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This Mainer has kayaked the state’s entire coast. Here are three of his favorite places you can visit.

And get this: they’re all free and open to the public

BRUNSWICK, Maine — The Maine Coast Heritage Trust has more than 150 preserves on the coast and islands of Maine, properties it has protected from development and commercial pressures as part of its mission to keep the coast “open, healthy, working, and beautiful.” With an eye toward all those properties, we made a request of MCHT chairman Tom Armstrong in the second part of our interview with him that was demanding, maybe even unfair: Pick three of your favorites.

Armstrong rose to the challenge and chose three that represent different experiences and different parts of the coast. Like all the other MCHT preserves, these are open to the public and free.

“What makes [the coast of Maine] so unique,” Armstrong says, “is the topography of the dramatic peninsulas, these rivers like the Kennebec, the Penobscot, the Sheepscot, the St. George and the Machias. They all flow into these beautiful bays.”

Having kayaked the coasts of Maine and Canada’s maritime provinces, Armstrong speaks with authority about what the state has to offer. “[Canada’s] Cape Breton Island is beautiful and spectacular and the Gaspe is [too]—but there aren’t the islands.” The islands, he says, are what set Maine apart and make it “a jewel.”

RELATED: The nonprofit that’s devoted to keeping the Maine coast 'open, healthy, working, and beautiful'

Want to hear Armstrong describe the three preserves he especially enjoys? Watch our interview to get a good sense of what they have to offer.

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