Shackford Head, with 2.5 miles of undeveloped shoreline marked by pebble beaches, natural arches, and sheltered coves, provides a wonderful vantage point from which to survey the Canadian islands of Campobello and Grand Manan as well as West Quoddy Head.
The state’s purchase of this headland in 1989 ensured that the land would never again be subject to major development schemes as it was in the 1970s, when the Pittston Company sought to construct an oil refinery on the site.
When the property was listed for sale early in 1988, the Eastport Land Trust proposed it to the Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) program for acquisition–hoping to forestall large-scale commercial or residential development on the site. The State was able to acquire the land for less than the appraised value, and the Maine Coastal Program contributed funds to help complete the purchase.
Now Shackford Head State Park, jointly managed by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands and the City of Eastport, is open year-round for daytime hiking and picnicking. Its 173-foot promontory offers panoramic views of Cobscook Bay, while side trails lead to secluded coves and spots where small caves and natural arches are cut into the granite cliffs.
Two sites on Shackford Head contain some of the oldest marine fossils in Maine, dating back about 412 million years. Interpretive signs describe a site, just offshore, where several Civil War warships were salvaged and burned.
A detailed trail map and write-up is available in the regional Cobscook Trails guidebook, available at area businesses and through the Downeast Coastal Conservancy.
Downeast Maine – Hancock & Washington
Directions from nearest town
DeLorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer Map 27, A-3. On Route 190 approaching Eastport, the road bends left around an Irving station. Signs signal an immediate, hard-right turn to Shackford Head and the Marine Technology Center. Travel 0.8 miles on Deep Cove Road until a sign points to a left hand turn into the circular parking lot (which accommodates 10-12 vehicles). Turn just before the Center’s boat yard/building complex and proceed behind the buildings to the parking area and trailhead.