Summary

Size:

18 acres

Trails:

1 trail totaling 0.75 miles

Features:

Spectacular water and island views to the east and south from a bold cliff top; dramatic outcrops of granite; mature spruce/fir canopy with moss-covered understory.

Be Aware:

To protect fragile vegetation and neighbors' privacy, please tread lightly and limit your visit to smaller groups. If the parking lot is full, please revisit at a different time. Water access is not allowed, and land access is only allowed via the VLT footpath.

Guidelines:

Small groups only. If the parking lot is full, please come back another day. There are fragile plant communities at the summit.

The preserve is open for foot traffic only during daylight hours. No pets allowed.

Trail maps are located in the kiosk at VLT, or you may download a map and directions here.

Starboard Rock Sanctuary

As one of the most dramatic promontories on the Maine Coast, Starboard Rock is worth a visit. It offers 180-degree views over the islands and waters of Penobscot Bay, with the mountains of Acadia National Park looming to the northeast.

This site, formerly home to a fire-spotting tower, has been enjoyed by islanders for many years. Its conservation history began in 1989, when landowner Edwin Hoyt first placed it under conservation easement. Ed worked tirelessly over the next fifteen years convincing his neighbors to follow suit, and in 2004 he gifted the Rock outright to Vinalhaven Land Trust, with Maine Coast Heritage Trust holding a conservation easement on the 18-acre parcel. In 2012, a bench was placed at the summit, dedicated in his memory. 

In addition to its spectacular views, the Starboard Rock Sanctuary contains seven distinct plant communities in its 18 acres: Pitch Pine Woodland, Maritime Spruce/Fir, Spruce/Fir/Cinnamon Fern, Acidic Cliff Gorge, Spruce/Northern Hardwoods, Crowberry-Bayberry Headland, and Goose-Tongue Open Headland. This is one of the few places on Vinalhaven where Canada yew, a native evergreen shrub, can be found.

Birdwatchers can count on seeing warblers and other songbirds, woodpeckers, sea birds, and birds of prey. Be sure to bring binoculars, and remember that the wildlife will be grateful if you keep your party on trail, together, and quiet. Enjoy your visit!