Timber Point Trail, Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, Maine

From U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The trail is located on the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge and is a scenic 1.4 mile loop located in Biddeford Pool that takes visitors through forests and meadows to the Atlantic Ocean.

by American Trails Staff


Photo by Deb King

Featured
National Recreation Trail

Designated in 2013


• View more details for this trail
in the NRT Database

• Learn about the NRT Program.

Timber Point is a 97-acre peninsula with a 13-acre Timber Island that borders the Little River Estuary and the Atlantic Ocean. This scenic 1.4 mile loop is located on the peninsula and takes visitors past fringing salt marshes, cattail marshes, mixed deciduous forest, mudflats, shrublands, and rocky shores. Visitors can access Timber Island only at low tide. A tide clock is installed at the Timber Island trailhead so visitors can successfully time their visit as the trail to the island is impassable at high tide.

In an extraordinary public/private partnership (locals raised over $2M), the 157-acre Timber Point and Timber Island parcels were acquired at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in December 2011. By March 2012 the refuge had a trail roughed in; volunteers, staff, and Maine Conservation Corps all pitched in; the trail was essentially complete and open by May.

Over the summer, our Youth Conservation Corps built a ramped observation platform, completing the universally accessible portion of the Timber Point Trail. A tide clock was installed at the Timber Island trailhead (the island is accessible at low tide but impassable at high tide), the City of Biddeford painted parking stripes, and they donated a bike rack for the parking area. Visitors are also welcome to bring their canoe or kayak to the Little River for a different refuge experience.

 

Resident volunteers Sue Keefer and Steve Norris were there every day from May to September and provided interpretive walks each Friday and Saturday. The walking trail transverses cattail marshes, wet shrublands, fields, and riparian habitat leading to the ocean.

The elevated platform on the accessible trail provides views of the Little River, cattail marshes, an oxbow, fringing salt marshes, mud flats (used by feeding shorebirds), the estuary, and islands in the distance. Visitor approval is very high as reported to volunteers and staff. The six parking spaces fill and empty multiple times a day and the bike rack is surprisingly active.

Many of the trail users live locally, they walk from their cottages and beach houses to the trail head. The most frequent comment is on the quiet; being surrounded by nature, the feeling of being away from it all. The refuge has contacted all the residents on the access road twice to keep them informed of our plans and progress.

The refuge still has to replace the temporary ‘Welcome, under construction’ with a permanent welcome sign and plans are to use a sign to tell the story of the estuary and islands at the end of the trail. These signs are ordered but not delivered.

Some of the trail tread will require maintenance until foot traffic compacts the soil and wood chips. Some research is permitted now and there is interest in permits for vegetation and avian work in the future. We are very grateful to all the people that made this happen.

Directions

To reach the trail from Route 9 in Biddeford, turn onto Granite Point Road. Stay on Granite Point Road until you reach the end. The trail begins where Granite Point Road turns into Timber Point Road.

For more information

Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge http://www.fws.gov/refuge/rachel_carson/