1.25 miles of trails through spruce-fir forest, meadows, and great oaks; shore walk along Greenlaw cove; beautiful trails through an old farmstead taken back by nature.


  • Hiking
  • Shorebird Observation
  • Tree Hugging
  • Meadow Frolicking
  • Vernal Pool Exploration
  • Snowshoeing


Hike winding trails of bog-bridging through wet areas and enjoy diverse habitats of forest, meadow, and shore! Visit the magnificent Greak Oak tree on the Great Oak trail and enjoy a picnic on the rocks overlooking Greenlaw cove.


  • Day Use Only – no camping or overnight parking
  • Pets allowed under voice control
  • No fires allowed
  • Foot traffic only
  • Leave it better than you found it
  • Respect the privacy of our neighbors
  • Hunting is permitted – please contact Island Heritage Trust for permission and approval


From the Deer Isle Causeway, drive South on Route 15 for about 4.5 miles, keeping left at Deer Isle village until you reach the Irving Gas Station, then turn left onto Sunshine Rd. Drive for a little over one mile, keeping left at the fork onto Greenlaw District Road. The Shore Acres Preserve parking lot will be on your right in less than one mile.


With Ecologist, Dr. Ken Crowell, & Naturalist, Marnie Reed Crowell:

Shore Acres is all about trees. Here you can lean to identify a number of species no matter what the time of year. As you walk these trails you may be concentrating on where you put your feet. Already you would have noticed the carpet of White Pine needles on the trail even before you looked around for the tree. The only oak species we usually find on Deer Isle is the red oak and you will see oak leaves and even acorns on the Shore Acres trail most of the year.

Goldthread, from which this section of the trail takes its name, is a perennial evergreen herb of the forest floor. Look for trios of shiny dark green leaves conspicuous long after the dainty white flower petals have fallen. The name Goldthread refers to the fine bright golden-yellow roots. Goldthread has been used extensively by the Chinese as well as in America as both an herbal and as a dye. It was chewed by Native Americans for canker sores, hence its folk name canker-root.

Shore Acres is the site of many IHT mushroom walks, but even that does not begin to address the variety of fungi, the bulk of which are invisible. Where trees have begun their dying process the mycelia of fungi, thread-like, are quick to take advantage.

Nowhere is the ecological interface between land and sea more obvious than here at Shore Acres. Spartina patens, saltmeadow cordgrass, marks the high tide line. The roots of the various salt-tolerant grasses and other plants serve as mechanisms that gather the fine particles of silt and clay into a spongy layer that is quite visible along this shore. Although the small and vulnerable fringe of marsh plants here would barely qualify as a salt marsh, what plant life there is around the shores of Deer Isle serves in its own way as the invaluable nursery for marine organisms on which our local economy depends.

From the shoreline, seals, migrating shorebirds, and the large rafts of wintering ducks can be viewed. The shallow, protected waters of Greenlaw Cove have rich beds of mussels. abundant clams in the tide flats which both provide abundant food for several species of birds.

Check Out the FULL Virtual Guided Walk through Shore Acres Preserve


In 2000, the first parcel of Shore Acres was donated by Judy Hill to IHT. This parcel represents the southern third of the Hill family’s saltwater farm which Judy’s parents bought in 1943. Judy, a trustee of IHT, had been interested for years in providing land and low-income housing for local working people for which there was (and continues to be) a great need.

In 2002, a roughly 50-acre undeveloped property abutting Shore Acres on the southwest came up for sale. IHT was greatly relieved when Mary Offutt and Brian Clough (long-time IHT supporters) purchased the undeveloped property. In 2017, they donated a large portion of the undeveloped lot to IHT to enlarge Shore Acres. This parcel increased the protected shoreline by 1542 feet and nearly doubled the original size of the Preserve.


There is evidence of Wabanaki settlements along the south-facing shore of Shore Acres Preserve. In the more recent past, this area was used for subsistence farming and logging.

The second parcel that IHT acquired was not cut in the 1950’s and is on high ground with better soils. As a result, there is a remarkable stand of very large red oaks, as well as a stand of more mature spruce-fir forest. Associated with the Benjamin Cole Jr. homestead and barn foundations, there remains a large meadow extending from the homestead down to the waters of inner Greenlaw Cove. There is also a remarkable vernal pool located near the red oak stand. Old stone walls and large piles of rocks in this added parcel are clear indications of farming during an earlier era.