BikeMaine 2016 Route Highlight: Maine Island Trail Association (MITA)
The Maine Island Trail Association (MITA) is a grassroots membership organization of boaters and environmentalists. Originally established in 1988 as a program of the Island Institute, MITA became independent in 1993. Over 28 years, it has developed and managed America’s first recreational water trail – the Maine Island Trail! The Trail itself has grown from an initial 30 state-owned islands to 217 sites in 2016 through handshake agreements with 90 diverse landowners – public agencies, private families, and nonprofit institutions. In a simple trust-based model, MITA cares for these fragile places in exchange for permission to access them, proving Dave Getchell Sr.’s 1987 assertion that “people who care about the islands will care for them,” MITA organized over 4,200 hours of volunteer labor by 400 individuals in 2015 – the equivalent of two full-time year-round staff people. We provide our volunteers and over 5,500 current members with inspiring adventures, all while caring for and preserving access to the wild islands of coastal Maine.
Our work in the Downeast and Cobscook Bay regions focuses on building awareness of the fragility of island ecosystems, as well as education about small boat safety. The Trail has only come to Cobscook recently, and we are still spreading the word about our presence in the region. Learn more about our work at www.mita.org, and check our online calendar to learn about upcoming cleanups and work projects in the area.”