Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge’s four mainland properties are located in Hancock and Washington Counties. Spruce-fir forests with some mixed hardwoods characterize upland areas. 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 saltwater marshes, cedar swamps, granite shores, and cobble beaches. During fall migration the 80-acre Cranberry Flowage is filled with over 4,000 ducks. Black ducks, pintail, green-winged teal, and mallards rest and feed there on wild rice and invertebrates before migrating south. The Gouldsboro Bay Division protects 623 acres, including a large tidal saltmarsh and mud flat. The 1,028-acre Sawyer’s Marsh Division lies at the head of a broad saltmarsh in Milbridge, just north of Petit Manan Point. Bald eagles currently nest on both the Petit Manan Point and Gouldsboro Bay Divisions of the Refuge. The Corea Heath Division 431-acre was transferred from the Navy in the fall of 2005. The ecological values and unique features of this coastal peatland are well documented, and it is considered one of the most significant peatlands in Maine.
Petit Manan NWR includes 2,150 acres on 49 islands, stretching the entire coastline of Maine. The islands vary in size from 0.5 – 1,321 acres. Eight of the islands are predominantly forested with mature stands of balsam fir and red spruce. Six of these islands currently support active bald eagle nests. While the other 41 islands within Petit Manan Refuge may provide some forested habitat, their primary resource value is to the open herbaceous habitat that provides valuable nesting habitat for a variety of seabirds. Refuge staff monitor island resources and conduct biological surveys of the islands’ flora and fauna. Active seabird restoration projects are ongoing on Matinicus Rock, Petit Manan, Metinic, Ship and Eastern Brother Islands.
Seabird nesting islands supporting nesting terns, alcids, Leach’s storm-petrels, or great cormorants are closed to public access during the seabird nesting season: April 1 to August 31. Islands supporting nesting gulls and common eiders are closed to public use from April 1 to July 31. Islands supporting nesting bald eagles are closed to public access from February 15 to August 31.