The refuge may be reached one of two ways. To reach the southern half of the refuge, including Johsnon Brook Trail, take County Roud off US Route 2 in the center of Milford. To reach the northern half of the refuge, including Sunkhaze Stream and the Ash Landing Trail, follow US Route 2 north to Costigan, and turn right onto Greenfield Road. Take your first right (at Parkeway Transportation and Northland Service signs) onto Stud Mill Road. Follow the road as it turns left in about 0.5 miles and then continues east to the refuge. It is approximately two miles from this turn to the refuge boundary. (Note: Do not park along Stud Mill Road; this private road is used by heavily loaded logging trucks which have the right of way.)
Ash Landing is 0.5 miles south of Sunkhaze Stream on Stud Mills Road, 6.3 miles from US Route 2 via Greenfield Road.
This short, maintained trail beginning at the Ash Landing lot offers a pleasant walk through a mixed-woods forest, leading to Sunkhaze Stream. This is shortest and most accessible trail in the refuge with a boardwalk leading to the stream and an interpretive panel highlighting some of the natural flora and fauna of the preserve.
This trail also is designed to provide canoe and kayak access to Sunkhaze Stream. The lower take-out point is at Costigan Boat Access upstream of the outlet on the Penobscot River. For more information about boating in Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, follow the links below for more information.
Sunkhaze National Wildlife Refuge is located in Milford, Maine, just north of Bangor. Established in 1988 and more than 10,000 acres in size, it surrounds nearly five miles of Sunkhaze Stream and another 12 Miles of its tributaries. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages the refuge to protect important habitats for wildlife, including forested, uplands, alder/willow riparian zones, cedar swamps, and the large peatland complex for which it is named. The peatland is one of the largest in Maine, along with Caribou Bog, Crystal Bog, and Great Heath. It contains several raised dome bogs with peat deposits up to 15 feet deep.
Migratory waterfowl and wading birds such as black ducks, wood ducks, great blue herons, and American bitterns use the stream habitat. American woodcock benefit from the diversity of habitats on the refuge. Neotropical migratory bird species, including chestnut-sided warblers, scarlet tanagers, and olive-sided flycatchers nest in the forested uplands. Resident wildlife includes ruffed grouse, red-tailed hawks, beavers, white-tailed deer, moose, black bears, coyotes, and river otters.
The mission of Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is to “preserve the peatland ecosystem and maintain a biologically diverse area for native wildlife and plants, while offering opportunities for wildlife- and wildland-oriented activities.” In keeping with this purpose, the refuge is open to visitors year-round during daylight hours and offers recreational opportunities that are compatible with its wildlife and habitat management objectives.
Observe wildlife from a safe and respectful distance.
Please restrain all pets on leashes. Loose dogs may harass wildlife and detract from other visitors’ enjoyment of the refuge.
Hunting is permitted on the refuge, with most activity occurring during October and November. Blaze orange is required for hunters and strongly recommended for hikers.
During the summer months, biting flies and mosquitoes are abundant. Insect repellent is highly recommend.
Dress appropriately for your activity and have foul weather gear with you. Waterproof footwear is recommended.
Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuges with help from the Friends of Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Visit these organizations online for more information, or contact:
Friends of Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
PO Box 450
Milford ME, 04461
Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuges
9 Water Street
PO Box 1735
Rockland, ME 04841
Phone: (207) 594-0600