Geography of Rockland, Maine

Rockland is a picturesque town located in Mid-coast of Maine in Knox County. Bordering the towns of Owl's head and Thomaston in the Southeast and Southwest, and Warren and Rockport in the north east and North West Rockland is one of the most important cities in the Knox County and also is the County seat. The coastline of the city faces the Penobscot Bay which forms a part of the Gulf of Maine in the Atlantic Ocean. The city also serves also as the departure point for many islands in the Penobscot bay such as Vinalhaven and North Haven which are located just ten miles off the Rockland Coast. These neighboring islands are also an integral part of Rockland and share their historic roots with the city.

Geographical overview

The city sprawls over a total area of 39.05 square kilometers, as reported by the United States Central Bureau. But the terrain changes even with this small area are so diverse that it would be hard for anyone to regard this amazing place as just a small city. From the rocky shores on the east to the expansive forest ranges to the south, the geographic features vary almost continuously making it one of the most interesting geographical regions in Maine. Of the total area, 5.68 square kilometers are occupied by water bodies such as the Megunticook lake and chickawaukie pond.

The Enticing Coastline

The most magnificent geographical feature of Rockland is its coast line. Widely regarded as the Gateway to the Penobscot bay, the place derives its name from the rocky shorelines that border the city. In fact even the city's discovery is owed to the distinctive coastal formation of the city. A team of explorers led by the English captain George Weymouth during their expedition aboard the Archangel first discovered the region in Maine in 1605 when exploring the Penobscot bay. The enchanting view of the mountains descending directly into the sea caught the eyes of the explorers and lured them land there first. Rockland is the only region where such a sight is possible in the entire east coast.

Rockland's Waterfront Penobscot bay

The Penobscot bay, that borders Rockland on the shoreline, is the deepest part of the Gulf of Maine. The natural cove barrier formed by the bay and the depth of the waters form the harbor of Rockland. This natural harbor is well protected from the harsh tides of the Atlantic, which made it ideal for shipbuilding to the early settlers of the region. Also the wealth of forests and the easily available lumber made it an economic hotspot for shipbuilding in the mid 1800's.

The calm shores and the naturally formed coves also made the region an ideal habitat for the survival of lobsters and various other exotic other sea creatures such as clams, sand sharks, rock bass, puffins and even harbor seals as well. This eventually led to the growth of the fishing industry which today forms an integral part in the region's economy. The teeming lobster population and the massive lobster fishing industry have also made Rockland the Lobster capital of the world in its own right.

The shelter from the Atlantic provided by the Penobscot bay, not only made the place a haven for exotic sea forms but also for sail ship cruising. The numerous hidden inlets, the protected coves on the coast, and the hundreds of uninhabited islands nearby made the bay an ideal spot for recreation sailing. This intense geographic variation along the shoreline made the place an instant explorer's haven.

The Catawanteak

The protected Rockland harbor, in addition to, being the region's largest working harbor also serves as the only departure point to the hundreds of islands that dot the Penobscot bay, which include North Haven, Islesboro and Matinicus. And this naval advantage that the geography of the Rockland offers was well known even before the arrival of the settlers. That's why the Natives of place, the Abenaki Indians, aptly named the place 'Catawanteak' which literally translates into the great landing place.

The ever diverse terrain

But the rocky shorelines are just one part of the region's fascinating topographical features. The hilly terrain and the interesting rock formations set amidst the sea of forests that encircle the city is what that makes this city a geographic monument. The city has abundant resources of Marble, Granite and limestone spread throughout the coastal region. These interesting rock formations, in contrast to the otherwise densely forested area, are probably the result of continental drifts and volcanic eruption that occurred millions years ago. But nevertheless they are an integral part of the city's economy and led to the rapid growth of the city industry.

The city generated most of its income from the quarries during the early years of the city's formation.In fact the city had so much granite from its quarries, that it enabled the founders to build the 700,000 ton strong iconic Rockland breakwater pier that covers the Penobscot bay for just $750, 000. Another important geographical feature that contributed to the development of the city is Limestone. Rockland has one of the largest sources of Limestone in the region, which combined with the natural formed harbor, made this one of the largest exporters of Lime in the 1900's and still continues to do so.

Camden Hills

The hilly regions covering Rockland are also a subject of fascination. The Camden hill state parkthat covers an area of the 5700 acres around Rockland isthelargest in Maine and its neighboring states. It also contains some of the largest hills in the area such as the Mt. Battie and the great Mount Meginitcook which is the highest peak on the East Atlantic Seaboard. These densely forested regions and rocky terrains not only stand epitome to the geographic diversity but are also home to some of the most unique wildlife in Maine.

The explorer's paradise

Truly, Rockland's geographical features right from the hidden coves along Penobscot bay to the tallest peaks in the Camden hills form a region that's comparable to none. It's a place that no amount of words can describe a place that can only be explored and experienced.

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