Recreational Island Monitoring

As interest in recreational opportunities on Maine's public and private islands continues to grow, recreation management will increasingly depend on science-based information about the relationship between island use and island conditions. Natalie coordinates the new multi-organization island monitoring task force, whose goal is to develop science-based island monitoring methods that will help managers and island owners achieve their island management objectives. The long-range goal is to define methods that are replicable by volunteers who can become involved in informing management decisions about the islands they use for recreation.

The Recreational Island Monitoring project is a three-year baseline project to develop the foundations of a long-range island-monitoring plan on various recreational islands on the Maine coast. The project includes the development of island-specific recreation ecology study methods, the implementation of methods useable by volunteer, student or recreational groups, and the gathering of baseline data on specific islands.

Between the public islands on the Maine Island Trail, and the numerous islands managed by land trusts, private entities, and state and federal agencies, there are well over 100 islands on the Maine coast that are open to various levels of recreational use. These islands provide destinations to a growing number of recreational users and are subject to impacts by these users. Given the importance of the tourism industry to Maine's coastal economy, it has become all the more important to develop management strategies that protect recreation destinations while protecting island ecosystems and ensuring public access. The Intertidal Zone Monitoring component of the project is developing methods for monitoring the impact of recreational use on island intertidal zones.

The Bureau of Parks and Lands and the Maine Island Trail Association, in the Public Islands Management Plan (1.04 MB) identify the need of monitoring islands with a specific goal of providing data to inform management decisions. The Public Islands Management Plan provides the impetus to develop island-monitoring methods that can be applied to a wider scope of coastal Maine's recreational islands.

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For more information about Recreational Island Monitoring, contact Natalie Springuel.