Most of the wildlands of Monhegan Island are privately owned and managed by the Monhegan Associates Inc., a land trust. The trust is dedicated to sustaining the natural beauty and ecology of these lands while keeping them accessible to visitors.
Below is a list of governing documents that encompass the policy of land governance. These documents have evolved over the years of discussion and decisions by various groups of Trustees who are responsible for preserving the land and reflect the current position of the land ownership. Please respect posted rules so that the land can be enjoyed in its natural state by all.
Legal Governing Documents:
Monhegan Associates Inc. Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation – This is the overarching legal document that governs the associates.
Stewardship Plan, 2004 – This is the stewardship plan that was written and approved by the Trustees in 2004 and remains in effect as the principle guiding document for day to day oversight and management of the land.
Proposed Stewardship Plan revision, 2016 – This reflects a significant effort to update the 2004 plan. In the end it was never ratified by the Trustees, but contains much valuable insight and thinking about the stewardship of the land.
Additional Written Policies:
Additional policies have been written to clarify or detail certain aspects of land oversight with more specific guidance on their implementation. These policies were voted on by the Trustees and are considered to supercede and prior understanding of the area being addressed. These policies can be revised as new insights or understanding about the specific area are learned.
Trail Maintenance Policy – How the day to day trimming and grooming of the trails are done on the Monhegan trail system.
Signage Policy – This policy governs the details of the signs that are used on the trails in the Monhegan Wildlands
Bridging Policy – This policy outlines what types of bridges may be used for the crossing of wet trails in the Monhegan Wildlands
Additional Unwritten Policies:
In addition to the above specific policies, there are a number of policies that were voted on by the Trustees at various times that have yet to be officially written into formal policies. Most of these relate to personal safety or the preservation of the tranquil and natural ambience of the undisturbed wildlands.
The following activities are prohibited on Monhegan Associates Land:
- Smoking and any other Fire ( ) – The Wildlands are a serious fire hazard and the MAI has adopted a policy prohibiting all smoking and fires on its properties.
- Wheeled Vehicles ( ) – Wheeled vehicles such as bicycles, dirt bikes, strollers, ATVs and the like.
- Camping ( ) –
- Drones (2018) – The charter of the Associates is to preserve the wildlands for posterity and the interpretation of this by the Trustees has been to protect the land for the enjoyment of all. In the Summer of 2018, the trustees voted unanimously to forbid the flying or launching of drones on its properties. While we recognize the allure of flying photographic drones around this island, it is also recognized many persons traveling these lands come to the island to escape the trends of the mainland culture and drones are considered an invasion of the tranquility of the wildlands.
- Technical Rock Climbing ( ) – While the rocky headlands on Monhegan are very attractive to some technical rock climbers, Monhegan as a community, ten miles by sea from the nearest mainland access, is not equipped to handle accidents associated with this activity.
- Landing of Commercial or Private Aircraft – (2018) – The exceptions are the landing of Life-Flight medical emergency aircraft or law enforcement and military aircraft. In the event that these landings are necessary, there are specific protocols that are practiced to ensure the safety of bystanders.
- Use of Herbicides ( 2013 ) – While invasive plant species are challenging Monhegan Island, a decision by the trustees has prohibited the use of herbicides on the fragile and isolated ecosystem that exists on the island.