Hey, Casco Bay fan
So you’d like to learn more about Little Whaleboat Island?
We had a chat with our (sadly, now former!) Southern Maine Steward Caitlin Gerber. She grew up visiting this special island and cares deeply about its protection. Plus, she knows it inside and out and can answer all your nitty gritty questions.
Give today to conserve Little Whaleboat Island.
The northern end of the island as there are less ledges upon approach and more gravel beaches to land on. Best approach is from the northeast as there are ledges that extend north from the northwest end of the island.
I guess it depends on how you define a beach but there are roughly 10 beaches all around the island, the most approachable being on the northern end of the island.
There are two official campsites on the island. One is located near the northeast facing cove on the north end and the other is on the north point.
It is a little less than five miles from Mere Point in Brunswick. It’s almost four miles from Winslow Park in Freeport and almost two miles from Mitchell Field in Harpswell.
No official trails exist though there are social footpaths between campsites on the northern end. We may build trails if we can acquire the island. That will be determined through a management planning process that will involve gathering input from stakeholders including current users and anyone else that as any interest in the island and its management.
MCHT will do a Natural Resource Inventory to get a more in-depth look at what’s living there but likely any wildlife that can be seen on neighboring islands can be observed on Little Whaleboat, including deer and a variety of birds including a nesting osprey. There used to be a heron rookery on the island and MCHT will keep an eye out in case the herons return. As for plants, you can see the usual ferns, beach rose, etc. There is quite a bit of poison ivy on the southern end so that’s something to keep an eye out for if visiting!
There are beautiful views from all around the island. On the southern end you can look out at the extensive ledges and observe seals and birds feeding in the productive waters around them.
Little Whaleboat is one of the few buildable and highly attractive islands in Casco Bay that could be easily purchased and privatized by someone who was not willing to share the island with the public. As we’ve seen time and time again in other places, many folks who buy islands these days do not look kindly at the public visiting and often close islands to any public visitation upon purchase. We need to conserve Little Whaleboat to not only maintain the current public access that the current owners have so generously allowed for years but also to ensure it will be available for everyone and anyone to visit in perpetuity.
Because there aren’t many of them. Southern Maine is obviously the most populated area in the State so all the protected islands in Casco Bay are in high demand for public use. All the islands that aren’t conserved in Casco Bay are privately owned and rarely go up for sale, so whenever there is an opportunity to protect scenic, recreational, and ecological conservation values, it’s important that we take it.
The islands that are protected for public access see a lot of use so spreading out that use takes some of the pressure from the busier places and helps provide a more solitary experience for users but also limits soil compaction and other impacts of increased use. Additionally, conserved islands will not be developed with buildings and hardened surfaces which not only ensures protection for nesting bird habitat and other island-living animals and plants, but also helps protect the waters and marine ecosystems around them.
In the video below, Caitlin takes you on a tour of Little Whaleboat Island. Enjoy!