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Cobscook Bay State Park

Photo Credit: Kyle Cronin

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The wildlife-rich waters of Cobscook Bay surround this 888-acre park on three sides, providing opportunities to watch birds and observe the ebb and flow of the region's impressive tides. Cobscook, the Maliseet-Passamaquoddy tribal word for "boiling tides," aptly describes this setting where the tidal range averages 24 feet and can reach 28 feet (compared to a 9-foot average tide along Maine's southernmost coast).

Cobscook Bay State Park is a great base for family camping and explorations in easternmost Maine. Many of the park's 106 campsites (both for tenting and RVs) border Whiting Bay, a sheltered inlet within the larger bay. The Park offers a boat launch for those with the experience to handle boating in challenging conditions (with rapids created by fast-moving tides).

Cobscook Bay is an unusual estuary with a narrow opening to the sea, a long and convoluted shoreline, and relatively few feeder streams and rivers. Nutrient-rich salt water flowing in from the Gulf of Maine stimulates plankton growth, which in turn feeds a vast array of invertebrates (such as shellfish and marine worms). Eagles, ospreys, seals, otters and even the occasional bear enjoy the Bay's abundant fish, including smelt, alewives, shad, sea-run brook trout, striped bass and the Atlantic salmon.

The Bay's productive food web nourishes more than 200 bird species (see www.mainebirdingtrail.com for more details). Attracted by Cobscook Bay's sheltered coves, mudflats, and eelgrass beds, thousands of shorebirds stop over each fall to rest and forage as they migrate south from northern breeding grounds. The Bay's inner coves support a quarter of Maine's wintering black ducks and the state's highest concentration of bald eagles. A free birding list for the Cobscook Bay region is available at the Park entrance.

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