Near the coastal village of Bass Harbor on the southern coastline of Mount Desert Island lies one of its two major tidal marshes. This large saltmarsh contrasts strongly with the surrounding mature coniferous woodland.

Ornithological Summary

The area is a well-known breeding location for American Black Ducks and Nelson?s Sharp-tailed Sparrows. The site has been surveyed extensively, by both amateur birders and professional biologists, and is also the site of several research studies by Acadia National Park. Such surveys have yielded breeding records of rare species including Least Bittern. Open water during fall and winter along the tidal creeks of this marsh often support numerous waterfowl.

Conservation Issues

Although the immediate shoreline of the marsh is in conservation ownership, adjacent lands on most sides of this thin shoreline buffer remain unprotected. These private lands are currently used for housing, extractive and construction industries, and small businesses. Local zoning does not limit further development on these private lands and thereby poses an additional threat to the marsh and lower reaches of the tidal creeks. Buffering from the current and potential private land uses should be a short-term goal, with the long-term goal to conserve these lands to protect water quality, shoreline habitats, and other resource values. Easy access makes Bass Harbor Marsh a great place for ecological outreach for the numerous seasonal visitors to the area. The addition of a small parking area and kiosk would safely accommodate these users.


Bass Harbor Marsh is primarily owned by the National Park Service and managed as part of Acadia National Park. Access is easiest from Route 102 just east of the intersection of Routes 102 and 102A. Parking is limited along the roadside.

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