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Ash Island, Owls Head

Located in Owls Head, this 47-acre island features shoreline vistas, picnic spots, and opportunities to observe resident wildlife.

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Ash Island is great for:

  • Hiking – Pack your camera and a pair of binoculars before following the short path that leads from an expansive shingle beach and sand bar to scenic granite ledges along the island’s southern shore.
  • Paddling – While scanning surrounding waters for waterfowl, seals, and other marine life, carefully make your way to the beach on the island’s northwest shore.

How to get there

Ash Island can be reached from Birch Point State Park in Owls Head. Parking is for day use only, and boats must be hand-carried to the beach for launching. Hand-carried boats can also be launched in Owls Head Harbor at Richard Carver Harbor Park on Lighthouse Road. For larger boats, or a longer and more challenging paddle, a paved public launch in South Thomaston on the Weskeag River offers reasonable parking and good mid- to high-tide access, while the Rockland municipal boat ramp offers extensive (including overnight) parking and all-tide access.

The easiest landing is at the beach located on the northwest shore, just above the westernmost extent of the island. Although Ash Island is a mile due east from the Birch Point State Park launch site, currents can be fierce and troublesome for an inexperienced boater.

Get directions from Google Maps Printable Preserve Map

For a complete map with legend and guidelines, click on the Printable Preserve Map above.

Notes on topography, flora, and fauna

Ash Island’s high point lies near its geographic center, with land falling off gently to the shore. Slopes are slightly steeper on its eastern side and more gradual to the west. The island’s dominant natural community is Maritime Spruce-Fir Forest consisting primarily of maturing white spruce. Other canopy species include red spruce, which is much less common than white spruce, and balsam fir, which is confined to a narrow strip along the southeastern shore. White birch occurs in and around clearings, which include scenic meadows of hay-scented fern.

Mink, white-tailed deer, raccoon, and red squirrel are known to inhabit the island, while harbor seals can be viewed basking on ledges just offshore. Dozens of birds have also been recorded on the island and in surrounding waters.

How Ash Island became open to the public

MCHT acquired Ash Island in 2010, thanks to generous contributions from many Owls Head residents and other supporters.

Preserve information/guidelines

  • Fires By Permit Only – Maine State Law
    • Contact Maine Forest Service at 1-800-750-9777 for permit
    • Keep All Fires Below High Tide Line – Do Not Build Fire Rings
    • Do Not Cut or Break Tree Limbs, Dead or Alive
    • Leave No Fire Unattended
    • Completely Extinguish All Fires
  • Carry Out All Trash
    • Including Human and Pet Waste and Toilet Paper
  • Keep Pets Under Strict Voice or Leash Control