The Goslings, Harpswell
This trifecta of small islands features idyllic sand beaches and inviting campsites in the heart of Casco Bay.
The Goslings are great for:
- Camping – Enjoy an evening under the stars as waves lap the shoreline.
- Wildlife Observation – Watch for osprey and harbor seals fishing in the surrounding waters.
- Picnicking – Choose a shady spot under the trees or soak up the sun from a beach locale.
- Kayaking/Boating – Take advantage of the island’s good anchorage for boats of all sizes.
How to get there
The Goslings are easily accessible at all tides. The best places to land are the northwestern shores of either of the larger islands; landing on Irony is not advised. The closest boat ramp is the Mere Point Public Launch in Brunswick, just over three miles to the north-northeast. The best place to anchor is on the north side of the sandbar. All moorings are private.
For a complete map with legend and guidelines, click on the Printable Preserve Map above.
The Goslings have three established campsites:
All beaches and trails remain open to the public regardless of camping activity and reservations.
North end of West Gosling. First come, first served camping is open to the public at the north end of West Gosling, where there is room for several tents.
South end of East Gosling. At the small campsite at the southern tip of East Gosling there is room for one or two small tents. (Please avoid camping here during osprey nesting season, April 1 through July 1.)
North end of East Gosling. At the north end of East Gosling, there is a campsite for large groups (groups up to 15) that is only available by reservation with MCHT. Be forewarned that if you camp in this site without reserving it, you may find yourself evicted by a group with reservations!
If you plan to park overnight at the Mere Point Boat Launch you need to contact the Brunswick Department of Marine Resources and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to acquire permission to park. Overnight parking is not allowed in this lot without permission and space is limited so please reserve a spot as early as possible (preferably at least a week in advance). Please contact the Brunswick Harbor Master, Dan Sylvain, by email () or phone (207-721-4336) and Diano Circo () for more information.
Notes on topography, flora & fauna
These beautiful islands lie just to the southeast of Lower Goose Island in Harpswell and include West Gosling (4.1 acres), East Gosling (8.6 acres) and Irony Island (1 acre). The two larger islands support a mix of conifers and hardwoods and are linked by a sandbar at low tide. Irony is little more than a narrow strip of ledge crowned with wind-beaten spruce and fir. For much of the summer, a resident osprey pair nests on the southern half of West Gosling. Please do not enter this area between April 1st and July 31st.
How this place became open to the public
Beloved by boaters in Casco Bay, for years the islands’ previous owners generously allowed public use. In 2014, they offered to sell the islands to MCHT at a reduced rate, hoping to see them permanently conserved. “The outpouring of support from the public was amazing,” says MCHT President Tim Glidden about the fundraising effort to conserve the Goslings. “At Paul’s Marina in Brunswick, the owner came to us with a shoe box full of checks, bills, quarters, pennies that totaled $20,000.” Thanks to gifts from hundreds, including several generous large donations and a grant from the Land for Maine’s Future program, MCHT purchased the Goslings and turned them into a public preserve.
This place belongs to all of us. Help us take care of it!
- Camp at Established Campsites (see map)
- Limit Stay to 2 Nights
- 15-person maximum at large group campsites, 6 person limit at smaller campsite
- Use of large group site by reservation only
- 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
- Carry Out All Trash
- Including Human and Pet Waste and Toilet Paper
- Keep Pets Under Strict Voice or Leash Control
- Do Not Remove Archaeological Artifacts