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MITA Guidance on NSPN Trip Reports

Daniel Carr

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Prompted by inquiries by NSPN members, the MITA Trail Committee recently took up the subject of NSPN Trip Report postings and private island information.  We understand that the past NSPN guidance has been to omit pictures and direct references to privately owned islands on the Trail.  We are unsure of the history of this practice; although we understand and appreciate that the motivation has been out of respect for island owner privacy and promotion of responsible use.

We believe that it is ok for NSPN members to post pictures and describe their experiences visiting both private and public islands on the NSPN Trip Report Board.  We say this out of MITA’s trust for NSPN members and considering that the trip reports are a modest means of promoting use by responsible users. However, recognizing that the trip reports may not contain all of the information necessary to plan a visit to these places, we ask that the following disclaimer be added to such reports…….

Access to coastal islands is a privilege built on landowner trust and visitor care. Visitation guidelines vary by island and owner expectations can change from year to year. When planning a trip, please be sure you have the most up to date information for each island, and be a mindful guest when you visit. The Maine Island Trail Association is a good source of information about many coastal Maine islands open for recreational use, www.MITA.org. MITA membership is the best way to keep current and support responsible use and stewardship of these special places. 

The intent is to make sure that readers of reports understand that the NSPN trip report is not the equivalent of the information MITA provides in the guide and App, and that the owner’s wishes are more likely to be understood and respected with full and current information. As you know many islands have areas open for visitation and areas that are not.  Visits to some islands are restricted to parts of the season due to nesting seabirds. Some owners ask that visitors call in advance to obtain permission/reservations.  Owner wishes may change from year to year.  

Island and mainland sites are able to be identified as part of the Maine Island Trail on the basis of trust and a handshake.  We also have trust that NSPN members understand the special relationship with island owners flows to users through MITA.  MITA is continually working to improve the trail, and to support access, responsible use, and care for these special places. Thanks NSPN, we look forward to seeing you on the trail. 

If there are questions please respond to this positing, private message to me,  or by email to MITA’s Program Director Brian Marcaurelle, [email protected]


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