Porter’s Preserve, Ovens Mouth Preserve, and Bonyun Preserve are three of our favorite places to explore and hike. Teeming with wildlife, these nature preserves are an amazing way to get outdoors and enjoy the natural splendor of Maine.
Porter’s Preserve — Trevett, ME
Porter’s Preserve lies between the Sheepscot and Back rivers at the southern tip of Barter’s Island. The majority of the preserve was donated to the Boothbay Region Land Trust by Nathaniel Porter in 1983. In 2005, Robert and Linda Jones donated the adjacent Robert’s Wharf property, expanding the preserve to 21 acres. The Jones family hoped to preserve the land for future generations, explaining:
“Our intention from the beginning was to allow waterfront activities to continue — what we and others in the community have viewed as endangered. We have cherished the mixture of communities and shore and water uses that our parents and forebears found here and were drawn to a century ago. It appears to us that the scales have tipped toward large scale residential/recreational uses and away from small scale intrinsic uses.”
With 19 acres of spruce, oak, and pine trees, benches overlooking the river, and a variety of well-marked trails, Porter’s Preserve is a prime spot for hike or family day-trip. There’s even a beach nestled in one of its small coves — lucky for you, swimming is allowed!
Ovens Mouth Preserve — Boothbay, ME
The Ovens Mouth is a narrow water passage between Edgecomb and Boothbay leading to a tidal basin. Situated between the Back and Cross rivers, its protected location attracted British and American vessels to its hidden coves during the American Revolution. Throughout the years, its waters have witnessed ship-building, damming, ice-cutting, and many other maritime activities.
Purchased by the Boothbay Region Land Trust in 1994, the preserve consists of 146 acres of land and 5 miles of trails bordering Ovens Mouth. Its east and west sections are connected by a 93-foot pedestrian bridge.
For those interested in a relaxed hike, Ovens Mouth East offers scenic views and benches to picnic on. Its accessible .5 and 1.1-mile wooded trails ensure an enjoyable time for children and adults alike. For more of a challenge, Ovens Mouth West provides 3.6 miles of trail through the woods. Steep, rooted, rocky areas lead to stunning views of Back River. Throughout both sections of Ovens Mouth, one will find salty marshes, peaceful coves, fragrant flora, and an abundance of wildlife — from eagles and osprey to otters and deer.
Bonyun Preserve — Westport Island, ME
The Bonyun preserve lies along the Kennebec estuary, which is one of the few places in the world where major rivers come together to form an enclosed tidal delta. For thousands of years, the rich fishing and clamming grounds of the Kennebec estuary attracted Abenaki tribes. Later in the 1600s, Europeans capitalized on the area’s natural resources, establishing settlements to trade lumber, fur, and fish.
Located in Knubble Bay (close to where the Sheepscot and Sasanoa rivers converge), the Bonyun preserve makes it evident why ancient settlers gravitated to the Westport Island area. With a tidal inlet, woods, pocket wetlands, fresh water marshes, and riparian areas teeming with amphibians, beauty is found at every turn.
Three trails meander through the 68-acre preserve located just down the street from the Squire Tarbox Inn. Hiking isn’t all the preserve offers — Bonyun is also a birdwatcher’s dream. Home to the snowy egret, great blue heron, migrating shorebirds, woodpeckers, and songbirds, Bonyun is teeming with wildlife. The variety of flora and fauna coupled with Bonyun’s terrain provides the opportunity for much exploration.
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