Devil’s Head In Need of Funds for Rehabilitation Projects

Photo: The replacement of the stairway to the shore at Devil's Head is first on the list of projects that volunteers are hoping to accomplish this year. Funds are needed to install a replacement to ensure safe access to the beach. 

By Lura Jackson

A few miles down the St. Croix River from Calais, a 340-foot tall granite bluff rises upward from alongside the river. Surrounding the bluff are 318 acres of conserved parklands that provide a habitat for a large variety of native species, including birds and an assortment of woodland creatures. The parklands were purchased and donated to the City of Calais as part of a cooperative effort coordinated by local organizations in 2004. Now, under the guidance of Brand Livngstone, who was an integral part of the original movement, a group of volunteers has reorganized to further develop and rehabilitate Devil’s Head. So far, the Friends of Devil’s Head have created a new trail, cleared debris and brush from the access road and main trail, and renovated each of the public toilets in the park. The group has set its sights on larger projects, but funds are needed to accomplish the tasks.

The most pressing project that the Friends of Devil’s Head are aiming to complete is the installation of a new access stairway from the lower parking lot to the beach. The beach is one of the most striking features of the park and many feel that a visit to Devil’s Head is not complete without a visit to the shore. At present, there is a series of granite steps leading to the shore; however, these steps are uneven and no handrail is present to assist in the safety of walkers. Some visitors have slipped on the steps, gaining minor injuries, and it is apparent that the steps need to be replaced before a more serious injury occurs. 

The Friends of Devil’s Head have reviewed four different proposals from area contractors that would meet the goal of enabling safe access to the beach. One proposal is made entirely from wood, two are made from stone, and one is made from metal. While the Friends have not yet decided which proposal will be implemented, it is clear that some funds will be needed to meet the task. The costs of the projects range from approximately $3,000 to $18,000.

The Friends would like to accomplish the installation of the staircase for this coming summer season. Since there is usually a time factor involved in the process of preparing and receiving grants, the Friends are seeking donations from local benefactors to meet the goal in time for visitors to enjoy safe access to the beach this year. 

“This is for everybody,” said volunteer Carl Ross, explaining the importance of continuing to contribute to Devil’s Head to make it accessible to all members of the community. “Devil’s Head is for everybody.”

Aside from the staircase to the beach, the Friends anticipate needing additional funds to purchase gravel to maintain the access road and provide turnouts for cars to pull over. In the future, the group is planning to create an observation platform on the very peak of the head to enable visitors to enjoy an unparalleled vista of the St. Croix River.

To make a tax-deductible contribution to the Friends of Devil’s Head, mail checks to: Friends of Devil’s Head, 9 Hill Street, Apt 1, Calais, Maine 04619, or contact Heather or Carl Ross at 454-7194.