About Matinicus Rock

Matinicus Lighthouse in 1848. This image is from the National Archives and is in the Public Domain

Matinicus Rock is a small island located 18 miles off the coast of Maine.  No one lives on the island.  There is a lighthouse that is powered by solar panels and runs automatically.

Long ago, before the lighthouse was automatic, a lighthouse keeper and his family lived on the island.  They were the only residents.  One winter’s day in 1856, the keeper left the island to get supplies and a storm blew in that kept him away for a whole month.  While the keeper’s wife was sick, their teenage daughter, Abbie Burgess tended the lights in the lighthouse for an entire month during a terrible storm.  This warned ships to keep away from the rocks, and saved many lives.  You can read her exciting story in the children’s book Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie, by Peter and Connie Roop.  You can find it on Amazon or in the local library.  The lighthouse keeper also had another important job. About 100 years ago, when the Audubon Society found that puffins had almost vanished from the island due to hunting, the Society hired the lighthouse keeper to help make sure hunters stayed away from the birds.  The Lighthouse keeper on Matinicus Rock became one of the first game wardens in the United States.

Matinicus Rock is also the southern-most colony of Atlantic Puffins and is now a bird sanctuary.  Mr. Tanenbaum will spend 10 days sleeping in tents on the island with scientists other voluteers to keep the newly restored puffin colony healthy.

Matinicus Rock is owned by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and is managed by the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge in managed in association with the National Audubon Society’s Project Puffin.

Try This:

Use the Google Earth link to measure the island.  How long is it? How wide is it?

Matinicus Rock is located at the following coordinates:

Latitude:   43°47’1.99″N

Longitude:   68°51’17.66″W

Just using those numbers, can you tell if the island is or south of where you are right now?  How do you know?

Can you tell if the island is east or west of you right now?  How do you know?

Post your answers to the comments area on the blog.


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