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Town of Kennebunkport
State: ME
County: York


Kennebunk River Watershed

Goff Mill Brook draws water from several marsh areas in Kennebunkport along its border with Arundel. The first is a forested wetland in the northern part of town near Proctor Road. The second is a wetland near the intersection of Goose Rocks Road and Moose Rocks Road. The third is a mix of emergent and forested wetland between Arundel Road and Mount Kineo Road. Goff Mill Brook eventually runs into Kennebunkport near the Cape Arundel Golf course, just before merging with the Kennebunk River.

The Kennebunk River flows along the border of Kennebunkport and Kennebunk. Development along this portion of the river is the continuous and includes dense residential areas, marinas, hotels, and the Cape Arundel Golf Course, which borders the river for about two thirds of a mile. The Kennebunk River meets the Atlantic Ocean on Goochs Beach.

Coastal Drainages: Biddeford Pool to the Kennebunk River

Little River crosses into Kennebunkport at the border with Biddeford, near Route 9. It flows for a mile past a few dozen houses before it transitions to tidal estuary and empties into the Atlantic Ocean by Timber Point. Beaver Pond is a 12 acre saltwater tidal marsh which flow into the estuary with the Little River.

Crow Swamp is an area of forested and emergent wetland near the intersection of Whitten Hill Road and Goose Rocks Road. There are a few homes and farms adjacent to the swamp. A small brook drains this area and flows southeast to join Smith Brook at Goose Rocks Beach.

Smith Brook drains a few scattered wetlands along Route 9. Several small streams come together from these areas and run south to join a tidal salt marsh behind Goose Rocks Beach. Smith Brook runs southwest along the barrier beach until it meets Batson River and forms a small delta that empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

Tyler Brook begins near the intersection of Beechwood Avenue and Old Cape Road. It runs for mile, through forest and freshwater marsh, until it begins to turn north and transition into brackish tidal marsh near Route 9. Here it crosses the road through a culvert and soon converges with Batson River.

Batson River originates in an area of forest north of Cole Benson Road. It flows south, crossing Cole Benson Road and Guinea Road. Still heading south, the river passes several farms and then flows through a culvert on Goose Rock Road. Crossing Arundel Road through another culvert, the river runs past a half mile of farm fields. At this point Batson River becomes brackish as tidal waters flow upstream from the Atlantic Ocean. Passing through the estuary, the river empties into 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; Ogunquit; Wells
Sewer District: Kennebunkport Sewer Department
District Website: http://www.kennebunkportme.gov/Public_Do...
Receiving Waters: Kennebunk River
# Accts Serv: 2500appx.
Other Towns: none
(Click the Title of the article to learn more.)
Kennebunkport Comprehensive Plan,
Publications, Websites, and Tools
Website with links to the Kennebunkport Comprehensive Plan and supplemental documents.

Kennebunkport Conservation Trust
Community Assistance Providers
Region: Kennebunkport

Seal:town seal, click to enlarge
Population:4021 (U.S. Census Est. 2006)
Area:36.0 square miles


Kennebunkport is a combination of rocky coastline, beaches, harbors, and a vibrant hinterland consisting of wetlands, marshes and forest. Economic activity centers around the beaches and the Kennebunk River. The economy of Kennebunkport is based primarily on a strong tourism industry which fluctuates seasonally. Tourism accounts for a large number of trade and service related jobs. In 2000, 72% of all jobs in town were in either dining or lodging. Traditional jobs are declining, in 1994 only 150 households reported activity in fishing due to declining fisheries. Many clam flats have been closed due to pollution but some remain open. The Kennebunk River is a popular boating and fishing spot but access is limited. Beach access is more readily available but parking is limited.

Kennebunkport soils are generally poor for residential development, farming and forestry. In 2004, there were 9 parcels registered in the Farm and Open Space program totaling 707 acres. Of this amount 157 acres were in active crop or open pasture land. The remaining acreage was in farm woodland. The Kennebunkport Conservation Trust holds many parcels in conservation including the 681 acre town forest.

Kennebunkport struggles with keeping the balance of allowing growth, while keeping the character of the town that makes it so popular. In 2002, the Town enacted a Growth Cap limiting the number of permits for new dwelling units to 48 per year, with a maximum of 24 units per year allowed for lots in subdivisions. The town has designated growth zones but limited space in these areas. This has led to pressure for development in rural areas.

Between 1990 and 2000 there was 10.8% increase in the total population of Kennebunkport, slightly below the 13.5% increase for York County as a whole. From projections based on census data, Kennebunkport can expect to add between about 600 and 1,000 new residents between 2000 and 2015. This represents an overall growth rate of between 17% and 27%.

to learn more see The Kennebunkport Comprehensive Plan


Though the exact date of the earliest settlement in the area now known as Kennebunkport is uncertain, historical evidence indicates that it cannot have been much later than that of the founding of the Plymouth Colony. It is known that for many years prior to the first permanent habitation, the islands along the Cape Porpoise shore were used for fish drying and as a summer headquarters by those who came to tap the rich resources of the coastal fishing banks. In 1653, the town was first incorporated as Cape "Porpus". Entirely depopulated by Indian depredations in 1689, the town was resettled early in the 1700's and renamed Arundel.

The building of saw mills and grist mills along the inland streams and the increase in farming after the second settlement caused a shift in the center of town activity from Cape Porpoise to Burbank Hill.

As the ship building industry on the Kennebunk River began to thrive at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the town center again shifted to its present location along the north shore of the river. The amazing growth of the maritime industry in the town was such that in a single year one hundred vessels were built in Kennebunk River yards. After 1861, with the increase in steel ship construction and the embargoes of the war years, there took place a permanent and rapid decline in shipbuilding.

Summer homes and resorts became popular in the 1870's along the scenic coastal areas of town. By the 1880's, its natural beauties and convenient beaches made Kennebunkport one of the more popular and prominent resorts of the Maine coast. These kinds of summer activities likewise grew in the area of Cape Porpoise, and the nearby beautiful beach at Goose Rocks (formerly known as Beachwood) which quickly made it a sought-after location for summer homes. This lovely summer colony, four miles from the center of Kennebunkport, was almost entirely devastated in the great forest fire of 1947; however, it rapidly recovered to become a more fully organized community with many year-round residents.

Excerpt from the Kennebunkport Historical Society’s “History of Kennebunkport, Maine”.

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