Vinalhaven Land Trust was incorporated in 1986, near the beginning of the land trust movement in downeast Maine. Since then, VLT has succeeded in conserving many “whole places” that have significant natural features and little or no development. Working with landowners and partner groups, Vinalhaven Land Trust has helped to preserve:
In addition to these wonderful preserves, Vinalhaven Land Trust has worked closely with the community on a number of additional endeavors. These other accomplishments include:
In 1993, George Flynn gave 1.3 acres along Sands Cove to Vinalhaven Land Trust to serve as a park in memory of Gosta Skoog, a long time boat-builder on the island whose last boat shop was on the site. As George was thinking about the future of his property after Gus died in 1987, he searched for some way to meld a love of the land with his affection and admiration for the sea and to commemorate the skills, work habits, and sturdy character of Gus Skoog. Soon thereafter, the VLT staff moved into the cabin-by-the-sea built by Gus near his boat house, and it became the VLT office. As the organization grew, so did the workspace needs, and in 2006-2007 the building underwent an additional expansion and landscaping.
Many hours were spent planning how the modest expansion could do more than provide the much needed office and meeting space. The result is that the office now serves as the center of conservation resources and environmental education for all of Vinalhaven. The resource room, designed for VLT’s expanding collection of books, maps, field guides and other information about the natural world, also provides an area where local naturalists could create displays of island flora, fauna, and geology in an effort to better educate visitors to the natural wonders of Vinalhaven.
Named at the 2008 annual meeting to honor Al and Hilary Creighton’s lifetime of accomplishment in conservation, the Al and Hilary Creighton Resource Room is now complete. Thoughtfully designed by Elaine Crossman and skillfully put together by Skip Thompson and Bob Candage, the well-lit room is furnished with efficiently arranged “made in Maine” maple cabinets for storage, a large bulletin board for timely displays, and a desk, chair, and window seat, creating a comfortable place for any interested individuals to come read, research, or consult with staff members. On a ceiling beam hangs a half model used by Gus Skoog in his boat building business and donated by George Flynn. Sue Dempster, Vinalhaven School Librarian, has offered to consult with VLT on the organization of our printed materials. Study skins from John Drury’s bird taxidermy collection, which spans years of his research with local bird populations, are displayed there as well.
Skoog Park, just a short walk from the ferry on Sands Road, is open during daylight hours for picknicking, exploring, and watching the activities of the harbor - lobstermen coming and going, the ferry, and young people in the Island Sail program learning to sail.
When the flag is up, visitors are welcome in the office to peruse the many maps of island ecology and visit the Al and Hilary Creighton Resource Room. Official office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Pam Alley is a member of the Conway family, long time residents of Vinalhaven. She has been active in the community for years with service on the Sewer and Water Committees and is currently on the Library Board of Trustees as well as a member of the tuneful Granite Chicks. Pam enjoys hiking on the island trails and snow shoeing in the winter. She is finding that being a VLT Board member is quite satisfying so "I can explain to my friends and neighbors in a knowledgeable way what the VLT stands for. As a native islander and lover of nature, I truly want to help in conserving the beauty of my island."
Carol moved to Vinalhaven in 2002 after visiting a friend and seeing the island as an opportunity to change her lifestyle, to be closer to nature and community, and to examine ideals that had become important to her. She had been working as an International Flight Attendant and commuted back and forth to her hubs in Boston and New York for many years before retiring after 27 years in 2013. Since then, events led to changes in her work life. Retired from the airline, she resumed her passion for Asian healing arts, fiddle playing, permaculture gardening and walking the beautiful trails of Vinalhaven. Carol lives in the village with her husband, Mark Jackson.
Jim Boone is a 28-year summer resident and, since retiring as a high school counselor, has been spending half the year on Vinalhaven. Jim became involved in the land trust through attending VLT's Walks and Talks and became a committee member before first joining the Board in 2007. Having a strong interest in historical issues as well as his love for the land on Vinalhaven, Jim has, as chair of the Walks and Talks Committee, introduced programs that include Vinalhaven’s historical spaces, feeling they all are a part of that which makes Vinalhaven such a special place. Jim says, “Vinalhaven is rich in natural beauty and it is important to understand that the natural beauty is enhanced by understanding that people and the man-made environment are a part of the whole that we love so much. Presenting the stories of the people and places within the context of the natural environment makes the Vinalhaven story even richer."
"My Grandparents, Leverett and Alice Saltonstall, loved going up Perry’s Creek at high tide and I was with them in the late '70s when they talked about putting development restrictions on a long piece of the property they owned on the north side. It came to my uncle, Bill Saltonstall, my mother, Emily Byrd and my cousins George Lewis and Lee and Eleanor Campbell and especially the Smith family to 'make it happen'. I believe that now all of the shore frontage on this quiet cove is protected. There are long hiking trails on both sides and it is really a very special place. One of my brothers and I hiked almost all of the VLT trails last summer when there was not enough wind to go sailing, and we were amazed at the work the land trust has done. So, in short, I am happy to be on board!"
Lee Campbell has been a middle school history teacher and administrator, and has been a summer resident on Vinalhaven all his life, living up at the north end of the island on the Thoroughfare. He has spent much time in Perry's Creek and has been interested in land conservation for many years, and in the work of the Land Trust Alliance in helping land trusts become accredited. His mother, Eleanor, gave the preserve in her name around Polly's Cove and the old swimming pool. His principal recreation and passion has been sailing locally and along the Maine coast, as well as in the Canadian Maritimes and offshore along the East Coast. He has served on the board of the North Haven Historical Society, and has been President of the North Haven Casino, and looks forward to serving on the VLT board.
Emily came to Vinalhaven for a one-year position at the school in 2008 and ended up enjoying it so much, she stayed! She studied K-8 Education with a focus in Science and Place-Based Education at Antioch University in New England and teaches middle school science and social studies at the Vinalhaven School. She loves the connection with VLT and has served on the Environmental Education Committee. Each year, middle school students go on an excursion to build a connection with nature, as close as Lane's Island and as far away as Mount Katahdin thanks to coordination with the Vinalhaven Land Trust. Emily believes that kids must connect with nature before they decide to protect it, and that the students of Vinalhaven are some of the most fun people on the planet to explore with! Emily is grateful for the opportunity to serve on the board and give back to an organization that has enriched her experience here.
Eric and his wife Bonnie were born and have lived on Vinalhaven their whole lives. Eric goes lobstering. He has been a member of Vinalhaven Land Trust since the late '80's and was the President in the late '90's. He was deeply involved with the protection of Lanes, Nubble, Otter, Roberts, and Stoddard Islands, as well as the creation of the Eleanor L. Campbell Preserve. He has served on many town boards and committees. Currently, he is on the Budget, Cemetery, and Waste Watchers Committees. Eric says, "I feel that Vinalhaven Land Trust is the right organization to protect and manage Vinalhaven's special places for future generations to enjoy."
Chuck Gadzik and his wife Cynthia began building a home on the island over 15 years ago and have been year-round residents since 2006. Chuck has been involved in Maine forestry for over 30 years in both public policy and managing commercial forest lands in eastern and northern Maine. He currently manages timber holdings in Aroostook County part time. He is an avid walker and enjoys VLT trails and properties.
Karen Gates' family has been a part of the North Haven/Vinalhaven community for three generations. She is a veterinarian and avid rider. She practices veterinary medicine in Yardley, PA and in recent years has reduced her practice to nine months so she can spend the summers on Vinalhaven. She is also very active in the Island Sail program, having run it for quite a few summers. In Karen's words, "I am thrilled to join VLT in its efforts to preserve the land on and around Vinalhaven Island. Having watched suburbia engulf my once rural winter home, I feel privileged to help avoid the same demise on this unique piece of the planet. I feel that Vinalhaven Land Trust and the community of Vinalhaven are shining examples of how to move forward in modern times while still maintaining the aspects of our world that we consider so precious."
David Hyde has been a summer resident on Maine islands for over thirty years, and a seasonal resident of Vinalhaven for ten. He finds himself drawn to islands, valuing their beauty and topography as much as the communities that exist on them. He has been connected to the environmental community in Maine for many years and served on the Board of Maine Audubon for seven years. He started and ran a not for profit organization so understands the challenges of that world and also its importance to achieving its goal of land conservation, specifically on Vinalhaven. When not enjoying his home on Old Harbor, he lives in Pownal, ME with his wife, Sarah.
Bill and Bev Jaques have been Vinalhaven summer residents since 1977 and enjoy sharing the island and its wonderful community with their children, grandchildren, and friends. Bill began his career as a teacher and institutional development officer. In 1987, he founded Jaques & Company, and he and his team have spent the past thirty years advising 130 non-profit organizations across the country on fund-raising, strategy, financial strategy, and governing board development. He is an inveterate weekend athlete, carpenter/furniture maker, gardener, reader, and community volunteer. Bill is so pleased to be joining the VLT Board, commenting, “VLT has earned an important place in Vinalhaven’s community development over the past three decades, and I look forward to helping it tackle the challenges of the next generation.”
Cay began volunteering with VLT by painting the office trim while her two children were off with Island Sail. Following an initial career in mineral exploration geology in the northwest U.S., Cay currently works as a freelance graphic designer, and has created posters and ads for the Walks and Talks program. After two decades of renting, she and husband, George, purchased an 1850s Cape which they are in the process of renovating. Prior to moving to Vinalhaven full time Cay lived in Yarmouth, ME, for 29 years where she spearheaded efforts to protect the Spear Farm Estuary Preserve. She’s been active with the Yarmouth Conservation Commission, Royal River Conservation Trust, Yarmouth Community Garden and the Merrill Memorial Library Arts Committee.
Susie and her husband, David, have enjoyed being seasonal residents on Calderwood Neck for over 20 years. As she has said, “my frequent walks through the Eleanor Campbell Preserve at Polly Cove and our many visits by boat to Perry’s Creek are among the many chances we have to admire the peace and beauty of protected land, making me want to do what I can to make sure our children and grandchildren will have those same chances and privilege in the future.” Susie may be found hiking many of our trails in all seasons, usually with her dog, Baxter. She first joined the Board in 2004, serving on the Membership and Development Committee and chairing the 25th Anniversary Capital Campaign which ultimately enabled the creation of Tip Toe Mountain Preserve and added to the endowment fund for land stewardship. Susie served as our president from 2008-2013 and is pleased to be returning to the Board.
Sean serves as the Executive Vice President and Director of the Maine office of the Conservation Law Foundation. Prior to joining CLF in 2007, Sean practiced environmental law in San Francisco and Portland, ME for 15 years, where he represented a variety of commercial and non-governmental entities in all aspects of state and federal environmental litigation and permitting. At CLF, Sean focuses on marine conservation and sustainability, climate change, transportation and energy infrastructure, and restoring and protecting Maine’s rivers and coastal watersheds. Sean lives in Falmouth, Maine and has been coming to Vinalhaven for the last decade to Calderwood Neck. He has been known to try to keep up on Saturday evenings on the soccer field during the summer and is usually at least a 3 crab sandwich consumer on the 4th. Sean received his undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College and his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Prior to law school he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sri Lanka. Sean has served on a number of boards, including GrowSmart Maine (chair), Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Konbit Sante and the Falmouth Land Trust, and served as a Town Councilor in Falmouth.
Lucy first joined the board of VLT after moving to the Fox Islands 30 plus years ago. Subsequently, she worked 18 years at the land trust, conserving the nature of Vinalhaven and positioning VLT to receive national accreditation. An engaged member of the community, Lucy has served on the Board of Appeals, comprehensive planning committee and currently chairs the town budget committee. She also serves on the board of Maine Coast Heritage Trust. She lives with her husband, John Drury, and is enjoying her time on Green's island.
I have lived on Vinalhaven my entire 26 years of life. I love the island culture and enjoy being on a lobstering boat as well as in a classroom. I taught for three years at the Vinalhaven School in the 3rd grade until I had a son this past year. I plan to return to the classroom in the upcoming year 2016-2017 to pursue my dreams as a teacher. My entire life has revolved around Vinalhaven and to be able to be a part of an organization that cares about, teaches, and enriches our community is a humbling experience. I enjoy hiking the trails with my husband and son, taking rides in my husband’s lobster boat around our beautiful island, and spending time with my family who has lived on Vinalhaven for generations.
Kevin and his wife Kristel have been living on Vinalhaven full time for five years. They are proprietors of Island Groundworks, specializing in concrete constructions on his side of the company and gardening and landscaping on hers.
Blake Reidy is a born and raised islander. She graduated from Vinalhaven School in 2012 and pursued a degree in Elementary Education at the University of New England. While at UNE, Blake developed a passion for traveling after taking courses that visited Dominica, Ireland, and England. She followed this passion and backpacked Europe for a semester with a long-time island friend. Although she enjoyed her experiences abroad, she always knew she would return to Vinalhaven. Blake graduated from UNE in 2016 and happily accepted the third grade teaching position at Vinalhaven School. She is also pursuing a masters degree in K-12 Reading and Literacy Instruction. In her spare time, Blake enjoys reading, traveling, and hiking with her boyfriend, Bobby, and dog, Diesel. She is excited for the opportunity to join the board of the land trust and help with the preservation and conservation of her island home.
Steve is a life-long fisherman and a Navy veteran. He has served on a variety of boards, including the Lobsterman’s Co-op and ICMS, in addition to previous time on the VLT board in the 1980’s and was involved in the first land trust purchase on Ambrust Hill. Steve has always strongly believed in the importance of preserving open spaces to ensure the quality of life for future generations. He is active in lobster and halibut research with the state, and has taken part in the International Lobster Exchange program between Maine and Australia as well. Steve lives in Vinalhaven with his wife Alice. She is a former art teacher at North Haven Community School and is currently the Executive Director of PIE. His daughter, Emma, is a graduate of Bowdoin College and has been an English teacher to elementary students in Spain and Watertown, MA. She is now pursuing her Masters at BC. His son Sam is a grad of College of the Atlantic, an avid traveler, and fishes here in Vinalhaven.
Elizabeth Swain first set foot on Vinalhaven in 1986, and has been setting out along VLT's extensive trail system ever since. She is returning to the board after being term-limited off in 2009. "Why would I sign up for another tour of duty? Because VLT is such an important part of this community, helping protect habitat and public access to the traditional places islanders and seasonal residents have long enjoyed." She is a committed volunteer on the Walks & Talks committee, and enjoys learning something new on the weekend walks all summer. Trained as a forester, Elizabeth is part of a public affairs and environmental consulting firm in Portland. She also serves on the Board of Maine Huts & Trails, and chaired the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission. When not in Old Harbor, she lives in Pownal, Maine.
Pam Wetherbee is so grateful to the islanders and seasonal residents who had the foresight in the last century to begin protecting the special natural and historic places that make Vinalhaven so unique. She has been happily spending time on Vinalhaven for almost 5 decades and now resides five months of the year on Old Harbor. Pam is also on the board of the Friends of the Vinalhaven Library and is an enthusiastic member of the Eldercare "Bottle Brigade." She works as a financial services consultant and project manager, and when not in Vinalhaven, lives in Dover, MA.
Vinalhaven Land Trust promotes the conservation and appreciation of our island's significant plant and wildlife habitat, our water resources, and scenic or traditionally valued spaces in order to preserve the character of the community for generations to come.
Click here for membership forms.