Herb Hancock, retired lobster pound keeper, enjoys the waterfront views at Tidal Falls Preserve. The Frenchman Bay Conservancy recently undertook a renovation of the property, which will reopen to the public at a celebration July 8. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY CAMERON CHERTAVIAN

Tidal Falls Preserve to reopen

HANCOCK — The Frenchman Bay Conservancy on Monday, July 8, will host a grand reopening of its Tidal Falls Preserve, one of only eight such tidal rapids in Maine.

The property has undergone a $2.25-million improvement project.

A year ago, the nonprofit organization launched the project by removing old buildings and restoring historic granite cribbing to create an unfettered view of the natural phenomenon, where the moving water reverses course against the prevailing current as the tide changes.

Tidal Falls is among the Conservancy’s 65 holdings ranging from the 600-acre Corea Heath, which features rare plants and wading and migrating birds, to Tucker Mountain, where hiking trails wind up and down and cross ridges and ledges.

“We wanted people to see and enjoy the Falls [Tidal Falls] fully without having that bar to the landscape,” said Aaron Dority, the Conservancy’s executive director.

A new pavilion provides both outdoor and indoor viewing areas with an elevated view of the reversing falls. The new Exploration Center features a digital-touch screen preserve map and natural science-themed worksheets for curious kids. A short walking trail, following an old rail corridor, was designed through the nearby interior woods.

Founded in 1987, Frenchman Bay Conservancy is a nonprofit land trust that controls more than 8,000 acres eastward of the Union River and Frenchman Bay watersheds. The group aims to preserve the distinctive ecosystems and waterways that exist in Hancock County and make them available for public recreational use.

On July 8, the Tidal Falls reopening festivities begin at 4 p.m. and will feature a performance by The Crown Vics, Maine’s premier rockabilly dance band. The event, which is free, also will include food vendors Wing Dingah’s, We’re on a Roll and Stone Fox Farm Creamery as well as family-friendly games and activities.

The Conservancy encourages visitors to bring lawn chairs or blankets for the concert and kindly asks that visitors leave pets at home, with the exception of certified service animals. A free shuttle will be provided to take visitors to the preserve from parking areas along Tidal Falls Road.

This event marks the return of Monday Music to the Tidal Falls Preserve. At 6 p.m. through Aug. 19, the Falls will host a free concert with bands including Michael and the Ya Yas, The Trisha Mason Band, and Shirt Tail Kin. Tidal Falls also will offer weekly tai chi classes and various art workshops.

The Tidal Falls Preserve is located at 72 Tidal Falls Road in Hancock. For more info, call 422-2328, email [email protected] and visit frenchmanbay.org.

Cameron Chertavian

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