About Poison Ivy on MAI Land

By: Fred Faller, MAI President

Please note the following:

  • MAI has a policy specifically related to the management of Poison Ivy on MAI lands. This policy can be found and read here.
  • MAI has a general policy forbidding the use of any herbicides on its land for ecological reasons stated in the policy, which can be found and read here.

  • MAI has a Signage Policy that governs how identification of a Poison Ivy hazard is handled – you can find and read that here.

  • The responsibility of removing Poison Ivy from our trails is assigned to the trails committee in the Poison Ivy policy. You can read the trail maintenance policy here.

  • Because of these policies, the removal of Poison Ivy from the proximity of the trails on MAI land can only be affected by mechanical removal and disposal of the plant. It can be expensive to hire professionals to do this removal.

Private Land

MAI land is private land that allows the passage of visitors according to Maine State Law where visitors do so at their own risk. MAI land is not a state or federal park and receives no funding from either entity, therefore  MAI is under no legal obligation to maintain its trails to any specific level or code. This makes access to our wildlands wild and wonderful and different from any park type situation. It also leaves our trails wilder than most parks, and part of that wildness is the presence of poison ivy. While our desire would be for a Poison Ivy free trail system, this is often not feasible.

Trail Maintenance by MAI

Our Trails policy describes the removal of Poison Ivy plants near the trails to make them readily passable by human traffic. The work, including the removal of Poison Ivy, is largely done by volunteers, and in some cases paid workers.  The extent to which we can maintain trails that are free from Poison Ivy is dependent on having people willing to do the work, or sufficient donations to the organization to hire people to do the work. We try to keep Poison Ivy back two feet from the edge of the trail tread.

Trail Map

The MAI Trail map shows the trails that MAI maintains. There are many spur trails that humans tend to create in their wandering that are not on the map. We discourage the creation of such trails and do not maintain them in any way, including the removal of Poison Ivy.

Dogs and Poison Ivy

Monhegan has a uniform leash lease law for dogs covering the whole island. The Monhegan Associates recognizes this law. It would be impossible for MAI to remove Poison Ivy to a level that would keep an unleashed dog or a dog on a long leash from wandering through it near our trails. The best defense against transmission from dogs is to keep dogs out of Poison Ivy and stay out of areas of the island where Poison Ivy is common in the wildlands.

There are a number of good articles on the web about Dogs and Poison Ivy. Dogs can be affected directly but it is rare, but their fur/hair can transmit the oil to humans or to things that humans may touch. (rugs, furniture, beds, etc).