SUNKHAZE MEADOWS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is located in the Town of Milford, Penobscot County, Maine, approximately fourteen miles north of Bangor. The refuge was established in 1988 to ensure the ecological integrity of the Sunkhaze Meadows peat bog 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.
The refuge protects the second-largest and most unique peatland in Maine. It contains several raised bogs or domes, separated from each other by extensive areas of streamside meadows. Sunkhaze Stream bisects the refuge along a northeast to southwest orientation and, with its six tributaries, creates a diversity of wetland communities. The bog and stream wetlands, along with the adjacent uplands and associated transition zones, provide important habitat for many wildlife species. The wetland complex consists primarily of wet meadows, shrub thickets, cedar swamps, extensive red and silver maple floodplain forests and open freshwater stream habitats, along with those plant communities associated with peatlands such as shrub heaths and cedar and spruce bogs.
Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge provides habitat for three plants, seven birds, two mollusks and three invertebrates listed as Endangered or Threatened by the State of Maine.
The Sunkhaze Meadows bog protects habitat used by many species of migratory birds, as well as rare species such as the Tomah Mayfly and the Showy Lady's Slipper.
The Sunkhaze Meadows bog was saved from being mined for peat in the 1980s by an interested coalition of local residents from Orono, Old Town, and Milford, Maine. The area has a fascinating history as told in "Tales of Sunkhaze," available from the Friends of Sunkhaze Meadows NWR.