Bureau of Land Management National Park Service U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service U.S. Forest Service

York River, Maine

York River

Study Agency:

National Park Service

Study Segments:

December 19, 2014 (Public Law 113-291). From the headwaters of the York River at York Pond to the mouth of the river at York Harbor and any associated tributaries.


11.3 miles plus tributaries.

York River


York River Study (National Park Service)

York River Study Web Site

Photo Credit: Top - Joyce Kennedy Raymes; Bottom - Karen Young

York River

The York River watershed is located in southern Maine within the towns of Kittery, Eliot, South Berwick and York. The majority (72%) of the watershed area is located within the town of York. The watershed covers 32 square miles and includes the York River mainstem and numerous wetlands, ponds and tributaries, as well as drinking water reservoirs and an extensive salt marsh estuary. There are a total of 109 miles of streams and rivers. The major York River tributaries are Cider Hill Creek, Cutts Ridge Brook, Rogers Brook and Smelt Brook. This area is primarily comprised of large, unfragmented forested areas and agricultural lands, along with rural areas and some suburban residential development. The many important habitat areas support rare and endangered plant and animal species.

The National Park Service's findings conclude that 30.8 miles of York River and its major tributaries are eligible and suitable for wild and scenic river designation. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act provides for three possible classifications of eligible river segments—wild, scenic, or recreational. The NPS has assigned a preliminary classification of recreational to the York River and its major tributaries that are eligible for designation. There is substantial local, state, and partner support; nearly all comments received during the public review period in spring 2020 expressed support for designation. These findings were documented in the final Study Report which was transmitted to Congress in 2021 for its consideration. For the York River and its major tributaries to become components of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, the U.S. Congress would have to enact legislation designating the rivers.