Brooksville’s Bakeman Beach has Public Access Guaranteed

If you’ve visited or lived in Brooksville, chances are you know Bakeman Beach.

This slice of sand on Cape Rosier has long been a place where people gather to picnic, take a dip, or collect seaweed for gardens, and where some fishermen unload their traps. In the 1950s, the Bakeman family ran a hot dog stand on the road beside the beach, and remnants of the building’s chimney still can be found there today.

“Bakeman Beach has always felt accessible to locals,” says Ciona Ulbrich, Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s Senior Project Manager working in this part of the state. “But the reality is that we now see places like this get closed off along the coast. That’s what MCHT and a number of people around Brooksville were afraid of when the larger property was listed for sale. We worked together to make sure that didn’t happen here.”

A town road curves alongside Bakeman Beach.

A few years ago, the beach was put up for sale as part of a larger residential property, and locals worried the future owners might shut off public access. Eventually the sellers decided to separate the beach from the rest of the land, and Maine Coast Heritage Trust successfully purchased the beach in October of 2019. “It is important to remember that a key part of the design of any land conservation transaction is the landowner—the transaction has to work for all sides,” notes Ciona.

Many people around the community were behind the effort, including a number who gave generously to make the purchase possible.

In December, the town held a well-attended Special Town Meeting, in which citizens vote on Articles. At the meeting, Brooksville’s select board welcomed the healthy discussion about the importance of access to water, and, ultimately, the town voted overwhelmingly to accept the gift of the beach from MCHT.

In January of 2020, MCHT turned the land over to the town to own and manage. MCHT retains a conservation easement—a legal agreement that ensures the beach will always remain open for recreational and commercial fishing access.

MCHT Senior Project Manager Ciona Ulbrich, far right, signs paperwork to transfer the beach property to the town of Brooksville to own and manage.

When it came time to sign transfer papers at the town office, Select Board members John Gray, Hal Snow, and Richard Bakeman offered this statement: “It is wonderful to finally get a piece of land that the town has always used, into Town of Brooksville ownership. We want to thank Maine Coast Heritage Trust and Ciona for making this acquisition possible. It will be available for the public’s enjoyment from now on, without any contention.”

More Stories from the Coast

Marsh Revisited

MCHT Land Steward Kirk Gentalen pays a visit to his local marsh in February and finds some pretty cool creatures, including a beaver and a water boatman (that’s an aquatic insect).

Read More

Ice-fishing Spiders

How’s this for a headscratcher: hundreds of Six-spotted Fishing Spiders making their way across the ice in January? Kirk has more.

Read More

Fighting Distraction During the Christmas Bird Count

MCHT land steward Kirk Gentalen takes part in the Christmas Bird Count and, as always, resists the temptation to track mammals.

Read More

Land Conservation Plays a Role in Addressing Hunger

MCHT is partnering with the newly formed Knox County Gleaners and other organizations to get healthy food in the hands of those who need it.

Read More

500 Acres Conserved in Rockport and Hope

Coastal Mountains Land Trust makes strides in the Round the Mountain conservation effort, with support from the Land for Maine’s Future program, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and the Maine Water Company.

Read More