About the Refuge

Aerial view of the refuge - Cheryl Daigle.

The Service acquired and established Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in 1988 to preserve the Sunkhaze Meadows peat bog and ensure public access to the environment and wildlife resources. This refuge is comprised of three units: the Sunkhaze Meadows Unit, the Benton Unit, and the Sandy Stream Unit. The Sunkhaze Meadows Unit is the largest of the three, at 11,485 acres. It is located in the Town of Milford, Penobscot County, ME, approximately 14 miles north of Bangor. The Benton Unit is a 334-acre former dairy farm in the Town of Benton in Kennebec County. The Sandy Stream Unit is a 58-acre parcel in the Town of Unity in Waldo County.

The Sunkhaze Meadows Unit protects the second-largest peatland in Maine. Sunkhaze Stream bisects this unit and, with its six tributaries, creates a diversity of wetland communities. The bogs and stream wetlands, along with the adjacent upland, provide important habitat for many wildlife species. The Benton Unit is comprised of grassland, young mixed softwood-hardwood forest, and small wetland habitats. A variety of landbird species of conservation concern are known to breed there, including American woodcock, and bobolink. The Sandy Stream Unit is mainly comprised of upland shrub, abandoned fields, and floodplain forest. Combined, the three units provide habitat for at least three plants, seven birds, two mollusks, and three invertebrates listed as endangered or threatened by the State of Maine.

Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is managed by Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge.