The Philbrook Islands are a chain of seven islands located in the Androscoggin River in Gilead. The islands were acquired in 1993, a gift of Roy and Mary Newton of Gorham, New Hampshire. Flooding of the Androscoggin changes the configuration of the low-lying islands from year to year. They range in size from 9.4 acres to 0.4 acres. The total area of the islands is about 21 acres.
The southeast portion, 9.3 acres, of Goodnow Island was a gift from Pat Dooen of Bethel in March of 2006. The remaining 16.8 acres are privately owned. Goodnow Island is low lying and subject to flooding with vegetation consisting mainly of dense shrubs and grasses. The perimeter of the island supports silver maple, a hardy species that thrives along the river. The interior is primarily grass and shrubs with some fully grown white pines.
Kendall Island was a gift from Becky Kendall of Bethel in 1991. The 38-acre island was historically used to grow crops and hay and was farmed as late as the end of World War II. In the late 1950s or early 1960s, 16 acres of eastern white pine were planted under the Soil Bank Program.
In 1997 Becky Kendall gave the Land Trust an additional 4.5 acres on the mainland just south of Kendall Island. This preserve, known as the Hay Crossing, is the site of the ford formerly used to transport hay and produce from Kendall Island to the mainland. The channel between the south shore of the island and the Hay Crossing is narrow and shallow, permitting easy access for horse-drawn wagons and machinery.
Willis Island was a 1999 gift of Helen Dolloff of Hanover. The 12 acre island is the western-most of a group of islands in Hanover known as the Willis Islands. It is separated from the other Willis Islands by a narrow channel. While this island has a rich agricultural history, today it contains a dense growth of shrubs and brambles, excellent for wildlife but inhospitable to humans.