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Five Places to Hike

If you're looking for some interesting hiking trails, you've come to the right place. Here are five locations you might want to try:

1. The Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge is comprised of two units. One, at Baring just three miles north of Calais, has 16,080 acres. The other, at Edmunds between Whiting and Dennysville, is 6,665 acres in size. The Refuge offers its visitors more than 50 miles of roads and trails which are closed to vehicle traffic but open to hiking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. The Refuge is a breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife including the bald eagle, osprey, Canada geese, and ducks. The American woodcock is studied and managed here.

The Refuge is a highly glaciated expanse of rolling hills, large ledge outcrops, streams, bogs, lakes and marshes. It has a diverse forest of aspen, maple, birch, spruce and fir with scattered stands of majestic white pine. The Edmunds unit, located on the fringes of Cobscook and Whiting bays, has several miles of rocky shoreline where 24-foot tides are a daily occurrence. You can get more information by going to the Refuge headquarters Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. It's located on the Charlotte Road.

2. A brand new 95-acre park has been established at Shackford Head in Eastport. The parking area and start of the trail is next door to the Marine Trades Center. Here you have a hilly peninsula jutting into Cobscook Bay with nearly three miles of craggy shoreline which is passable at low tide, particularly from the Broad Cove side. The main trail from the parking area to the "Viewpoint" is about a mile, and three-year-olds have made it look easy. From the Viewpoint you'll have a panorama from the "Old Friar" headland on Campobello at your left to Lubec with its church-steepled hilltop straight ahead and then a sweep of Cobscook Bay, North Lubec and a hint of Perry and Pembroke at your right.

Shackford Head was purchased by the State of Maine in November, 1989 after being proposed by the Eastport Land Trust for public acquisition through the Land for Maineís Future Board. It is managed by the Bureau of Parks and Recreation, if youíre curious. For budding ecologists, the Head is an experience. A total of 104 plant species has been found, none of which are rare or endangered. Twenty-eight bird species were found to be nesting on Shackford Head. Itís a natural laboratory and an important part of Maineís coastal ecosystem.

3. To get to West Quoddy Head State Park you take the South Lubec Road to the easternmost point of the United States. Here you will find the famous red-and-white striped lighthouse, picnicking facilities, outhouses and the start of a two-mile liking trail that follows the 90-foot high rocky cliffs to Carrying Place Cove. Grand Mananís 400-foot cliffs are right in front of you. Carrying Place Cove has some nice sandy beaches at low tide and on the northern end is a true Arctic bog with insectivorous plants. (See Wildflower section).

4. The Roosevelt-Campobello International park, reached by a bridge from Lubec to the Canadian island, has 2,800 acres of deep forest, bogs, cobblestone and sandy beaches, and walking trails that follow the edge of the ocean. One walking trail is complete with a boardwalk and informative signs that describe the plants youíll encounter. Take the dirt road opposite the entrance to the Visitorís Center and Roosevelt Cottage. There are cooking grills and picnic tables overlooking million-dollar views.

5. "Beautiful in all seasons and all weathers, the wild, windswept islands of the Great Wass archipelago are especially memorable on a still, foggy morning. At the top of the ridge of Great Wass Island the fog eddies over bare ledges through the twisted, dark forms of jack pines, touching their needles with crystal drops. Down on the shore, the mists ebb and flow, softening the pink of the granite ledges and turning the sea to a platinum blue"

I wish I had written that, but thatís the way a writer for the Maine Chapter of the Nature Conservancy described the 1,540 acres on Great Wass Island that the Conservancy purchased back in 1978. You can get there by crossing the bridge from Jonesport to Beals Island. Go through Beals and over a causeway. Take the dirt road thatís on the right to Black Duck Cove (about 1.5 miles) and youíll see the parking lot on the left.

Two trails begin together at the parking lot, then diverge 100 yards into the woods. The Mud Hole trail (1.5 miles) soon follows a lovely long fjord, leading eventually to spectacular views of neighboring islands. The Little Cape Point trail (2 miles) winds through deep moss-covered spruce and fir forests. Open ledges of pink granite offer views of bogs complete with a bog "bridge" allowing visitors to walk through a rich swamp without harming its insectivorous pitcher and sundew plants. You come out on another vista of the islands and weatherworn ledges. Washington County Maine - Washington County - A Look At Downeast Maine

A Little Washington County History - At Machias the first naval battle of the Revolutionary War was fought - a land and sea action which resulted in the British schooner "Margaretta" being captured by the American residents with the loss of only one man on the American side. The captain of the British craft died that night in the Burnham Tavern, a well-preserved example of a colonial inn now open to visitors. The oldest building east of Bangor, it's maintained by the local D.A.R.

Everyone Loves Blueberries - Washington County, responsible for more than 90 percent of the nation's blueberry crop, is the world's largest producer. The glacially formed "barrens", vast rolling plains of sandy soil, are perfect for raising wild, lowbush blueberries. Thus, the growing, harvesting and processing of the blueberry is a major industry in Washington County. Nearly a quarter million acres of barrens yield an average of 30 million pounds of blueberries annually, all of which are canned within the county.

Sport Hunting in Washington County - The face of this land is a succession of valleys with ridges between, stretching from the Narraguagus to the St. Croix and beyond. The rivers that drain the valleys are born of spring-fed lakes and ponds that lie embossed in the highlands to the north, hidden away in the forests of pine and spruce, of balsam fir and hemlock. These are the haunts of the whitetail deer, the black bear and the moose, and this is the land where they are sought by the hundreds of hunters who venture forth come fall.

Native American Indian History - Although the earliest European settlers found Indians of the great Algonquin stock throughout Maine, evidence unearthed and correlated in the last fifty years has firmly established the belief that these Algonquin tribes had been preceded by an earlier, different group of men who are called Pre-Algonquin or Red Paint People. Red Paint People have been so named because each of their ancient graves contains from less than two quarts to a bushel of brilliant ocher, usually red but occasionally yellow or brown. The burial with the bodies of ocher (a mineral from which paint may be made) and stone implements, which are unlike Indian implements, distinguishes these people.

Natural Wonders - TIDES: The greatest rise and fall of tides on the shores of the continental United States occur along the Washington County coast. The tall pilings at Jonesport, Lubec and Eastport attest to the gigantic fluctuations of the ocean's level where 18-foot variations are average. Actually, the greatest tides occur way up the St. Croix River at Calais where the average is 20 feet. At certain times of the year, however, the water level will vary 28 feet every six hours or close to one inch every minute!

Beaches And Tidal Pools - No visit to Washington County would be complete without the thrill of discovering the beauty of the beaches and rocky cliffs that form the boundary between the pounding sea and the land. This narrow band between the low and high water mark is a world of its own populated with plant and animal life peculiarly adapted to living part of each day submerged by the ocean water and the rest of the time exposed to the drying sun and wind. The scene is an ever changing one as each tide slowly rearranges the pattern of the rocks, the sand and the residue from the sea.

Campobello Island - Campobello Island, N.B. is nine miles long and about three miles wide. It has two fishing villages, Welshpool and Wilson's Beach, both of them home port to many colorful vessels which go out many miles to catch fish. After you go through customs and get a friendly nod you'll climb a hill. When you get to the top, stop and turn around so you can take in the view of Lubec, Maine across the "Narrows", where, according to the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, the strongest tidal currents on the east coast flow --around 12 knots or 15 miles an hour.

Ten Exciting Places To Enjoy Yourself Absolutely Free - There are several excellent facilities in Washington County which are open to the public at no charge. All that is asked is that visitors leave the areas clean and unspoiled. Depending on the location of the site, provisions have been made so that people of all ages may enjoy picnicking, tenting, boat launching ramps, fishing, hiking and swimming.

Moosehorn Wildlife Refuge - The Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, an area comprising 28,686 acres, was established in 1937 for the protection, study, perpetuation and management of certain species of wildlife, particularly waterfowl and other migratory birds, in the area. Moosehorn is the only one of more than 540 national wildlife refuges that is devoted to the study and management of the American woodcock.

Five Great Places To Hike - If you're looking for some interesting hiking trails, you've come to the right place. Here are five locations you might want to try some of these.

Washington County Wildflowers - From the time the first Mayflower blooms between the patches of melting snow on the sunny hillsides until late in the fall the great natural lands of Washington County are filled with hundreds of varieties of wild flowers and greens. Plants have structures and abilities which suit them for living in particular environments and therefore each distinct area of seashore, woods, fields and roadsides brings forth its own individual bouquet.

Points Of Interest - When the phrase Down East came into common usage is unknown but some historians feel the description goes into the early 1600's. It is rather a puzzling phrase but as you can see from examining a map, the coast of Maine does go east but, at the same time, it runs northward too, or up. However, what early explorers quickly found out was that the prevailing winds blew from the southwest, as they do today. Therefore, they most frequently sailed with, or down the wind, as they moved to the eastward. Thence, Down East.

The Glaciers Did It - A million or more years ago the world grew very cold. Great sheets of ice formed over the northern lands, retreated, grew again, drew back and for the third time advanced far south of what is now Maine. As recently as 15,000 years ago there were tongues of the huge glaciers extending into Washington County.

The Communities Of Washington County - St. Croix Island, set about midway between the United States and Canada in the beautiful St. Croix River, was the scene of the first white settlement in the New World north of St. Augustine, Fla. It was here, in 1604, that Samuel Champlain and his fellow French explorer, Sieur de Monts, led a band of about 100 soldiers and traders and spent the winter. It was from this island that Champlain explored the coast of New England as far south as Cape Cod.

Boat Launch Sites - Washington County has some pretty good boat launching ramps on lakes and the salt water. Here is a fairly complete list of the fresh water launching sites.

Salt Water Fishing - A salt water sports fisherman, to borrow author Kenneth Roberts' words; "has always with him the clean, salt tang of the sea, the roar of waves on the ledges, the fatalistic scrutiny of clownish seagulls and is never annoyed by mosquitoes, black flies, midges or horseflies." A description which should knock fresh water fishing into a cocked hat, but won't. Nevertheless, salt water fishing in the county can offer every member of the family some wonderful thrills whether you cast from a ledge or wharf or dangle a line from one of the charter boats that ply from Red Beach, Jonesport, Cutler or Eastport. The fish to be caught include flounder, sculpin, cod, pollock, smelt, mackerel, halibut, sea bass or "stripers" and tuna, although tuna are very rare. In fishing for flounders, we notice that the most successful fishermen use worms, either the garden or sand variety; this keeps the bait from being eaten by the sculpins.

State Parks - Washington County offers several nice public parks including the ones listed on this page.

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