Timber Point, located off Curtis Cove on the Biddeford-Kennebunkport town line, is one of many examples in Maine of how private-public partnerships have preserved the wilderness for visitors – human and wildlife alike.

Just a decade ago, the 100-plus acres of Timber Point and Timber Island were one of the few large chunks of privately owned land on Maine’s southern coast. In 2011, a group of local stakeholders – including The Trust for Public Land, the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust, the Friends of Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, local land trusts, and other local companies and individuals – raised $2 million to secure the 157-acre parcel of coastline. Acquired by the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in 2011, the acreage now preserves local flora and fauna, and provides access and education to visitors.

A trail, at eight-tenths of a mile, runs through the land with educational panels and an observation deck along the way. Beyond the natural beauty, there’s also access to Timber Island – which can only be reached at low tide by a land bridge – and a magnificent view of the Ewing House on the peninsula’s southern tip. The home, built in the 1930s, was owned by the couple who owned Timber Point before it went to the Carson wildlife refuge.

The road to reach Timber Point is an attraction itself. Granite Point Road, which leaves Route 9 in Biddeford near Fortunes Rocks, ambles a mile and a half to the parking area for Timber Point. The road is boxed in by the Atlantic Ocean to the east – passing Horseshoe, New Barn and Curtis coves, and the Little River – and lands of the Rachel Carson Refuge to the west. Timber Point’s parking area has a scant six spaces, so carpooling and getting there early are good bets. There’s no shoulder (and ubiquitous “No Parking” signs) for the length of Granite Point Road, so if you don’t snag one of the spots you may have to visit another day.

Walking or biking in from Route 9 is an easy route, with plenty of beautiful shoreline and estuaries (not to mention gorgeous homes) to view. There is a bike rack at the entrance to Timber Point, so you can lock up your bike when you reach the trailhead. Visiting Timber Point and Timber Island is restricted to the two-legged travel – bikes and dogs are prohibited from the refuge itself.

Signs at the parking lot on the northern tip of Curtis Cove direct hikers to a well-traveled dirt road, which is both the trail and access for cars authorized to travel on Timber Point. Past the cove the road splits; the left path goes to private property, so bear right to continue down the trail.

The path carries hikers half a mile, hugging the Little River on Timber Point’s eastern shore. The trail, well-maintained and practically flat, is an easy one. It starts out as a packed dirt and gravel road before transitioning to wood chips for the trail’s latter half. Marshes, mudflats, rocky shoreline and deciduous forest surround the trail.

After about three-quarters of a mile, the Timber Point trail “ends” at the peninsula’s southwestern tip. However, a land bridge – accessible only at low tide – connects Timber Point to Timber Island. Helpfully, a tide clock and tide chart warn hikers just when the island can be reached – and when to head back to the mainland to avoid getting stranded.

The 13 acres of Timber Island offer a microcosm of the Maine coast. A rocky shoreline dotted with tidepools rings an inner forest populated by coniferous trees, wetlands and shrub brush. I’d recommend walking the island’s circumference, though the vegetation is scarce enough that you can traipse through the island’s center. Just be careful not to disturb the vegetation or wildlife.

A relatively new addition to the trails at Timber Point is an easy loop that visits the Ewing House on the point’s southern shore. Added last year, the trail provides access to the home of Louise and Charles Ewing, who purchased Timber Point in 1929. The house, a spectacular “cottage” used by the Ewings – and designed by Charles, a master architect, in 1931 – has survived all manner of disaster over the last 86 years, including the 1938 “Great New England Hurricane” and the “Perfect Storm” of 1991. In November, the home was added to the the National Register of Historic Places because of its architectural significance.

Josh Christie is a freelance writer living in Portland. Along with his brother, Jake, he writes about great Maine destinations for outdoors enthusiasts. Josh can be reached at:

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