One mile southwest of Cousins Island in Casco Bay.
1967 (Nature Conservancy), 1992 (CCLT)
Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust
Basket Island is easily accessed by boat; often one sees daytime kayakers visiting the island and small cruising sailboats anchored for the night in the lee of the island. Low impact day visits are encouraged but overnight camping is not permitted. Be cautious of poison ivy inland. Please do not visit until July 1 due to nesting ospreys and eiders.
Basket Island is a nature preserve which affords light recreational day use, scenic enjoyment, education, and observation of island wildlife and habitat.
Description & History
Part of the town of Cumberland, this heavily wooded island has fairly deep soil, five small coves, three shale beaches and one sand beach. It has traditionally been enjoyed for picnics and swimming, reached easily by small boats. In 1958 Robert E. Peary Jr. deeded the island to Elisabeth Brown Dessau who gave it to the Nature Conservancy in 1967. In 1992, the Nature Conservancy gave the island to CCLT. Unoccupied now, evidence of prior habitation can be found, including: a foundation; remnants of an old stone pier; and a World War II directional signal concrete base.
Basket Island is covered in a mixed species, uneven-aged forest. The southern half of the island hosts some large red oaks. Other tree species include American beech, red maple, red spruce, balsam fir, trembling aspen, and paper birch. The understory and edges are made up of witch hazel, alternate-leaf dogwood, viburnum, bayberry, staghorn sumac, speckled alder, poison ivy, raspberry, milkwood, beach rose, and wildflowers including Solomon’s seal and goldenrod. Deer occasionally swim out to the island, and commonly seen birds include herring gull, cormorant, osprey, crow, bluejay, chickadee, sparrow, and finch.