Close to downtown Eastport, the easternmost city in the United States, Shackford Head State Park encompasses 90 acres on Moose Island overlooking Cobscook Bay. This promontory at the entrance to Cobscook Bay encircles the west side of Broad Cove.
Several miles of trails cross the headland. A hiking trail from the parking area leads through woods to a rocky headland 173 feet above sea level, passing several pocket beaches and protected coves. From this outlook, visitors can see Campobello Island in New Brunswick, Canada, the town of Lubec, and the Eastport cargo pier on Estes Head, as well as aquaculture pens where Atlantic salmon are raised. Park trails afford great opportunities for wildlife watching as well - with warblers and hermit thrushes in the woodland areas, and bald eagles, common terns and spotted sandpipers along the shore. Ornithologists have documented 28 different bird species nesting on the headland.
History of the Area
Shackford Head is named for one of the town's earliest settlers, Capt. John Shackford - a Revolutionary War soldier who arrived with his family about 1783. Born and raised in Massachusetts, he spent most of his 87 years based in Eastport. Capt. Shackford owned the headland and used Broad Cove as his ship's anchorage. He died December 25, 1840 and is buried beside his wife in the nearby Hillside East Cemetery.
During the early 1900s, five ships that had served in the Civil War (the U.S.S. Franklin; U.S.S. Minnesota; U.S.S. Richmond, U.S.S. Voymon and U.S.S. Wabash) were burned for salvage (recovery of brass and iron) at Cony Beach on Shackford Head. A memorial plaque on site provides more details about this chapter in the headland's history.
In the 1970s, Shackford Head was the site of a proposed oil refinery that the Pittston Company sought to construct - a plan that met with strong opposition due to Cobscook Bay's navigational hazards and exceptional wildlife values. When the property came up for sale in 1988, the Eastport Land Trust sought assistance from the State's Land for Maine's Future (LMF) Program to keep the land wild for the public to enjoy. The LMF Program helped fund its acquisition in 1989 and the Maine Department of Conservation now owns and manages the land.
The interconnected trail system at Shackford Head State Park includes some easy walking trails and some more challenging, uneven terrain (particularly on the Ship Point and Schooner trails). Trails near the parking area provide some access for wheelchairs but the entire trail network is not accessible. Enjoy the fine overlooks but use care near high cliffs and bluffs. The best shore access is at Cony Beach (by the parking area) or from the Broad Cove Trail.
The Shackford Head Overlook (1.2-mile roundtrip) provides good views of Cobscook Bay and environs. If you enjoy challenging terrain, add on the Ship Point Trail (an additional half-mile loop) and return to the parking lot via the Schooner Trail for a total of roughly 2 miles.
Note: When eagles are nesting on park lands, certain trails may be temporarily closed to protect young eagle families from disturbance. Please respect signs posting trails as closed.
* Please stay on trails to protect the headland?s fragile vegetation. Be careful near cliffs and water (due to the great tidal range, water can move up the shore quickly). * Park rules strictly prohibit use of intoxicating beverages. * No hunting, camping or motorized vehicles are permitted. * Do not feed, touch or disturb wildlife. * Keep pets on leash (less than 4 feet) at all times. * Carry out all trash. * While swimming is allowed along other beaches at Shackford Head, it is not recommended at Cony Beach (just east of the parking area) as that was the demolition site of the Civil War ships.
Take Route 1 to Route 190 in Perry. Travel 7 miles, passing the Passamaquoddy Indian Reservation and a causeway (part of an unfinished project designed to be the world's largest tidal dam project, when built in the 1930s). Approaching the city of Eastport, the road bends to the left by a gas station. Take a hard right-hand turn onto Deep Cove Road, and travel 0.8 miles to the entrance of Shackford Head State Park (a gravel drive on your left just before the campus of the Maine State Marine Technology School (known locally as the "boat school"). The main trailhead is just off the circular gravel drive to the left of the large brown sign beyond the interpretive panels.