Residential sprawl and second home development is spreading eastward, reaching even the more remote stretches of Downeast Maine. When Horan Head, a 235-acre peninsula along the wildlife-rich shores of Cobscook Bay, went on the market to settle an estate, The Nature Conservancy negotiated a bargain sale purchase (well below the appraised value) so that the State could hold this property in perpetuity as a wildlife preserve.
A 3-mile loop trail leads through mature spruce and cedar interspersed with scattered older growth pine and mature hardwood. These woods are frequented by numerous songbirds in season. Where the trail approaches South Bay and Federal Harbor, visitors can often spot seals and porpoises offshore.
Migrating and wintering waterfowl congregate in South Bay, just off the bold ledges of Horan Head, and 16 pairs of bald eagles breed in Cobscook Bay (one on an island just off Horan Head).
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife now manages Horan Head, which is accessible for daytime walking and hunting. Horan Head is featured in a regional guidebook, Cobscook Trails, that is available at area businesses or through the Downeast Coastal Conservancy.
Federal Harbor: Horan Head Phase II (Lyons parcel)
Federal Harbor is located right along Cobscook Bay in Lubec, Maine, one of the state’s eastern most points. This location makes it a significant coastal wildlife conservation area, both nationally and internationally; the harbor has a lot of biodiversity, rich in species and relatively undisturbed land. This area is located at the southern entrance of Federal Harbor channel. With a beautiful, undeveloped 5,500 feet of headland overlooking the harbor, there is ample space for wildlife, with native vegetation. The uplands on this harbor feature spruce fir forest and are also home to an established Bald Eagle nest.
Boats may be anchored either in the harbor (between Horan Head and Black Head) or closer to the entrance between both. It’s recommended that deeper draft sailboats be anchored in the latter spot. For boats looking for more space, the area between Black Head and Long Island provides a more secluded anchor point. Please use a long painter or anchor line when you dock that corresponds to the length of your stay. The current between Eastport and Federal Harbor is two to three knots; please choose your spot carefully.
Lubec, Washington County
Bird & other wildlife watching, hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and hunting
235 (Horan Head) and 93 (Horan Head Part II—Federal Harbor)
Directions from nearest town
DeLorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer Map 27, A-3. From Route 1 in Lubec, travel 5.6 miles east on Route 189, then left onto Crow’s Neck Road (unmarked). Take a right turn after .4 miles onto Lead Mine Road (unmarked) and in .2 miles, turn left onto Straight Bay Rd. (unmarked).
For Horan Head: Follow directions above and then approximately 3.2 miles after that turn, turn right onto a short, gravel road (where a sign, set back from the road, indicates the Horan Head site).
For Horan Head Phase II (Federal Harbor): Follow directions above, then in 1.6 miles, turn right onto Doherty Rd/ Doherty Ln. In 0.5 miles, turn left onto Doherty Rd. The destination is 0.6 miles down the road.