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Securing Public Access to Midcoast Island Sanctuary

Photo of Parula Warbler

Parula Warbler, photo by Stephen Kress

National Audubon has donated a 280-acre conservation easement on their Hog Island Sanctuary in Bremen to Maine Coast Heritage Trust. This iconic Midcoast Maine island has been a hub for birders and naturalists for nearly a century. As part of their extensive nature-study programs, National Audubon partners with Kieve-Wavus to welcome children and adults to Hog Island each summer. The donated easement will support these existing outdoor educational activities, while guaranteeing public access to the island’s extensive trail system.

“We are thrilled that future Hog Island students and visitors will have the opportunity to sustain an eight decades’ long tradition of being inspired by the natural beauty and ecological richness of one of Maine’s most unique coastal sanctuaries,” shares MCHT President Tim Glidden. “It was a pleasure collaborating with the community of Bremen, as well as local and national partners to make this latest conservation milestone a reality.”

For 80 years Hog Island has been home to world class nature study programs. National Audubon and Kieve-Wavus, an educational nonprofit, will continue to run these programs reassured that 280 acres of the island will be permanently conserved. “We all care so deeply about the island,” explains Kieve-Wavus Director Henry Kennedy. “It’s an incredibly special place. Knowing that it will be protected and revered forever makes everyone feel really good.

Black-throated green warbler, photo by Stephen Kress

Hog Island is also synonymous with birds, and through the years it has attracted a long line of aspiring and famous ornithologists—including Roger Tory Peterson. “The sanctuary supports a wide array of species--with more than 100 typically seen each year,” notes Stephen Kress, Director of Audubon’s Seabird Restoration Program. “Parula, blackburnian, black-throated green and yellow-rumped warblers all nest in high numbers, as do hermit thrush and winter wrens.” The island’s coastal habitat also welcomes many shorebirds during fall migration and provides feeding areas for resident common eiders.

The nonprofit Friends of Hog Island also played an important role in finalizing the conservation easement by raising stewardship funds that will ensure public access to the island is guaranteed into the future. “We’ve worked hard to make the community feel welcome there, enjoying the trails and campsites on the southern end,” says FOHI President Juanita Roushdy. “We’re relieved to know that Hog Island will never be developed further. It is one of Bremen’s major natural resources.”