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.
The refuge office is located in Milbridge. From Ellsworth travel north on Route 1 to the village of Milbridge and turn right on to Water Street. The office is located next to the Post Office. The satellite office is located in Rockport. Traveling north on Route 1 from Rockland, proceed approximately 2 miles and turn left in to Rockport Park Centre. Traveling south on Route 1 from the intersection at Routes 1 and 90, proceed approximately 1 mile and turn right in to Rockport Park Centre.
14 Water Street PO Box 279 Milbridge, ME 4658
FWS - Fish and Wildlife Service