Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Washington County Nature Preserves

Commissary Point. With over two miles of undeveloped, scenic views, highly productive shorefront and wildlife habitat along Cobscook Bay, the Point includes 200 acres plus a 50-acre easement. It lies in Trescott Township across Whiting Bay from Tide Mill Farm and has similar high-quality shoreline values, including over two miles of undeveloped, highly productive shorefront and wildlife habitat.

The protection of Commissary Point, and other parcels in Cobscook Bay, helps further the goals of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, developed under a treaty between Canada and the United States. The property is managed by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Cutler Coast Public Preserved Land, Cutler and Whiting. On Washington County’s Bold Coast, it contains almost five miles of dramatic cliff-bound ocean shore. The 12,000-acre area represents the eastern tip of Washington County where peatlands, blueberry barrens, partially forested ledges, and thick, swampy woods dominate the countryside. Unusual features like grasslands and meadows, windswept coastal headlands and steep, jagged cliffs that jut into the ocean hug the 4.5 miles of totally undeveloped coastline. Access is from Route 191 in Cutler.

East Plummer Island, Addison. This 10 acre island is densely forested and home to Bald eagles. It is closed during early summer for nesting. The Nature Conservancy and State Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Flint Island, Harrington. No trails run through the Spruce-fir forest, but it the shores are navigable, and there is a beach landing. There are interesting lavender-gray, fossil-bearing cliffs and seals haul-out on nearby ledges. Managed by The Nature Conservancy.

Great Wass Archipelago, Beals-Jonesport. The Nature Conservancy manages 15 islands (Great Wass, Crumple, Mistake, The Man Islands, Little Hardwood, Black, Mark, Seguin, Head Harbor, Devil, Marsh, Little Peabody and Big Peabody) on the edge of the Gulf of Maine off the Jonesport peninsula. The islands have many topographical similarities though each has its own character. They are all usually cool, wet and windy. Great Wass at 1,579 acres is by far the largest and features a cool spruce forest, a wetland with sundews, and two beaches.

Larrabee Heath, Machiasport. Coastal raised peatland with appropriate plants such as black crowberry and baked-apple berry. Use discretion when visiting the heath as it is a sensitive habitat. There are a number of game trails which run through the area. Managed by the Nature Conservancy.

Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge and the Maine Coastal Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Established in 1974, the 1,841-acre refuge includes Petit Manan peninsula, nearby Bois Bubert Island (public use permitted except at northern end), and Petit Manan and Nash islands (both with lighthouses). The islands are accessible by private boat. Great for nature study and birding (reportedly the best place in Maine to see whimbrels) and there’s a wilderness feeling to its woods, bog and outcrops (546-2124).

The refuge includes 43 islands along 200 miles of coastline, from Duck Island near the Isles of Shoals in the south, to others in Muscongus Bay, and near Mount Desert and Isle au Haut.

The Trail in the Edmunds Division, Moosehorn Refuge (2004)

Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, Baring and Edmunds Township. A 22,665-acre refuge that contains about 30 mammal species and 200 species of birds. It includes bogs, marshes, open water, rocky hills, and forest. Moosehorn is managed for the preservation and protection of endangered species. The refuge consists of two divisions. The Baring Division covers 17,200 acres and is located southwest of Calais. The 7,200 acre Edmunds Division sits between Dennysville and Whiting on U.S. Route 1 and borders the tidal waters of Cobscook Bay. Each division contains a National Wilderness Area managed to preserve their wild character. There is a visitor’s center at the north end.

Rocky Lake Public Reserved Land, T18 ED BPP. represents more than 10,000 acres of opportunities for backcountry and remote recreation – just 10 miles north of U.S. Route 1 near Machias on Maine Route 191. Offering good examples of the glacial landscape of eastern Maine, this area has low, forested ridges in otherwise level terrain, meandering rivers and streams bordered by wetlands, and shallow, rocky lakes dotted with islands.

South Lubec Sand Bar, Lubec. This unusual barrier beach and the extensive tidal mud flats which adjoin it, managed by the Nature Conservancy, are an internationally important shorebird staging area. In the fall, tens of thousands of shorebirds congregate at this site to feed and rest during their southern migration.

Tide Mill Farm. Coastal access including significant habitat for wintering waterfowl, migrating shorebirds, and the State’s largest population of the federally endangered bald eagle; it is one of the most biologically diverse coastal regions in Maine.

Located on Whiting Bay — part of Cobscook Bay — Tide Mill Farm has over five miles of shorefront. It consists of a 1,520-acre conservation easement and a three-acre fee-simple purchase. With its extreme tidal fluctuations, significant habitat for wintering waterfowl, shorebird habitat, Whiting Bay is the most significant area in the State for wintering black ducks and the nutrient-rich flats of the Bay are essential for shorebirds during spring and fall migrations.

Five and one quarter miles of undeveloped, highly scenic shorefront are protected, maintaining habitat quality and contributing to the protection of significant wetlands. Productive clam flats continue to be available for traditional local harvest. Two bald eagle nests are protected.

The farm operation on the property has included a former dairy farm, a sawmill operation, hayfields, and managed woodlands. The woodland portion of the property borders the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge to the northwest. Wetlands and water bodies on the property are jointly managed by the landowners and Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

The landowners, the Bell family, have lived in Edmunds Township for seven generations. In 1988, the Bells received a Certificate of Recognition from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for being one of the nation’s oldest farms in continuous family ownership.

The public has access to hunt, hike, ski, and passively recreate in all the woodlands west of US Route 1 and along the shoreland corridor east of US Route 1 from the farm road to the south. The public also enjoys shoreland access along a 50-foot corridor from the northern border of the property along Burnt Cove and south to Caddy Point.

It is managed by the Department of Conservation and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Upper Birch Island, Addison. The largest island in the Pleasant River; home to a eagle rookery and colony of great blue herons. Seals haul out on shore ledges. Covered by mixed forest and spruce-fir stands. Closed during nesting season. Managed by The Nature Conservancy.

Western Brothers Island, Jonesport. Home to seabirds and rare plants. The Nature Conservancy/State Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

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This entry was last modified: February 15, 2014 10:34 PM

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