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.

MCHT_Clark_Island-0024

Please note: Parking is limited and not allowed outside of designated spaces

We ask visitors to carefully review parking options and instructions below. If designated lots are full, please come back another time.

Please respect our neighbors and good partners at the Craignair Inn and do not park in spots reserved for Inn guests and patrons, or on the shoulder of Clark Island Road. Doing so may result in towing. 

Thank you for your cooperation.

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.

MCHT raised funds to acquire 120 acres of Clark Island in July of 2020, but the effort to raise much-needed stewardship funds for additional trail building, signage, and habitat restoration continues. Learn more and make a gift today!

Parking

There are two options for preserve parking:

For weekday and shorter visits, there are eight signed and designated spots at the rear of the Craignair Inn parking lot (right side of the lot on either side of the kiosk). The map indicates where those spots are in green.

If these spots are occupied, OR if you are planning on staying at the preserve for several hours, there is longer term and overflow parking 0.75 miles back up Clark Island Road on the west side of the road. Turn into the gravel driveway across from the Wheeler Bay Refuge fence and park head-in on the left side of the concrete slab. Please do not block the turnaround or any other vehicles. You may also park around the entrance to the slab as long as you are not blocking the road or other vehicles. Parking is dawn to dusk only and at your own risk; this is not a monitored lot and has been made available through the generosity of a local landowner.

Road shoulder parking anywhere on Clark Island Road is not sanctioned and may result in towing.

Craignair Inn patrons should park in the rest of the lot, though are welcome to visit the preserve without moving their cars. 

Thank you in advance for driving slowly and courteously – Clark Island Road residents appreciate it!

Looking for other places to go in the area? See our full listing of Midcoast preserves.

 

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. Please drive very carefully and under the 25 mph speed limit.

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.

Get directions from Google Maps Printable Preserve Map

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.

Preserve information/guidelines

  • 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