Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge

Fish and Wildlife Service, Maine.

Between 1972 and 1980, the refuges in the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge were established for the protection of migratory birds, principally colonial nesting seabirds. Containing 48 offshore islands and three mainland units, the refuge totals more than 8,100 acres. The Complex spans over 250 miles of Maine coastline and includes five national wildlife refuges - Petit Manan, Cross Island, Franklin Island, Seal Island, and Pond Island. The Service's primary focus at Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge is colonial seabird restoration and management. Refuge islands provide nesting habitat for common, Arctic, and endangered roseate terns, Atlantic puffins, razorbills, black guillemots, Leach's storm-petrels, laughing gulls, and common eiders. During the last 25 years, the Service and its conservation partners have worked to reverse the decline in these birds' populations. As a result, many species have returned to islands where they nested historically. In addition to seabirds, wading birds and bald eagles nest on refuge islands. The mainland divisions provide habitat for songbirds, shorebirds, and waterfowl, as well as opportunities for bird watching and hiking. The refuge's four mainland properties are located in Hancock and Washington counties. Upland areas are characterized by spruce-fir forests with some mixed hardwoods. The 2,195-acre Petit Manan Point Division, in Steuben, also includes jack pine stands, coastal raised heath peatlands, blueberry barrens, old hayfields, freshwater and salt water marshes, cedar swamps, granite shores, and cobble beaches. During the fall migration, 80-acre Cranberry Flowage is filled with over 4,000 ducks. Black ducks, green-winged teal, and mallards rest and feed there on wild rice before migrating south. The Gouldsboro Bay Division, in Gouldsboro, protects 600 acres, including a large tidal salt marsh and mud flat. The 1,028-acre Sawyer's Marsh Division lies at the head of a broad salt marsh in Milbridge, just north of Petit Manan Point. In 2005, the refuge acquired the 430 acre Corea Heath Division. This coastal peatland supports a variety of rare plants and invertebrates.

Nearby Activities


Because the refuge lands and islands are scattered along the whole Maine coast, the refuge has two offices. One is located in Milbridge, Maine, approximately 35 miles east of Ellsworth. The other office is located in Rockland, heading toward Owls Head. Office hours are Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Printed materials are available at both offices 24 hours a day.

The mainland divisions are located in Milbridge, Steuben, Corea and Gouldsboro. There are opportunities for bird watching, wildlife photography, and hiking on the Petit Manan Point Division, in Steuben as well as trails in Corea and Gouldsboro.

To reach the Milbridge office:

Follow U.S. Route 1 to the center of Milbridge. Turn onto Water Street at the Gulf station. The office is a large white building on your left.

To reach the Petit Manan Point Division:

Take Pigeon Hill Road off U.S. Route 1 in Steuben, and follow it to the end. The parking area for the Birch Point Trail is 5.8 miles from Route 1, and the parking area for the Hollingsworth Trail is 6.2 miles.

To reach the Rockland office and Visitor Center:

Follow U.S. Route 1 to the intersection with route 73 in downtown Rockland. Turn south on to route 73 for ј mile then turn left onto Water Street. The office is a large white building on your right.

Additional Information