Eight miles east of Ellsworth, Route One crosses a river that divides Taunton and Frenchman bays. This is the site of Tidal Falls (or Sullivan Falls), the region’s most dramatic reversing falls. Here, the fast-moving Taunton River attracts osprey, blue herons, bald eagles and seals, as well as many human visitors drawn to the rush of tidal whitewater.
For 50 years, local residents and visitors have frequented this spot by the Falls, buying meals at the adjoining lobster pound and eating them on picnic tables overlooking the river. When the lobster pound was listed for sale, community members realized that a change in ownership might end this time-honored tradition. Seeking to ensure continued access to the Falls, the Frenchman Bay Conservancy–a regional land trust based in Hancock–sought help from the Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) program to acquire a 4-acre waterfront park adjoining the lobster pound. The LMF grant enabled the Conservancy to purchase the site and donate an easement on it to the Maine Department of Conservation. The easement prohibits further development and subdivision and ensures permanent public access.
The Tidal Falls park offers the only public shore access or boat launch available in the town of Hancock. The site accommodates hand-carried craft, giving canoeists and kayakers a convenient put-in near the standing waves, eddies, and rips of the reversing falls–an ideal setting for whitewater paddlers to hone their skills. Boaters can also use this site to explore the upper reaches and islands of Frenchman Bay, as well as the shallow waters and rich wildlife of Taunton Bay and Egypt Bay (including a mile of shorefront protected by another LMF grant).
The site has a takeout lobster pound still, open in July and August, with proceeds that benefit the Frenchman Bay Conservancy.
Downeast Maine – Hancock & Washington
Directions from nearest town
DeLorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer, Map 24, E-3. From Ellsworth, travel east on Route One approximately eight miles. The park is on the right just before the Taunton River bridge.