Monhegan is a small, rocky Island ten miles from the nearest mainland and scarcely a square mile in area. It is accessible only by boat and there are no cars or paved roads on the Island. Since long before the explorer John Smith visited it in 1614, it was known to Native Americans as a prime fishing area, and today its economy is still ruled by those who make their living from the sea, fishing and lobstering. The year-round population has seldom exceeded 65 in recent times.
For more than 100 years, Monhegan has been a summer haven for artists and other visitors who appreciate its isolation, the beauty of its wilderness areas, its quiet relaxed atmosphere, and its unhurried pace.
Monhegan Associates, founded in 1954 by summer resident Ted Edison to preserve and protect the wild lands of the island and its “simple, friendly way of life,” is responsible for the protection of the undeveloped parts of the island outside the village and harbor. About 12 miles of trails, often steep and strenuous, lead through wooded areas and over rocky ledges up to the highest ocean cliffs on the Maine coastline.
Residents and vistors alike work to see that the wildlands will remain wild and that the fragile ecology will not be endangered.