Mainers work to protect their coastal, river and mountain habitats. Maine has nine national wildlife refuges owned by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and other refuges maintained by towns and local Audubon Society chapters. Refuges range in size from dozens to thousands of acres and have some of the best undiscovered walking and hiking trails in the state. You can visit ocean islands, inland forests or 2,000-foot mountain peaks, where you can spot rare and common migrating birds and native animals such as moose, fox, white-tailed deer, beavers, owls, osprey and bald eagles.
If you're looking for a camping destination with abundant wildlife, you can visit Swan Island, a four-mile island in the Kennebec River. Here you'll find the Steve Powell Wildlife Management Area, home to bald eagles, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys and many songbirds. You can walk on nature trails, bike on gravel roads, take nature photographs, kayak, fish for bass and stripers in the Kennebec or simply relax. If you're canoeing or kayaking the Kennebec, you can access the island at two landings. You can also participate in events including guided bird walks and a Kennebec frontier encampment recreating life in the mid-1700s. You can also visit six buildings on the island that date back to the 1700s from the abandoned settlement of Perkins Township.
You can access the island by ferry from downtown Richmond. You must have an advance reservation if you're arriving by ferry, as only 60 visitors are allowed each day. The island has 10 campsites, each with an Adirondack shelter, a picnic table and a fireplace. You must reserve campsites in advance and stays are limited to two nights. For more information, fees and reservations, call (207) 547-5322.
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