Helen and Walter Norton Preserve on Birch Island

Harpswell Heritage Land Trust

The Helen and Walter Norton Preserve is a beautiful spot to pull out of the water in Middle Bay and enjoy a picnic, swim, or camping trip. This preserve is on the Maine Island Trail.

The property has a fascinating history, having previously hosted native Americans, a shipyard, and then a boy’s camp. A shell midden and old foundation give clues about the people who have enjoyed this property in the past.

A beach provides easy, all-tide access for small boats. Once on the property, visitors can wander around the field and forest, enjoy the new loop trail, set up a tent for the night, and go swimming in the coves. What a beautiful place to get away from it all!

There is a picnic table and a small shed where visitors are welcome to wait out a storm. There are no other facilities on the preserve.


Access is by water only. A beach provides all tide access for small boats. The closest places to put in the water are the Mere Point Boat Ramp and Simpson’s Point Landing in Brunswick and Lookout Point in Harpswell.

Visitor Guidelines

  • Carry in, carry out.
  • No open fires.
  • Camping is permitted.
  • Dogs must be on leash during bird nesting season, April 15-July 31. All other times, dogs must be under owner control and not bother wildlife, neighbors or other users.
  • Carry out all dog waste.
  • Hunting is allowed. Wear blaze orange and take appropriate safety precautions during hunting season.
  • Trapping is allowed with written permission from HHLT.
  • Please respect wildlife, neighbors and other users.
  • Power driven mobility devices are not allowed.