People lucky enough to be near southern Maine can honor the 50th anniversary of Earth Day (April 22) by visiting a federal wilderness area named in honor of the mother of the environment movement, that is the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Wells, ME, named for the biologist, author and environmentalist Rachel Carson (1907 – 1964). Her 1962 book “Silent Spring” launched the modern environmental protection movement. (Carson reported that when that birds absorbed DDT – a pesticide – from the environment, their eggs’ shells thinned and broke before they could hatch, leading to near-extinction of bald eagles, peregrine falcons and other birds.)
The walking trails of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge are OPEN now (visitors are asked to keep a safe distance from each other). The refuge covers 50 miles of coastline in eleven sections between Kittery and Cape Elizabeth. The refuge entrance is at 321 Port Road (Route 9) in Wells. From exit 19 on I-95, turn left onto Route 9/Route109. At stop light, turn left onto Post Road (Route 1 North). Just past the Maine Diner, turn right onto Port Road (Route 9) and follow for approximately three-quarters of a mile; turn right into the refuge entrance. 207-646-9226. Map.
- The Visitor Center and restrooms are closed.
- The refuge is open.
- The Rachel Carson Trail is open.
- Trails at Cutts Island and Timber Point are open.
See refuge brochure
Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge was created to protect salt marshes and estuaries for migratory birds. The combination of plants and animals in this marshy border are is found anywhere else in Maine. The refuge, which is honeycombed with walking trails, consists of forested upland, barrier beach, coastal meadows, tidal salt marsh, dunes, and a rocky coast.
Learn more about Rachel Carson and her world-changing book, “Silent Spring.”