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Town of Ogunquit
State: ME
County: York


Ogunquit River Watershed

The Ogunquit River forms Ogunquit’s northern border with Wells. The river flows in from York near the power line right of way. It travels through an area of forest and gathers water from a small stream just before it passes several farms on North Village Road. The river passes under six roads including Route 1 and the Maine Turnpike as it flows by an increasing number of homes and businesses closer to the coast. As it approaches Main Street the Ogunquit River comes under the influence of the incoming tides and broadens into a wide estuary. The estuary is separated from the ocean by a barrier beach that extends south for one and a half miles. While the beach is mostly undeveloped except for a waste treatment facility, the mainland shore is extremely built up with a high density of homes, hotels, and parking lots. At the mouth of the river it passes under one final bridge on Beech Street, flows past a large parking lot at the end of the barrier beach and empties into the Gulf of Maine.

Josias River Watershed

The Josias River crosses the Ogunquit border with York between Agamenticus Road and Main Street. It winds past densely clustered houses and condominium complexes on its one mile run to the ocean. The river flows into a man made basin where numerous boats are moored, passes through Perkins Cove and out into the Gulf of Maine.

Southern York Coastal Drainages

Staples Pond, though less than one acre in size, has close to a dozen homes around its shores. The pond is drained by a small stream that flows a short distance to the Gulf of Maine.

To see the locations of these resources in Google Earth follow this link.

If you do not have Google Earth software you may download it by following this link.

Water District: Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Wells Water District
District Website: kkw.org
Water Source: Branch Brook
# Accts Serv: 11613
Other Towns: Arundel; Kennebunk; Kennebunkport; Wells
Sewer District: Ogunquit Sewer District
District Website: http://www.ogunquitsewerdistrict.com/
Receiving Waters: Atlantic Ocean
# Accts Serv: 1380 pop.
Other Towns: York
(Click the Title of the article to learn more.)
Great Works Regional Land Trust
Community Assistance Providers

Serving the communities of Berwick, Eliot, Ogunquit, and Wells.

Ogunquit Comprehensive Plan
Publications, Websites, and Tools
Updated Ogunquit Comprehensive Plan.

Ogunquit Conservation Commission
Community Assistance Providers
Active in water quality monitoring on both the Josias and Ogunquit Rivers in Maine.

Ogunquit River Watershed Management Plan
Outreach Publications
A guide for the protection and restoration of the Ogunquit River.

Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve
Community Assistance Providers
The Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve is dedicated to protecting and restoring coastal ecosystems of the Gulf of Maine through integrated research, education, stewardship, environmental learning, and community partnerships.

Population:1286 (U.S. Census Est. 2006)
Area:4.3 square miles


The seaside town of Ogunquit struggles to maintain its New England village character as it attempts to balance the growth of its tourism driven economy while at the same time preserving its historic 19th century character.

Once a coastal farming and fishing community, tourism now dominates the local economy which centers around the historic village and the beaches. The major employers in Ogunquit are the hotels, motels, and inns. Ogunquit is a regional employment center due to its density of summer jobs in the hospitality industry.

Some commercial fishing remains in Ogunquit based out of Perkins Cove. The primary local fishery is lobsters. Due to pollution the DMR has closed shellfish beds to harvesting in all locations in Ogunquit except for one conditionally approved area in the Ogunquit River estuary.

The growing year round population combined with the growth in seasonal visitors has created additional traffic that taxes the community’s street system and parking facilities during the summer. According to the 2000 census, Ogunquit’s population increased by 26% during the previous decade, growing from 974 to 1,226. Seasonal influx increases population by 10 times the amount of year round residents. The state planning office has projected a 23% increase in population by 2010. Ogunquit’s population density in 2000 was 299 people per square mile. The population density of York County is 188. Roughly two thirds of the 314 new housing units built between 1990 and 2000 were east of route one.

Open space continues to be lost as residential development continues, especially in the area between Route 1 and the Maine Turnpike. Because of Ogunquit’s small area, it contains little land outside the historic village and Route 1 commercial corridor. West of the Route 1, small blocks of forest can still be found but these areas will feel increasing pressure from development as land closer to the coast becomes scarce. As of 2004, there was only one significant farm and forestry operation in Ogunquit.

to learn more see The Ogunquit Comprehensive Plan


Ogunquit is a town in York County, incorporated on July 1, 1980 from a portion of the town of Wells, thus its early history is that of Wells. Ogunquit was a village corporation and functioned for the most part as a town of its own, supporting its own police, fire, highway and sewer departments.

Ogunquit, which meant "coastal lagoon" to native Abenaki Indians, was first a village within Wells, which was settled in 1641. The first sawmill here was established in 1686, and shipbuilding developed along the tidal Ogunquit River. Besides constructing schooners and brigs, local shipwrights built the famous "Ogunquit dory."

At what was then called Fish Cove, near the unnavigable Josias River, fishing was a major livelihood. But the cove was unprotected by a headland or breakwater from Atlantic storms, so fishermen had to protect their boats by hauling them ashore each night. Resolving to create a safe anchorage, they formed the Fish Cove Harbor Association, and dug a channel across land they purchased to connect Fish Cove with the Josias River. The resulting tidewater basin would be called Perkins Cove, across which spans a manually-operated draw footbridge, possibly one of the most photographed objects in Maine. The 3.5 mile beach and dunes was connected to the mainland in 1888 by bridge across the Ogunquit River. Ogunquit became a popular art colony and tourist area, particularly after 1898, when the Ogunquit Art Colony was established. It was not unusual to see artists and fishermen plying their respective trades around Perkins Cove. To accommodate summer crowds, several grand seaside hotels and inns were built. Ogunquit is also known for its historical trail known as Marginal Way, which stretches approximately one and one-half miles along the craggy coastline.

The Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farm, Wells, Maine Copyright 2006 All rights reserved. Collaboration with NOAA CSC, Charleston SC