Somes-Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary

A Brief History…

Somes Harbor with library, windmill, lumber mill, horse & carriage and electric pole.

Somes Harbor with library, windmill, lumber mill, horse & carriage and electric pole.

Abraham Somes was a fourth generation Somes in the United States when he sailed from Massachusetts to this area.  In 1761 he established the first permanent settlement on Mount Desert Island (MDI).  By the early 1800’s there were seven mills, five shipyards, four blacksmiths and two stores in Somesville.  The Village of Somesville was a bustling town and was instrumental in having the Trenton Bridge connect MDI to the mainland in 1836.  It was the dominant town on MDI until the very early 1900s..

Somes Pond is one of the natural treasures of historic Somesville.  A relatively shallow pond (about 26 feet at its deepest), with 104 acres of surface area.  The pond derives its waters from underground springs and inlet streams. (Great) Long Pond (900 acres) feeds into Somes Pond via Ripple Pond and two stream sections. From Somes Pond, water flows down to the Somesville Mill Pond and into the harbor, tumbling over 3 historic dams along the way. Generations of local residents have appreciated the pond and its surrounding landscape for plentiful wildlife, clean waters, scenic beauty, recreational opportunities, and for its place in the history of Somesville.

A direct descendent of Abraham Somes, Dr. Virginia Somes Sanderson, wanted to further preserve the natural beauty of the area and protect it from further development.  In the fall of 1974 Dr. Sanderson conceived the idea of a permanent sanctuary on Somes Pond.  The idea became a reality in 1985 with the formation of the Somes-Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary, and the transfer by Dr. Sanderson of 33 acres along the Pond to the Sanctuary.  The Somes-Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary was incorporated for charitable, educational and scientific purposes; namely:  (a) the preservation, maintenance, management and enhancement of the natural and historic values and habitats;  (b) the care and protection of the wildlife of the Sanctuary and its environs;  (c) the education, enlightenment, and enjoyment of the residents of Mount Desert Island and the Public of the values of ecology, conservation and natural history through Sanctuary activities and nature interpretation; and (d) conservation of the Somes Pond Watershed; wildlife habitats and natural resources (taken from the By-Laws of the Sanctuary, Article II, PurposeHistory3s).

Through the vision and work of its trustees, staff, friends, and neighbors the Somes-Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary has grown since its founding, now protecting and preserving approximately 255 acres in the Somes Pond Watershed.  As increasing development and visitation places pressure on fragile natural systems within its watershed the Somes-Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary is committed to remaining diligent in its mission of conservation of this very special place and the educational opportunities it presents.