Roque Bluffs State Park Expanded with Pond Cove Island Acquisition
November 9, 2021
For more information contact: Jim Britt at: Jim.Britt@maine.gov
AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) is excited to announce that the Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL) has acquired Pond Cove Island (photo). The 50-acre Pond Cove Island, located in Englishman Bay, Washington County (44.615, -67.48769), will be added to Roque Bluffs State Park. The island is located roughly a third of a mile from the mainland. It features nearly two miles of winding shoreline, gentle stone and cobble beaches suitable for landing kayaks and small boats, and open views of the Atlantic Ocean.
The popular Roque Bluffs State Park offers a variety of coastal landscapes to enjoy, including a half-mile sand beach, freshwater pond, hiking trails, and a picnic area. In addition to serving as a new coastal attraction, the state's acquisition of Pond Cove Island will also contribute to the Town's tax base because of the revenue-sharing formula for Maine State Parks.
"At a time when we are seeing an ongoing and expanded interest in outdoor recreation by Maine residents and visitors, we are pleased to have this opportunity to create a new island water access experience for Maine State Park guests," commented DACF Commissioner Amanda Beal. "In addition to our recently announced Great Circle Trail on the Nahmakanta Public Reserved Land, we are excited to meet the heightened interest in visitation by expanding opportunities to experience the beauty of Maine's varied and extraordinary landscape."
Acquisition of the island has been a priority for BPL for many years. Maine Coast Heritage Trust stepped in as the island's interim owner while a conservation outcome with BPL was developed. The Land for Maine's Future (LMF) Water Access Fund, North American Wetlands Conservation Act, and private contributions to Maine Coast Heritage Trust Funding made the acquisition possible.
"As a sea kayaker, I know how important it is to have islands close to shore that are open to the public," said BPL Director Andy Cutko. "Pond Cove Island is an exceptionally scenic spot in an ideal sheltered location, and we look forward to developing campsites for overnight use. We were thrilled to work with our partners at Maine Coast Heritage Trust on this project, and we're pleased to have the support of the Town of Roque Bluffs."
"The addition of Pond Cove Island to Roque Bluffs state park provides a new and unique opportunity for visitors to easily experience the thrill of exploring and camping on a Maine island," said LMF Director Sarah Demers. "The LMF Board is pleased to be able to support this addition to Maine's state park system."
"We've been working to conserve this exceptional island for many years now, and we're thrilled to see it protected and owned by the BPL. Pond Cove Island will make a fabulous addition to Roque Bluffs State Park, opening up a whole new experience to visitors," Maine Coast Heritage Trust President Tim Glidden.
"The town of Roque Bluffs board of selectmen is excited about acquiring Pond Cove Island by the state park system, which will become a part of Roque Bluffs State Park. The acquisition and preservation of the island's natural wildlife will benefit all of the Roque Bluffs community. We look forward to working with the park as the use of the island develops," Town of Roque Bluffs Board of Selectman Chair Karen H. Miller.
Remote camping at designated water access sites on Pond Cove Island is planned for the future, in partnership with the Maine Island Trails Association. The entire island will be open for hiking, picnicking, and birdwatching, with hunting, fishing, and trapping allowed under State Park rules. The island's 37 acres of intertidal wetlands provide significant habitat for tidal waterfowl and wading birds. A nearby existing town boat launch provides easy access to the island.
For more information on Pond Cove Island, please contact the BPL Northern Regional Office at (207) 941-4014.