Places We Protect

Rachel Carson Salt Pond Preserve

Maine

A view past a tidal salt pond towards the ocean beyond.
Rachel Carson Salt Pond Preserve March 18, 2020 © Phoebe Parker

This tide pool and rocky shore were inspiration for Rachel Carson's book The Edge of the Sea.

Overview

Description

A little bit of the sea is left behind in this salt pond every time the tide recedes. People have been coming to this one-quarter-acre tidal pool for many years, to delight at the tidal remnants within, to explore or picnic on the rocky shore, or, as Rachel Carson did many years ago, to conduct scientific studies. It was from this tidal pool that she gathered some of the material for her book, The Edge of the Sea. A foresighted conservationist, Carson was instrumental in starting the Maine Chapter of The Nature Conservancy in 1956.

Don’t forget to explore the woodland across the road. Numerous blowdown trees provide evidence of exposure to high ocean winds. Occasional, grassy areas with low growing juniper and conical-shaped softwood trees signify recent agricultural use and abandonment. Several wetlands and streams can be found throughout this section of the preserve. The small upland pond was dammed many years ago to create a place for harvesting ice.

The first 40 acres of this 78-acre preserve was given to The Nature Conservancy in 1966 by Helen Williams and her sisters Elizabeth Gardner and Anne Hinners. In 1967, Robert and Helen Search donated roughly 38 adjacent acres. The preserve was dedicated to Rachel Carson in 1970.

Parking is along the shoulder of Route 32 which is narrow and often busy during the summer months. Please respect our neighbors and return another time if the parking area is full. 

Access

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Hours

Sunrise to sunset

Highlights

Cobble beach, tide pool and hiking trail

Size

78 acres

Explore our work in Maine

Looking down through water to a collection of sea creatures and plants in a shallow pool.
Rachel Carson Salt Pond Preserve March 2020 © Phoebe Parker

Cobble Beach Entrance

Parking is along the shoulder of Route 32 which is narrow and often busy during the summer months. Please respect our neighbors and return another time if the parking area is full. 

From Route 32, a set of granite steps leads to the recreational beach. Please help us reduce erosion along the road edge by using the steps.

 

Hiking Trail

There is a hiking trail through the woods that begins on the west side of Route 32. After .45 miles, an intersection signals the start of a .25-mile loop at the far end of the trail.

  • Open dawn to dusk
  • Small parking area located along the shoulder of Route 32 with granite steps to the shoreline 
  • Foot traffic only
  • Stay on trails and use granite steps to access the beach
  • No collecting plants or animals
  • Respect the tide pool by not throwing rocks or disturbing or removing any animal or plant life
  • Dogs are not allowed on the preserve
  • No fires, smoking or camping
  • Carry out all litter