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Maine Coastal Islands
National Wildlife Refuge


9 Water Street
PO Box 1735
Rockland, ME   04841
E-mail: mainecoastal@fws.gov
Phone Number: 207-594-0600
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
http://www.fws.gov/refuge/maine_coastal_islands/
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  Overview
Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge
Between 1972 and 1980, the refuges in the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex were established for the protection of migratory birds, principally colonial nesting seabirds. Containing 54 offshore islands and four 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 Refuges 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 623 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.


Getting There . . .
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, and Gouldsboro. There are opportunities for bird watching, wildlife photography, and hiking on the Petit Manan Point Division, in Steuben.

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


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Wildlife and Habitat

The refuge's islands are as individual as finger prints. Some support spruce-fir forests. Others are treeless, covered by shrubs and grasses. Still others are mostly bedrock, with little vegetation. Some combine the three. The various habitat types appeal to a variety of bird species.

In addition to seabirds, refuge islands provide habitat for raptors, wading birds, shorebirds, and songbirds. Some of the forested islands, including Outer Heron, Little Marshall, Bois Bubert, and Mink, have active bald eagle nests. Migrating peregrine falcons stop on rocky Seal Island to hunt seabirds and rest. Warblers such as the bay-breasted and blackpoll, and shorebirds, including ruddy turnstones and semi-palmated plovers, rely on the islands as stepping stones on their long trips north and south.

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... (continued)

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History
Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuges currently consists of 8,100 acres, and includes 54 islands and four mainland divisions. The first parcels of land were acquired in 1974, and today the refuge continues to expand efforts to protect nationally significant nesting islands for endangered and threatened species, colonial nesting seabirds, wading birds, and waterfowl. Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuges spans over 250 miles of the Maine coast and supports a tremendous diversity of wildlife. The four mainland units are located in the towns of Corea, Gouldsboro, Steuben, and Milbridge, Maine. The Petit Manan Point Division has two established trails, and offers exceptional views of the bold, rocky shoreline and adjacent bays. Additional trails are planned on the Milbridge and Gouldsboro properties. Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuges manages five refuges: Seal Island, Franklin Island, Cross Island, Pond Island, and Petit Manan national wildlife refuges.

Six islands within Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge possess historic light houses. For more than a century, light house keepers operated beacons on Petit Manan, Nash, Two Bush, and Libby islands, and Matinicus and Egg rocks to ensure safe travel for passing vessels. Two additional light houses located on Franklin Island and Pond Island national wildlife refuges are also protected as part of Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

The seabird nesting islands within Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuges are generally open during daylight hours from September 1 through March 31, and closed to public use during the seabird nesting season: April 1 to August 31. For more information, contact the refuge manager at (207) 594-0600, extension 2.

Use the link for more information on the history of Petit Manan and its lighthouses.

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    Recreation and Education Opportunities
Environmental Education
Hunting
Photography
Wildlife Observation
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Management Activities
Management efforts focus on colonial nesting seabirds on off-shore islands. The refuge works with many conservation partners to provide long-term protection for seabird, wading bird, and eagle nesting islands through an active land acquisition program. Seabird restoration efforts involves predator control, monitoring, censussing, and habitat manipulation. Mainland management programs include prescribed burning and mowing on 65 acres of Refuge fields and maintaining 112 acres of wetlands in three freshwater impoundments.