Black Island and Little Black Island, Frenchboro
This 337-acre preserve, part of Frenchboro, features quiet picnic spots, rugged beauty, and breathtaking ocean-side camping.
Black and Little Black Islands are great for:
- Camping – Spend a night at Little Black Island’s campsite, connected to the main island during low tide. (Stewards recently built two 8’ x 8’ tent platforms for you to enjoy!)
- Hiking – Follow the 1.75-mile path that leads from the Quarry Wharf on the northeast corner of the island to the preserve’s picturesque southern shoreline.
- Kayaking/Boating – Grab your paddle or set sail for the preserve’s pocket beach. Interested in setting out for a longer adventure? Consider stopping at neighboring preserves on Great Gott, West Sister, and Pond islands
The northern portion of the trail is closed from February 15th through August 31st for nesting Bald Eagles. While the remainder of the preserve and trail are still open, please be mindful of this closure and give the eagles their space.
How to get there
Access to the preserve is by private boat. There are two recommended landing areas. The first and most protected landing spot is on the northeast end of the island in an area west of the quarry wharf in the southernmost of two pocket beaches. The anchorage on the south end is just west of the bar that connects Black and Little Black, tucked just inside Little Black.
For a complete map with legend and guidelines, click on the Printable Preserve Map above.
If the island could talk
There is a long history of human habitation on the island, with European settlers arriving by 1820. By the turn of the twentieth century there were roughly 50 year-round residents practicing subsistence farming, logging the island’s forests, and fishing in the surrounding waters. Black Island residents also developed two granite quarries, a cabled cart railway, a school, and a boardinghouse. Most residents had moved off the island by 1930, though a handful of hangers-on remained for a few more years. Today, there is a small cabin on the north end of the island and two salmon aquaculture pen sites are located off the western shore.
Notes on topography, flora & fauna
Located 3.5 miles south of Bass Harbor in the town of Frenchboro, the Black Island and Little Black Island Preserve is comprised of 124 acres owned by MCHT as well as 213 acres of adjacent land protected with a conservation easement held by MCHT. This 337-acre preserve encompasses 2.9-acre Little Black Island and nearly three-quarters of its larger 463-acre neighbor to the north. The remaining 129 acres of Black Island are privately owned and not open to the public.
When visiting the Black Island and Little Black Island Preserve, please respect the privacy of the preserve’s neighbor’s private property on the west side near Butler Cove and northwest corner of the island. MCHT doesn’t own or promote use of any moorings around Black or Little Black Island.
How this place became open to the public
With the help of many generous donors, between 2009 and 2010, MCHT acquired multiple parcels that now comprise the Black Island and Little Black Island Preserve.
This place belongs to all of us. Help us take care of it!
- Camp At Established Campsite (see map)
- Limit Stay to 2 Nights
- Commercial Users by Permission Only. Please call 207-729-7366.
- 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
- Stay on Established Trails while visiting the island’s interior
- 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 Strict Voice or Leash Control
- Please Respect the Privacy of Preserve Neighbors
- Do Not Remove Archaeological Artifacts
- Permission and Labeling Required for any Hunting Stands or Game Cameras in Accordance with State Laws