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The Basin

Jointly owned and managed by MCHT and Vinalhaven Land Trust, The Basin Preserve surrounds a wildlife-rich embayment on the island’s western shore.

The Basin is great for:

  • Hiking - Three miles of moderate hiking trails leave from four separate trailheads, carving through evergreen forest and offering scenic vistas near the shore. Scroll down to learn more.
  • Kayaking - Launch your kayak near the Granite Island Bridge (avoid low tide) and enjoy a quiet paddle in the bay’s protected waters.
  • Wildlife Observation - Home to many creatures, the Basin is a great place to observe seals, great blue herons, eagles, and ospreys, as well as birds not commonly seen on the mainland.

How to get there

The Basin preserve has four trailheads.

One is located off Wharf Quarry Road, a narrow dirt road that runs in a westerly direction off North Haven Road. This trailhead and small parking area are located about a third of a mile down Wharf Quarry Road on the left. While it is possible to reach the trailhead with most cars, a high clearance vehicle is recommended. Wharf Quarry Road is closed in the winter, but parking is available on North Haven Road – look for the signs.

A second trailhead is located at the end of Folly Pond Road, a 0.3-mile dirt road that leaves west off North Haven Road.

There are also two trailheads located on Granite Island Road. The southernmost of the two is on the east side of the road, just after City Point Road departs west. Granite Island Road’s other trailhead can be found a little more than half-mile farther to the north on the right, just after the road turns from pavement to dirt.

Arriving by ferry?

The state run Vinalhaven Ferry between the island and Rockland offers several trips each day, but offers limited space for vehicles. Reservations should be made in advance, especially during summer months. One option is to tour the island with a bicycle. The Wharf Quarry trailhead is four miles from the ferry terminal and the first Granite Island trailhead can be reached in a little more than two miles.

Get directions from Google Maps

Notes on topography, flora, and fauna

This 789-acre preserve surrounds a 360-acre tidal embayment on the west side of Vinalhaven known as the Basin and is jointly owned and managed by MCHT and Vinalhaven Land Trust (VLT). The Basin Preserve includes 64% of the bay’s roughly seven miles of shoreline and conservation easements protect most of what remains. The Basin is largely spruce-fir coniferous forest mixed with hay scented fern fields and pitch pine woods at higher elevations. Look out for wildlife! You’ll see seals on the ledges, bald eagles and osprey hunting, lots of winter ducks, and maybe even one of the Great Horned Owls that nest nearby. In the springtime, the woods are buzzing with songbirds. Into fall, the trails are lined with Amanitas and other mushrooms.

How the Basin became open to the public

A culmination of more than twenty years of land conservation work, the first portion of The Basin preserve was established in 1990 and the most recent addition occurred in 2009. This preserve would not exist without the generous support of conservation-minded landowners surrounding The Basin, most of whom donated their land or conservation easements. A portion of The Basin was supported with funds by the Land for Maine’s Future program.

This place belongs to all of us. Help us take care of it!

Preserve information/guidelines

  • No Camping Permitted
  • No Fires Permitted
  • Stay on Established Trails
    • Foot Traffic Only - Trails Are Not Suitable for Wheeled Vehicles
  • Carry Out All Trash
    • Including Human and Pet Waste and Toilet Paper
  • Keep Pets Under Control
  • Please Respect the Privacy of Preserve Neighbors