After a multiple-year pandemic pause, supporters of the Maine Island Trail Association (commonly referred to as “MITA”) launched the 2024 summer boating season with the May 18 return of the nonprofit’s signature fundraiser, Splash, at East Coast Yacht Sales in Yarmouth.

About 300 guests – many in island prints and what event organizers described as “coastal smart casual” – enjoyed live music by string band The Ole Dustys, fresh-shucked oysters and passed hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction heavy on seascapes by local artists.

With 15 corporate sponsors and nearly 70 launch committee members (or hosts), the event netted about $38,000 to be used for boat fuel and other expenses related to cleaning up the islands.

MITA, the first island trail association founded in the United States, has been proving since 1988 that people who care about wild or natural places and want to be allowed to visit them can be successfully encouraged to care for them – picking up debris, clearing trails, removing invasive plants and maintaining campsites. In 2023, MITA volunteers put in 7,300 hours of work.

“The sites are privately or state-owned, and the owners count on us to do stewardship,” said board member Victor Otley of Raymond. “We’ve got a big job this year with the winter storm damage. But we’re up to the challenge.”

Volunteer Ben Fuller of Cushing is one of 41 monitor skippers who drive MITA-owned boats for cleanups, patrols and work projects.


“We’re making it possible for the public to get out on the islands,” he said, “and there’s a larger component of cleaning up after our fellow human beings, collecting everything from plastic water bottles to lobster traps.”

MITA’s 8,500 members have access to the “trail” – 220 sites along the entire length of the Maine coast.

“Without this organization, access could be tough,” said Harry Nelson, a kayaker from North Yarmouth. “But MITA’s app is unbelievable.”

A basic annual membership with the Maine Island Trail mobile app is $35. For more information, go to

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at

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