Stonington Paddleing

-- Last Updated: Jul-20-12 9:54 PM EST --

I have a list of islands. Can anyone tell me which are good for camping?
Bold: Camp: Millet:
Devil: Coombs: Saddleback:
Clam: Shingle: Spruce:
Green: St. Helena: George:
Wreck: McGlathery: Round:
Green....just looking for some spots to paddle to and spend a few nights. Thx in advance.

This time of year…
I’d camp wherever there is room, might be crowded up there. I’d keep a list of islands handy, or mark them on your chart, and just look for whatever is available.

I’ve spent a night on saddleback, nice island with a big grassy tent site, and also Buckle, smaller tent site but charming in it’s own way.

Never heard
Of any of those places, where you from?

think thats Stonington Maine, Gary. NM

Check with Old Quarry
Many of the islands you have listed are not open for camping and many are not open for day use either as they are privately owned.

The folks at Old Quarry can give you good advice about camping islands.

Join Maine Island Trail Association

– Last Updated: Jul-21-12 4:18 PM EST –

You'll get a great guide book listing all the islands you can camp on and be supporting a great organization.

Only one of those islands you’ve listed allows camping. I’d recommend joining MITA. That’s the easiest way to learn which islands you can use. Another useful resource is the Maine Coast Heritage Trust website. They own a number of islands in the area, and outline which are open for day or overnight use on their website.

You could also look for the Sea Kayaker article written by Michael Daugherty (of Old Quarry) about 2 years ago. He described a number of routes in that area.

Launching from Old Quarry will allow you to discuss plans with a guide, and get charts etc. It’s also the easiest place to find overnight parking.

We’re from Indy. Thx for the info!

August I spent four days (during the third week) paddling around the islands off Stonington. I slept on three of the legit islands. The $40 I spent to join MITA was well worth it for the guidebook and island access. Even though I’m told it can be crowded there in late summer and the weather was very nice, I saw only two paddlers the entire time. It is definitely a great place to kayak.

Public, MITA, and Coastal Heritage Islan

– Last Updated: Jul-23-12 10:40 AM EST –

Most of the islands you have listed are privately owned and are not open for overnight camping. McClatherty's is open for day use only, no overnights as are some of the others you have listed. Saddleback is a Maine Coastal Heritage Island that does allow camping

There are some state owned islands in the stonington area (Hells Half Acre and Steeves are the ones that stick out) that you don't have to belong to MITA to camp on even though they are listed as being on the Maine Island Trail---Russ is owned by the Chewonki foundation and they do allow public overnight camping. Harbor, Wheat, and Kimballs all have camping spots for MITA members which are also open to the public I believe. Others are privately owned and are open to camping to MITA members only.

Although you should join MITA just on principal if you use the campsites, some are open to the public generally and there are no MITA police who will kick you off--there is an intern from MITAA who will occasionally check on your use but they never have asked to see my or anybody else's membership card--that being said you should join because you because you get a great guidebook and don't have to ask questions on

ps when you park at Old Quarry, which is the only place I would leave a car alone for three or four days in Stonington, you can purchase a MITA membership and guidebook (or at least you could as of 2009)

Third for Join MITA

– Last Updated: Jul-22-12 8:29 AM EST –

They have all of their stuff on their web site, available to members. Good info on camping. And if you are talking about private islands, you shouldn't even be day stopping on them without being a member.

private camping islands
MITA has asked that you not publicize the islands that are available to members.

Thanks, Nate

Shouldn’t have to join a private org …
… to find out what Maine islands are public. That should be public information provided free to the public by the state.

Yet it’s hard to find a complete public list. There is something called the Maine Coastal Islands Registry, which is abstracted in this Wikipedia article:

People who own private (NOT public) islands offer MITA members the ability to use them. Feel free to find public islands, you don’t need to be a MITA member to do so.


Disagree with what?
My post was exclusively about public islands. I said absolutely nothing about private islands – those offered to MITA or otherwise.

You disagree that the public should be made publicly aware by the public government as to what lands, including islands, are public? Either you didn’t understand my post or I don’t understand yours.

Once the public knows what islands are public, it then knows that the remainder are private and not subject to camping. If there are exceptions regarding camping on private islands exclusively for MITA members, that’s a different subject.

Not a state function in Maine

– Last Updated: Jul-23-12 8:19 AM EST –

The state of Maine does not manage the islands on the trial, public or private. It is not a state function. They have basically handed that off to MITA, a private non-profit, and it is MITA that both manages the public islands and makes arrangements with owners for the private ones. All the state does is approve the management plan as needed for the public islands, apparently about once a decade.

This is not how other states handle it, but Maine isn't New York or Connecticutt.

Also, finding the public islands is very easy. I got the following response to a Google of "state of maine public islands", which describes this well. And the MITA site which is referred to about five times in this thread lists the public ones, available from a very visible link on the home page, in the .pdf of the management plan for the trail. It is developed by MITA and approved by the Bureau of Conservation. It contains more than one listing of the public islands on the trail. No one needs to be a member to see it.

private islands

– Last Updated: Jul-23-12 10:31 AM EST –

you mean the private islands---not the state owned or other public (coastal heritage trust) ones---reference to privately owned island now deleted


– Last Updated: Jul-23-12 10:42 AM EST –

most of the state owned islands with campgrounds are actually posted as such somewhere on the island---

but I have to point out that most of the islands listed in the initial post are privately owned---some tolerate people landing on them, others don't--there is a story circulating in the Stonington area that I heard about 4 years ago of someone landing on a private island and being confronted by an angry landowner with a firearm--The OP really doesn't need that kind of aggravation and joining MITA will give access to all the islands on the trail which allow camping, including some very nice, private ones.

its well worth the bucks
nothwithstanding that some folks feel camping ought always to be free, I am thankful for the opportunities that MITA gives me.

The guidebook also gives guidelines of when NOT to camp on some otherwise open islands and why.

We are travelling across North America and I am appalled that the cheapest we could buy a week long pass for Canada National Parks was (at half price yet) was over a hundred bucks for two of us. Camping is up to forty bucks a night.

In retrospect the forty five bucks I spent for MITA membreship has allowed two of us to get a bargain just on one trip this year.

We get lovely islands and do not have to worry about island overcrowding.

Yes even in July.

MITA pdf not a full list of public isles
Celia, thanks for the info that there is a list of public islands in the MITA Management Plan, which however I had to search for on their site.

There is a list and map of 45 state-owned islands in Appendix B of this document:

However, the plan document itself says (on page i) that many categories of public islands are not addressed or listed:

“This document does not address the state park islands, the public coastal islands managed by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IF&W), the National Park Service (NPS), and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USF&WS), or private islands that allow public use.”

So, I’m not sure where one would go to get a complete list of all the public Maine islands other than to pay $45 to MITA, in which case you also get a list of the private islands that allow public use.

It’s not clear, at least from this document, that even the MITA list would have all the public islands, other than the 45 subject to MITA management. Maybe you find out if you pay your money.