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Cobscook Bay State Park

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Broad Cove in Cobscook Bay State Park at high tide

Cobscook Bay State Park is a state park in Washington County in the U.S. state of Maine. The 359-hectare park is located six kilometers south of Dennysville on a peninsula in Cobscook Bay.

Geography

Cobscook Bay is an unusual estuary with only narrow access to the open ocean, a long and winding shoreline, and relatively few tributaries. The tidal range in Cobscook Bay averages seven meters and can reach 8.5 meters, while elsewhere along the Maine coast it averages 2.7 meters. The area of the park was first explored geologically in 1885 by Nathaniel Shaler, who recognized that the landscape was formed by three natural forces: the powerful tides, volcanic rocks, and glaciation during the ice ages. The tuff breccias found in the park are geologically assigned to the Silurian and are thus up to 420 million years old. The surface was formed by the last ice ages about 12 to 18,000 years ago. Due to the high tides and low water circulation in the bay, silt is deposited; silt thicknesses of up to 28 metres have been measured in Whiting Bay.

Broad Cove at low tide

Flora and fauna

The food-rich waters flowing in from the Gulf of Maine are very rich in plankton, giving Cobscook Bay a rich marine fauna of mussels, crabs and shellfish, herring, sea trout, rock bass and Atlantic salmon. Bald and osprey, harbor seals, otters, and even the occasional bear use the bay for foraging. In all, over 200 species of birds occur in the park. Cobscook Bay is a resting place for thousands of migratory birds in the spring and fall, with peak migration occurring in late August to early September. Dark ducks and Maine’s largest population of bald eagles winter in the inner bays. Gnats and other mosquitoes are very common from late May through July.

History

The name Cobscook comes from the Native American language of the Maliseet-Passamaquoddy tribe and means “boiling tide” because of the high tidal range. The park area is part of the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, which was established in 1937. In 1964, the refuge’s management offered the State of Maine a free, perpetual transfer of a recreation area created on Whiting Bay. The Maine Legislature agreed and Cobscook Bay State Park was established.

Tourist facilities

There is a fee to visit the park. The park has a campground with 100 sites, restrooms, a picnic area and a boat dock. The park is open from May 15 to October 15. There are two short walking trails through the park that lead along the coast and to viewpoints

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Coordinates 44° 50′ 29.3″ N, 67° 9′ 0.9″ W