Burnt Porcupine Island is one of the five Porcupine Islands located in Frenchman Bay of Hancock County immediately east of Bar Harbor and the much larger Mount Desert Island. The island archipelago includes Bar Island (on the far left) and is part of Gouldsboro, Maine, even though the islands are so close to Bar Harbor and so far away from the town center of Gouldsboro which is on the mainland next to Schoodic Peninsula. Burnt Porcupine Island is privately owned and has been in the same family for over one hundred years despite the fact that the National Park Service has expressed a desire to purchase it to protect it from future development. The island is approximately 40 acres in size (includes Rum Key) with an elevation of 108 feet (33 meters).
It’s easy to imagine where this island off the coast of Maine got its unusual name—just squint at it. Located near Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, Burnt Porcupine has nearby sister islands with equally intriguing names: Bald Porcupine, Long Porcupine, and Sheep Porcupine.
The group of Porcupine Islands includes Bald, Burnt, Long, Sheep, and the much smaller Rum Key. All, except Burnt Porcupine Island, are part of Acadia National Park. Because Bar Island is so close to these islands, some people often conceptually think of them as being part of the same group ing. When you view the islands on a map like the one here, Park land is often colored green. Burnt Porcupine Island is the one that has remained white, separate from the rest making it easy to spot. Like the other islands in the group, Burnt Porcupine has an identifiable shape that is common with glacial impacted islands. They have a gentle slope on one side and a steep slope on the other side (called a “drumlin”). This was caused by the movement of the glaciers over many thousands of years.
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