History of the Refuge

Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge was established on November 22, 1988, with management responsibility initially assigned to the Refuge Manager at Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. On December 5, 1989, the first Refuge Manager for Sunkhaze Meadows NWR reported for duty and a refuge headquarters was established.

In the early 1990's, the Benton and Sandy Stream Divisions were added to the refuge under the auspices of the 1990 Farm Bill. These small areas are respectively located in the towns of Benton and Unity, Maine. Both are managed for grassland-nesting birds.

Four conservation easements are also managed by Sunkhaze Meadows Refuge. They are the Downing, Fortin, Miller, and Quayle Easements, totaling seven separate parcels of land. The four parcels of the Downing Easement are located in Corinth and Exeter. The Fortin Easement is in Fairfield, the Miller Easement is in Starks, and the Quayle Easement is in Patten.

Prior to designation as a national wildlife refuge,traditional consumptive uses of Sunkhaze Meadows resources included hunting, fishing, trapping, logging, and blueberry and cranberry harvesting. The primary game species sought were deer, Ruffed Grouse, American Woodcock, and waterfowl. The refuge area had been open to bear and moose hunting, but didn't get much activity because of the difficulty in gaining access to the area and retrieving game. Bear, beaver, muskrat, otter, fisher, and other furbearers were the species trapped. The refuge is now open to big game hunting, upland game hunting, and waterfowl hunting. Trapping is allowed if a refuge permit is obtained.

Sunkhaze Meadows Refuge was acquired to ensure its ecological integrity and the continued availability of its wetland, stream, forest and wildlife resources to the citizens of the United States. The purpose of acquisition, under the authority of the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956, was "... for the development, advancement, management, conservation, and protection of fish and wildlife resources ...and ... for the benefit of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, in performing its activities and services.  Such acceptance may be subject to the terms of any restrictive or affirmative covenant, or condition of servitude . . . The Land and Water Conservation Fund was the source of funding for the purchase.

Carlton Pond Waterfowl Production Area is a 1,055-acre marsh located in the town of Troy in Waldo County.  Until December1990, Carlton Pond WPA was administered by MoosehornNWR. Administrative and managerial responsibilities for the area were then transferred to Sunkhaze Meadows NWR.

The original dam at Carlton Pond was a rock structure built in 1850 to provide water power for a sawmill operation.  The USFWS acquired the property in the mid-1960's and, in 1972,  reconstructed the dam to maintain the integrity of the structure and to assure continued maintenance of the open water, marsh, and wetland areas created by the original dam.  A natural overflow near the structure provides an additional escape route for high water thereby affording extra protection for the dam and control structures.  A right-of-way provides access to the dam for maintenance and public use.

Carlton Pond WPA has historically provided good nesting habitat for waterfowl, although quantitative data are lacking for the number of waterfowl produced.  In the early 1970's the State of Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife released Canada geese on the area as part of a statewide goose restoration program.  Several broods of geese are now raised on the WPA and immediate vicinity each year. 

Friends of Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. PO Box 450.  Milford ME 04461. Email Friends of Sunkhaze Meadows

Sunkhaze Meadows NWR is managed by the staff of Maine Coastal Islands NWR.
PO Box 1735.  9 Water St. Rockland ME 04841. (207) 594-0600