to get on board was hearing about Dave’s coast of Labrador trip [recounted in the Winter 2018 edition of the MITA newsletter]. I thought, here’s a guy who practices what he preaches! So, I joined the steering committee and after several more meetings, with Dave Getchell doing 90% of the work, MITA was launched.
Over the course of our planning meetings I got to know Dave and really started to appreciate what a remarkable character he is. It took me a while because he is not one to brag, but I learned that he is a man with many career accomplishments, and also advanced outdoor and boating skills, vision and, above all, dedication. Maine is incredibly fortunate to have people like Dave and Dorrie. Their public spirit and generosity is without equal and MITA is their enduring legacy.
Member #38 Bowdoinham, ME
I first found about MITA through an article I read in a small boat magazine that David Getchell had written describing his vision for the Trail. I was fascinated and immediately wrote him a note and told him that I was on board. …Fun, fun memories, and what gracious hosts, David and Dorrie.
I am reminded of an outing to Cow Island (Casco Bay) for a cookout picnic with family… I had brought a portable charcoal grill and was getting that ready to use when my young nephew (maybe 6 years old) came up to me and asked what I was doing. …What fun to educate young people on boating, camping, fishing and cooking other than on a kitchen range. I still enjoy this sport and am passing it on to my granddaughter and she is hooked as well.
Member #210 Beaconsfield, QC
Of Dave Getchell Sr., all I know is his Gunkholing column, published in the Small Boat Journal October 1987 issue, suggesting the development of a water trail linking the myriad islands along the Maine coast. I remember answering the very day I read his column.
…From age seven, I had had the chance to visit the Maine coast and its islands almost every other year. And now, Dave’s proposal to establish a trail would allow me to access safely and legally all those beautiful islands.
Workshops led by Dave and Dorrie Getchell, Ken Fink, Steve Spencer and others were great fun, but it’s mostly the food I remember. Rows of picnic tables assembled in the clearing at the top of the island, all sorts of delicacies being cooked on open fires or Coleman stoves, in the company of people who shared my love of the sea and of small boat cruising.
Over the years, I would have the chance to examine all sorts of boats, from kayaks to cruisers, from singlehanders to ships requiring a crew of six, share great food and stories, and even listen to bagpipe music under the full moon. So many great memories, all associated with the Trail.