Atlantic and Gulf Coasts Recreation Area Survey
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Undeveloped Seashore Areas of Maine and New Hampshire (Vicinity Map) (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

Roque Island Group

Location: Off mainland about 10 miles south-southwest of Machias, Maine.
Accessibility: By boat only.
Description of Area: One of the most picturesque groups of islands along the Maine Coast, Roque, Great Spruce, Little Spruce, and six smaller islands, together contain about 12 miles of shoreline and 1,500 acres of land. Roque Island has two good beaches, each over a mile in length, fairly wide, white in color, gently sloping; the coastline is rugged. The group contains an extensive cover of spruce-fir forest with some white pine, white birch, sugar maple and beech, many ferns, mosses and lichens. There has been extensive cutting but some of the forest is still in virgin condition and very important biologically. The area is relatively undeveloped.
Present Use: Owned by Roque Island--S. P. Gardner Corporation, members being heirs of the Gardner family. Used as summer residence with some farming, sheep grazing, and selective timber cutting.
Analysis: An area of unusual park-like qualities, including scenic attraction, natural history interest, and potentialities for organization camps featuring nature studies. Difficulty of access, limited seasonal use, and good conservation practices of present owners indicate that further consideration of this desirable area may be deferred until circumstances warrant action.

Roque Island


Location: On Penobscot Bay, 40 miles south of Bangor, Maine.
Accessibility: State Highway 166, 17 miles from junction with U. S. Highway 1.
Description of Area: Castine is a lovely old New England village of beautiful homes--many of which date to 1800 or before--overlooking the bay. It was the stronghold of French influence in Maine and for two centuries a center of intrigue and international rivalry involving England, France, Holland, the United States and the Indian tribes. Castine was occupied by the British during the Revolution and the War of 1812. Earthwork remains of forts and battery positions, including the well-preserved Fort George, built by the British in 1779, are scattered through the town.
Present Use: The town is a summer colony with several small hotels and restaurants and a golf course. Fort George Memorial is a Maine State park. More than 100 markers scattered throughout the town describe incidents of Castine's history. Wilson Museum contains excellent historical and archeological collections.
Analysis: The historical features of the town are worthy of more extensive interpretive development, which might be sponsored by the Fort George Memorial. Of outstanding historical importance, the town should be considered for possible designation under the Historic Sites Act of 1935.
Fort George, Castine

Fort Pentagoet, Castine

Popham-St. John

Location: Between Cape Small and the Kennebec River, 17 miles south of Bath.
Accessibility: By paved road.
Description of Area: The area has wide stretches of beach interspersed with rocky crags rising to hills covered with hemlock and spruce. Popham Beach is about 2 miles in length, St. John Beach, 1-1/4 miles; the two are separated by a narrow tidal stream, the Morse River. Both are unusually attractive northern New England Beaches, broad and clean. The tiny Fox Islands are just off Morse Point; the largest of these is joined to the beach at low tide. The area is historically important as the site of the first English colony in New England.
Present Use: The community of Popham owns the western one-third of the 2-mile long beach included in the Popham area; the town of Phippsburg owns a central section of the Popham area; the remainder involves nearly 200 separate ownerships. Nearly all of the St. John area is owned by Mr. George St. John. The Popham area is used as a summer colony; the St. John area is a private holding.
Analysis: Acquisition of this area is recommended because of the scarcity of public use beaches in this region. The Popham Colony site, of outstanding historical importance, is presently undeveloped but could be administered and interpreted by the Fort Popham Memorial. The site should be considered for possible designation under the Historic Sites Act of 1935.
St. John Beach

Fort Popham


Location: East side of Pemaquid Neck, 12 miles south of Damariscotta, Maine.
Accessibility: By paved spur road from State Highway 130 at New Harbor.
Description of Area: Located in a typical setting of the rugged Maine coast, Pemaquid is a small fishing and resort town, whose wharf and small, rocky beach border on Johns Bay. Historically, it is one of the most significant sites in Maine, and played an important role in the early history of New England. One of the oldest settlements in New England, Pemaquid was the most vital English outpost against French colonial expansion from the north in the century-long struggle between France and England for possession of eastern Maine. Over a span of 150 years four forts were built and destroyed at Pemaquid.
Present Use: The town attracts a considerable number of summer tourists. Fort William Henry Memorial, a State park, is a partial reconstruction of the stone fort captured by the French in 1696.
Analysis: This outstanding historical site is being given good interpretive treatment by the State; however, archeological investigation would be a valuable addition to the program. Pemaquid should be considered for possible designation under the Historic Sites Act of 1935.
Fort William Henry (restored)

Pemaquid Beach

Prouts Neck-Scarboro

Location: A coastal promontory 8 miles south of Portland; west of Old Orchard Beach.
Accessibility: By car, State Highway 207.
Description of Area: An hourglass-shaped area with the east and west sides of the triangular portion of the shape forming Scarboro and Prouts Neck Beaches respectively. Scarboro Beach is about 1-1/4 miles long, fairly wide, gently sloped, reasonably free of shells and debris. Behind low, stable dunes is a large fresh water pond and a small expanse of marsh. The upland meadows and forests are fast disappearing because of the development taking place on all sides. Prouts Neck Beach, similar in character to Scarboro Beach, but wider, flatter, and cleaner, is about 1-1/2 miles long. The beach is interrupted midway by a river outlet. The ground between the river and the beach is low and marshy.
Present Use: Scarboro Beach is used by tenants of certain resort properties. The portion of Prouts Neck Beach east of the river's mouth is bordered by a golf course and clubhouse. The portion of the beach west of the river's mouth is now undeveloped but lies in the path of Old Orchard Beach and Pine Point expansion programs.
Analysis: Prouts Neck-Scarboro area does not have unusual or spectacular character but it does have nearly 3 miles of undeveloped seashore, readily adaptable for recreational use, in the midst of extensive shore developments and adjacent to centers of population. It is believed, however, that this area will be developed for private purposes through the expansion of the communities around it.


Location: 7 miles south of Portland.
Accessibility: By road.
Description of Area: Lying just off the principal traffic routes along coastal Maine, within a few miles of Portland, the largest population center on the Maine coast, the Crescent area possesses fine stretches of sandy beach and interesting natural resources and is easily accessible by road. The beach on the mainland is about 3 miles long and on Richmond Island about 1 mile in length. The mainland area contains about 2,140 acres, and Richmond Island about 220 acres. The vegetative cover is sparse and unimportant. A great variety of marine plants and animals to be found on or near the beach and the breakwater make up a biotic community well worthy of study.
Present Use: Nearly 70 percent of the mainland portion of the area and all of Richmond Island are owned by the Sprague Corporation. The remainder involves several ownerships. The area is used for summer residence, farming, and commercial installations.
Analysis: It is one of the very few undeveloped good beach areas remaining in Maine, and is easily accessible from the largest concentration of population in the State.
Crescent Area, Richmond Beach in foreground.

Crescent Surf

Location: On the mainland, about 4 miles south of Kennebunk and 2 miles east of Elms.
Accessibility: By car, off State Highway 9.
Description of Area: The western half of Crescent Surf and the eastern half of Drake's Island, two long, green-covered, fingerlike ridges dipping down into the sea, cover about 3 miles of undeveloped beach. The beaches are from 200 to 300 feet wide, clean, and gently sloping. The sand is medium fine, hard-packed and clean. Sand dunes are low, flat-topped, regular, stable and grass-covered. Plant cover in a natural condition is found in a forest of white pine, birch and maple, with many ferns, mosses and lichens, back of the beach in the western part of the area.
Present Use: Crescent Surf section is owned by members of the Parsons family and used as a private summer residence. Drake's Island section is undeveloped but its western portion supports a summer colony, a trend that is rapidly spreading eastward on the island.
Analysis: The area merits serious consideration above others because of the excellent quality of its beaches, vegetative cover, dunes, marshes and ridges, its adequate size to support recreational development and use, and its proximity to centers of population and principal tourist routes.
Drake's Island

Crescent Surf, Drake's Island in background.


Cutler-South Trescott

The coastal area between the two villages, approximately 10 miles long, and 1-1/2 miles wide, between Grand Manan Channel and U. S. Highway 1, contains about 9,000 acres of land. The shoreline is rocky and rugged with the uplands reaching a height of 200 feet thickly covered with evergreens. The rugged character of the land limits its possible development and usability for recreational purposes.

Cutler - South Trescott

Sprague Neck

A T-shaped area extending westward into Machias Bay, 14 miles southeast of Machias. The shores of the area are narrow (30 feet), steep, and stony gravel in texture. The foreshore water is deep and muddy. The water is too cold and unattractive for bathing. Other areas in the immediate vicinity are superior to it for recreational use.

Sprague Neck

Sullivan-East Sullivan

A 5-mile stretch of coast between these two communities, along the northeast side of Frenchman Bay, which at low tide presents a wide mudflat. It has no sand beaches and very little vegetative cover. The area is very inferior to other public areas in this vicinity.

Medomac-Luminous Moss Cave

Two small areas, 8 miles east of Damariscotta and 10 miles south of Waldoboro, on both sides of the Medomac River. Hog Island, the area on the west side of Medomac River, is of interest because of its birdlife, and the area on the east side of the river has, in a cave, an unusual species of luminous moss. The Audubon Society has some acreage on Hog Island and is interested in acquiring both points of interests in these areas.

Fort Levett Military Reservation

The Reservation occupies about one-fourth of an island in Casco Bay, approximately 1 mile offshore and directly east of South Portland. The shoreline is rocky and rugged and there is little vegetation on the island. The Reservation is not of historical importance and has little recreation value.

Fort Levett

Ogunquit Beach

A municipal beach, 1-1/2 miles long and from 600 to 800 feet wide, which lies east of the town of Ogunquit and is owned and operated by that political agency. The beach is one of the finest in the region with its broad, clean, gently sloping area for bathing. The sand dunes are moderately high, generally regular, and flat-topped. The area is already in public ownership and is a very desirable asset.

Ogunquit Beach

New Hampshire

Great Bay

A 10-mile long tidal basin in the western outskirts of Portsmouth some 7 miles inland, this is the largest remaining undeveloped section in New Hampshire that borders salt water. A severe pollution problem results from domestic sewage and industrial wastes contained by the eight streams flowing into the bay. There is a great deal of forest in the area, mostly white pine and sugar maple, but it is nowhere continuous for any great distance, being interspersed with farm land and pasture land. The forested area has been cut over many times. The bay would be suitable for many recreation activities such as bathing and picnicking, camping, nature study, and riding, if it were free of pollution, a situation not foreseeable in the immediate future.

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Last Updated: 25-Jun-2007