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Hodgdon Island Preserve

Bruce Bell, Sawyer, demonstrates how logs are milled into boards at KLT's annual Curtis Sustainable Forestry and Stewardship Workshop, a program offered to area students.

Location and Description:

Location: Winthrop, Maine

Property Description: The 17-acre Hodgdon Island Preserve on Cobbossee Lake features a beautiful wooded shoreline, wetlands, and a mature hardwood and pine forest. Visitors love the Preserve for paddling, birding, fishing, hiking, and hunting. It’s hard to imagine today, but in the 18th and 19th centuries, farmers used the Cobbossee Lake islands as woodlots and as pastures.  Since then the forest has regenerated, with some white pines and red oaks now over 150 years old. Natural forces, including wind, fire, and climate change, continue to change these island woodlands.

Usage and Directions

Allowable Uses: hiking, nature observation, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, bow and duck hunting only in season, blinds are not permitted. No motorized vehicles. Dogs are allowed on a leash or under voice command. Please clean up after your pets.

Trails: The island can be accessed by small boats or on the ice in the winter. Boaters can land at Sunset Rock on the west side, where a granite ledge and a sandy lake bottom provide an ideal spot for picnics and swimming. The one-mile Island Trail Loop starts at the sign-in box at Sunset Beach and features spectacular views of the shoreline and wetlands, an unusual northern white cedar stand, and an old white birch with a fire scar. Mosquito Island at the south end of the western arm is a quiet, pleasant, picnicking spot. 

Directions: There are two public boat launches, one on Turtle Run Road just off Route 202 in East Winthrop, and a second off Route 135, in Monmouth, on the southwest shore of the lake. There is an informal access point in Manchester at the intersection of the Pond Road and Collins Road at the Cobbossee Stream outlet.  

KLT's Annual Family Winter Fun Day, at Curtis Homestead.  Photo: Gina Lamarche


In the 18th and 19th centuries, farmers on Cobbossee Lake used the lake islands as woodlots and sometimes as pastures. In the late 1700s and 1800s, island trees were harvested for lumber and fuel wood. Following this era, the forest regenerated into the stand you see today, with some of the white pines and red oaks now over 150 years old. Today, natural forces, including wind, climate change, and diseases, continue to change this forest stand.

When agriculture declined in central Maine in the mid ­19th century, newcomers, some of whom were relatives of early residents, came to Cobbossee Lake to enjoy the quiet, beauty, and outdoor opportunities the lake provided. The southern part of Hodgdon Island was owned by one of these seasonal families, the Elliot Farrs. In 1994 the Farr family donated seventeen acres of the southern part of Hodgdon Island to the Kennebec Land Trust. Ancestors of the Farrs ­­the Briggses and Baileys ­­had generations ago farmed land on the west side of Cobbossee Lake.

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