Beech Hill Preserve
Protected: 2003 (1987, by Conservation Easement)
Description: The Beech Hill Preserve offers ready access to one of the most scenic and multi-faceted conservation properties in the western Penobscot Bay region. As the only bald hilltop in the area, Beech Hill is an extraordinary hiking, picnicking and birding destination that offers panoramic views of Penobscot Bay, the Camden hills and the St. George peninsula. The Preserve has the honor of being one of the official stops on the Maine Birding Trail, with over 125 species on its checklist. The conservation program of this Preserve protects nearly 300 acres of land managed for grassland bird habitat, organic blueberry production, and scenic and historic preservation values.
Located approximately 1.5 miles from Rockport village, between Routes 1, 17 and 90, Beech Hill is a large hill dominated by open grassland habitat and a commercial organic blueberry operation. The open fields of the summit, capped by Beech Nut, a sod-roofed stone hut listed on the National Register of Historic Places, are visible from miles around. The lower portion of the Preserve is dominated by a mixed hardwood forest.
Originally protected by a conservation easement in 1986, the summit of Beech Hill was purchased in 2003 by Maine Coast Heritage Trust with support from the Land for Maine's Future program, the MBNA Foundation, and individuals who have long appreciated this dramatic and beautiful property and then transferred to Coastal Mountains Land Trust.
Check out this wonderful Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine article on Beech Nut by Carol Des Lauriers Cieri, with photographs by Brian Vanden Brink (November 2009).
Preserve-Specific Use Guidelines:
1. Thank you and your dog for staying on the trail
Beech Hill's fields are managed for grassland bird habitat and organic blueberry production. People and pets in the fields are detrimental to both birds and blueberries, which is also why we emphasize that dogs need to be on leash at all times. The on-leash requirement applies to the forested areas of the preserve, as well, which are home to deer, bobcats, coyotes, bears, and other wildlife. Please remember that on conservation property, nature comes first!
2. Pick blueberries only as part of our annual Free Pick event
The 2012 Free Pick will be held on August 5, with a Members Only pick on August 4. These events are the only dates and times when the fields are accessible to the public. We run a commercial organic blueberry farm to help financially support the Preserve and to demonstrate organic farming practices. Please support our efforts by respecting our fields and the use guidelines above.
Public Access Information:
Download Beech Hill Preserve Guide and Trail Map This includes directions! (354kb)
See the inside of the stone hut! Public open houses with docents happen twice a month May through October of each year: 2012 Beech Nut Open House Schedule
Photo Credit: Judy Berk