Island chain preservation campaign important, advocates say

An aerial view of Little Whaleboat off Harpswell, an island in a small chain that the Maine Coast Heritage Trust works to preserve. Contribution / Maine Coast Heritage Trust

Maine Coast Heritage Trust has until December to raise money to preserve a small chain of islands off Harpswell, an effort that the trust says is crucial to maintaining some of the state’s last remaining undeveloped open lands.

The group needs the remaining $ 400,000 to purchase Little Whaleboat, Nate and Tuck Islands. The islands are owned by a family who offered to sell the land for a total of $ 1.3 million, according to the chairman of the trust, Tim Glidden.

The islands must be preserved as they are among the last remaining underdeveloped places in the state that are friendly to visitors, Glidden said, and they are also part of a larger island system that is home to a number of sea ​​birds.

“They are undeveloped and they are easy to land, this combination is rare in Casco Bay,” Glidden said, and also have sheltered beaches.

“They are connected to low tide with bars so there’s a lot of diversity in a small space, ”said Glidden. “It gives a wild feeling, but you are only a few miles from Portland and it is a special experience.

Anne Marisic of Maine Beer Company, who donated $ 50,000 to the campaign, said, “These spaces are really important because of their shrinking.”

The islands are also important for nesting seabirds. While there is no data on how many birds may settle on these particular islands, a total of 61 islands in the bay are home to seabirds, which depend on the land to raise their young and maintain their populations as well as to escape predators.

“The seabird nesting islands in Casco Bay provide breeding habitat for a range of colonial nesting seabirds including rare species such as arctic terns, roseate terns, as well as more common species including common terns, double-crested cormorants, black murres and common eiders, ”said Glidden.

For more information on the preservation project and the fundraising campaign, visit

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