How About Another Great Casco Bay Island Preserve?

“Everyone I know who visits Little Whaleboat Island feels how special it is,” says Daneel Dafni. “I’ve taken kids I care for out there, and it’s like their souls ignite.”

Daneel, who grew up in Freeport and Brunswick, has been visiting Little Whaleboat Island since she was a young girl, when her stepdad started bringing her and her siblings out in his fishing boat.

Little Whaleboat Island has an excellent anchorage and several small beaches, which make it a great destination for people exploring Casco Bay.

Thankfully, for the past several decades the island’s owners have allowed people to visit Little Whaleboat and nearby Nate and Tuck islands and camp overnight provided they take good care of the land, which Daneel and her family and friends always did.

Now, the island’s longtime owners must sell, and that history of public access is in jeopardy. Hoping to protect the islands, the owners reached out to Maine Coast Heritage Trust and for the past year we’ve been fundraising to permanently conserve the island—to ensure Daneel and others will always be able to visit and have those soul-igniting experiences on this special island.

Many who know Little Whaleboat and the magic of an open Maine island have already stepped up and made a gift to support this effort, but there is still a good deal more money to raise and time is running out—the total of $1,305,000 must be raised by the end of the year, when the purchase option expires.

Daneel and friends enjoying a summer evening on Little Whaleboat Island.

“There are islands in Casco Bay I grew up going to that have been purchased and become inaccessible,” says Daneel. She really doesn’t want that to happen this time around.

And she isn’t alone. Over the past year, land trust-conserved lands have become more popular than ever, and MCHT’s preserves in Casco Bay are no exception. People want to get outside, and they’re looking for places to go. Ensuring that places like Little Whaleboat are permanently protected and open to the public is as important now as it’s ever been.

Little Whaleboat Island has been a stop on the Maine Island Trail since 2018. “Ensuring that public use and enjoyment of this island endures for future generations would be an incredible gift to the Casco Bay community,” says Maine Island Trail Association program director Brian Marcaurelle.

“They aren’t making more Casco Bay Islands,” says Southern Maine Project Manager Keith Fletcher. “We can’t let this opportunity to conserve Little Whaleboat pass us by.”


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