DEER ISLE, Maine — A small coastal Maine island immortalized for generations of fans of children’s book author and illustrator Robert McCloskey has been donated to The Nature Conservancy, ensuring that it will remain forever protected from development.

Outer Scott Island, 6.2 acres in size and shaped like an “L,” is located off the southwestern shore of Little Deer Isle in Hancock County. It is the setting for McCloskey’s 1953 classic “ One Morning in Maine.”

The Maine chapter of the conservation group posted a statement about the donation on its website earlier this week.

“We’re honored that the McCloskey family has entrusted this special place to our care for so long,” Nancy Sferra, director of stewardship and ecological management for The Nature Conservancy in Maine, said. “And with this wonderful gift, they’ve ensured the permanent protection of an island gem.”

McCloskey and his wife Margaret donated a conservation easement on the island to The Nature Conservancy in 1974. Since then, the organization has been monitoring the island to make sure its natural character and ecological value has been preserved, according to conservancy officials.

Robert McCloskey died in 2003 at the age of 88.

“My father was a part of this place,” daughter Sarah McCloskey said in the statement. “He wanted to make sure that future generations have a chance to enjoy it like our family did.”

In addition to “One Morning in Maine,” McCloskey wrote and illustrated the classic books “Make Way for Ducklings” and “Blueberries for Sal,” the latter of which also is set in Maine.

Outer Scott Island will be added to The Nature Conservancy’s system of more than 70 preserves in Maine and will continue to be managed according to the restrictions outlined in the conservation easement, conservancy officials said. There are no services or hiking trails on the island, which is accessible only by boat, but daytime visitors are welcome, they added.

Timothy Paul, spokesman for the Maine chapter of the conservation group, declined Friday to provide additional comment, saying that the McCloskey family had requested limited publicity about the donation.

Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....