Clark Island, Saint George
Accessible by foot, this bridged island in Saint George features a 124-acre preserve with wide, easy, mowed grass and gravel trails leading to attractive beaches, a rock quarry, and through a diversity of wildlife habitats.
Clark Island is good for:
- Hiking: Explore the preserve’s trails that depart from the island’s main road to various points along the picturesque shoreline. From the causeway, a roundtrip hike including the loop around the quarry is 1.8 miles.
- Swimming: Cool off on hot summer days by taking a dip from one of the beaches.
- Birdwatching: Listen for the sounds of songbirds, scan the waves for sea ducks, and be ready with binoculars to spot whatever avian species appears around the next bend in the trail.
- Picnicking: Pack a lunch and enjoy one of two picnic tables set in especially scenic locations along the shore or, after touring the island, grab a cold drink and a bite to eat at the Craignair Inn’s Clark Bar.
How to get there
From the junction of Route 1 and Route 131, east of downtown Thomaston, follow Route 131 south. Drive 5.3 miles and turn left onto Route 73. In 0.9 mile, bear right onto Clark Island Road. Continue 1.4 miles to the Craignair Inn and Restaurant. Just before the inn, turn left into its parking lot. Find a kiosk and eight parking spaces designated for preserve visitors on either side of the kiosk at the back of the lot. Reach the preserve on foot by returning to Clark Island Road. Once you cross the causeway, follow the trail to the left to access the beach and the rest of the preserve.
For a complete map with legend and guidelines, click on the Printable Preserve Map above.
Clark Island Preserve Tour
A rich history
Clark Island was Wabanaki territory. European settlement of Clark dates back to the 1780s, with quarrying operations beginning in the 1830s. By 1890, 100 stone cutters and their families, plus supporting crews of quarrymen and sculptors, lived on Clark Island. In 1892, the town of Saint George paid for a granite causeway from the mainland to Clark Island, and by 1900, 400 people—300 of them stone cutters—were employed in the quarry operation. By World War II, operations slowed and then ceased, as concrete and steel replaced stone as building materials.
Today the island is mostly undeveloped with just two remaining residences (both off the preserve), but old foundations are still plainly visible in the fields and forests. A section of the eastern shoreline is constructed granite wharf, where large ships once tied up to load quarried stone. Two large, abandoned granite quarries remain on the island, one of which is within MCHT’s preserve.
Notes on topography, flora, and fauna
Clark Island includes a mix of mowed fields, forests, and coastal wetlands. The shoreline is varied and includes sand and cobble beach, fringing salt marsh, mudflat, and granite ledge – nearly all of which was heavily altered during the 1800s and 1900s due to the extensive quarrying.
Cover type is varied and includes maritime spruce-fir forest and mixed hardwood forest, with numerous vernal pools. As the entire island was once cleared of trees and heavily altered while quarrying was ongoing, all forest growth is second- and third-growth. There are two small human-made ponds on the preserve; one set back from the east-facing cobble beach on Clark Cove, and one in the field just across the road which bisects the island. These are hydrologically connected via a brushy swale, and great places to look for birdlife in the spring.
Please be careful if exploring off-trail, as there are numerous old wells, foundations, sections of heavy cable, and other potential hazards.
How this place became open to the public
Maine Coast Heritage Trust acquired the Clark Island Preserve in 2020 with support from the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Coastal Wetlands Program and many donors.
- No vehicles on causeway
- Wheelchairs permitted—use caution
- Carry Out All Trash
- Including human and pet waste and toilet paper
- Keep Pets Under Control
- Leash dogs on causeway
- No Camping or Fires
- Please Respect Private Property
- Please Yield to Vehicles on Road