Vinalhaven Land Trust is proud to announce that its accreditation as an officially recognized land trust has been renewed by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, a program that promotes the highest national standards for ensuring permanence in the conservation of American lands. The accreditation seal we have been awarded recognizes VLT's sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance, and lasting stewardship of our lands.
This recognition would not have been possible without the support of our members and community. Thank you for helping to conserve the nature of Vinalhaven.
The Land for Maine’s Future Coalition, the Maine Land Trust Network, and L.L. Bean are encouraging people to enjoy Maine’s Great Outdoors this summer and beyond. There are many ways for you to participate. Begin by visiting mainepassport.org and requesting your Passport to Maine’s Outdoors. Featuring 36 conserved destinations around the state, the passport invites you to visit LMF-conserved properties, land trust preserves, and public lands in Maine. There are destinations located in all sixteen counties. While exploring the website, look for information on hundreds of other conserved areas you can explore with friends and family.
The website also provides an opportunity to enter a drawing for prizes donated by L.L. Bean, including a deluxe camping set, trail chairs, and tote bags. Winners will be chosen at random in the fall. There is no purchase necessary. To enter the drawing, one simply needs to enter their name, email address, and the name of their favorite passport destination by October 8, 2018.
Every day you enjoy a conserved property in Maine this year, be sure to share your adventures on Instagram with #MainesGreatOutdoors. Visit a photo gallery at landformainesfuture.org/gallery/ to view images from others discovering the incredible beauty of Maine’s conserved lands.
Established by Maine voters in 1987, the Land for Maine’s Future program has since conserved more than 150 special places, totaling over 600,000 acres. As the State of Maine's primary funding vehicle for conserving land, the program has made Maine a more desirable place to live while strengthening some of the state’s most important industries, including tourism, forest products, agriculture, and fishing. Unfortunately, the program has faced political setbacks over the past few years and needs public support to ensure that it can continue helping land trusts like us invest in Maine's future by preserving its nature.
Show your support for conservation and this important state program by getting out and enjoying the incredible work that LMF has accomplished. Learn more about the program, its projects and its hopes for the future at landformainesfuture.org.
The Maine Department of Marine Resources have brought the third batch of mature alewives to rebuild the spawning run on Vinalhaven. Dropped into Old Harbor Pond in late May, these adult fish will quickly spawn in the shallows before heading back out to sea. Their juveniles will stick around until August, when they will have grown large enough to start their own four-year odyssey through the ocean, before returning once more to repeat the spawning cycle on Vinalhaven.
Keep an eye on the pond this summer for some great wildlife activity. While they spawn, you'll see the water boil with moving fish, a sure sign that otters, loons, cormorants, ospreys, herons, and eagles will be dropping in for a snack.
Former board president Al Creighton passed away peacefully at the age of 100 on September 17th. He is survived by his wife Hilary of 57 years, four children, and several grand-children.
Al’s passion was preserving open space, and his leadership in this area was influential and ahead of its time. He encouraged conservation organizations to be aggressive in protecting land; to reach out, inform, and encourage landowners; and to establish working partnerships with land trusts and state agencies.
Although Al was well-traveled, it was his summers in Vinalhaven that he treasured most of all. He would, along with his children spend hours cutting paths on their property, giving them such names as “Skelton Gulch” or “Double Diamond”. In 1986, Al was instrumental in helping to establish Vinalhaven Land Trust. He served on the board from 1986-2008, and as president for many of those years. The resource room at Skoog Park is named in honor of both Al and Hilary. He played a big role in VLT’s first conservation projects, both easement and owned properties, and even after he stepped down from the board, he encouraged and often generously supported VLT’s acquisition and protection of many of our well-loved preserves. He also helped start or had a leadership role in other conservation organizations, such as the Manchester Conservation Trust (MECT), Essex County Greenbelt Organization, and was a long-time board member of Maine Coast Heritage Trust.
Vinalhaven will miss Al, but his memory will live on for generations to come in all the beautiful land he worked hard to protect for us all to enjoy.
The biggest news of the year was opening the Marcuse Wetland Preserve to the public, complete with a half-mile loop trail, boardwalks, benches, kiosk, preserve brochure, and a parking lot for visitors. We had two very well-attended programs there this summer with Nat Wheelwright and Javier Peñalosa as presenters. Special thanks to David “Tiny” Arey, who did a bang-up job on the parking lot there, as well as an enlargement of the parking lot at our Whitmore Pond Sanctuary. Hikers should bear in mind that the forest and swamp at Marcuse have long been popular spots for island hunters, and that’s a tradition VLT wants to see continue. So, put on your orange vest and hat before you venture out on the trails this fall.
Benches were an especially big item this year. We now have benches at fifteen different scenic locations around the island, if you count the picnic table at Skoog Park (which the public is always welcome to use, by the way). Whether you’re just looking to take a load off your feet and enjoy the view for a minute, or planning to sit for half an hour with a book or binoculars, the benches can add a lot to your hiking experience.
We also keep trying to make the trails safer. This includes widening them slightly to reduce the chances of hikers getting ticks, but also addressing things like steep grades and water crossings. We’ve rebuilt a set of steps at Granite Island, and we’ve also heard many thank-you’s regarding the set of timber steps at the steep pitch on Tip Toe Mountain’s loop trail. We’ve cut a new section of trail that allows hikers easier and safer access to the summit of Big Tip Toe, with a bench near the top where one can sit and enjoy the view of the Fox Island Thorofare and the Camden Hills beyond.
At the Andrew Smith (Fox Rocks) Preserve, landowner Louisa Ives has graciously allowed us to install two benches as well. One is at the high point of the property and will offer gorgeous panoramic views as the fall foliage gets colorful; the other looks down on Perry Creek from high ledges, and is a great place to sit and watch the ospreys and eagles at work.
These are the high points of this year’s trail work, but it’s good to also remember the basics—old bridging has been replaced, signs and on-site maps have been freshened, and as always friends of VLT have been great about volunteering to help us keep the brush back and the fallen branches picked up. We always smile when we see that some conscientious hiker has been trampling the rogue bracken ferns along a trail’s edge, so that they don’t spread their fronds out over the trail; or breaking back balsam fir tips that are crowding in on a trail. We welcome, and really appreciate, everyone’s help in this regard.
Kerry Hardy, Stewardship Coordinator