Devil's Head has a long history of being utilized and improved for human enjoyment. After the initial push to acquire the parklands at Devil's Head, create a main trail and access road, and build facilities there was completed in 2004, developed at the park slowed. It resumed in 2015 when Charles "Brand" Livingstone, who was among the original instigators in the formation of the park, formed the Friends of Devil's Head. This page provides a chronicle of the efforts of the community at Devil's Park.
Pulling it Together: The first organizational meeting
Combing the Heights: Public Cleanup
Shoreline Bluffs: A new adventure opens
Since being donated to the city in 2004, Devil's Head received a steady stream of dedicated visitors that appreciated its unique location and the vista offered at the summit of the Head. Over time, the trail and access road got overgrown, the ditches became blocked by debris, the toilets fell into disrepair, and the steps to the beach crumbled. The city was unable to keep up with the repairs needed at the park due to the constant growth process of the forest and the natural decay of structural objects.
In October, 2015, Charles "Brand" Livingstone contacted local journalist Lura Jackson to make a public appeal to help rehabilitate Devil's Head and restore its accessibility to the public. Jackson wrote an article for the Quoddy Tides (viewable here) and a plan to mobilize community interest began to form. From that point, the Friends of Devil's Head began in spirit.
Quick supporters joined the cause by beginning to clear trash and excess brush at Devil's Head as soon as word began to spread.
Culverts and Continued Efforts
Charles "Brand" Livingstone inspects the condition of the steps to the shore in 2015. This photo accompanied an article published about Devil's Head in the Quoddy Tides. Photo by Lura Jackson.
After a fall and spring of planning and working wherever possible, it was decided that an organizational meeting should be held to prepare for a major public clean up in the late spring. A date was set for mid-April, 2016.
The organizational meeting attracted approximately twenty local supporters, many of whom represented additional volunteers. A slide presentation was shown to demonstrate to the group the various areas that were going to be targeted in the public cleanup along with problem spots that would be addressed in the future.
The plan was laid out in multiple phases. Phase one consisted of cleaning up debris, fixing the toilets, and adding new signs to the access road.
A slide from the presentation at the first organizational meeting. All three toilets were in desperate need of repair.
During the weekend of April 23-24, 2016, volunteers mobilized as a group to clear as far down the access road as possible. Various tools were brought by volunteers to accomplish the task. The goal was to clear the branches back three feet from the sides of the road, to clear fallen and dead trees, to collect and remove human debris, and to remove blockages in streams and ditches.
Approximately half of the access road was cleared in the first weekend, and copious truck trips were spent moving the branches and debris off-site. Subsequent work weekends continued throughout the summer of 2016.
Click the image to see slides:
In the late spring of 2016, the Friends of Devil's Head met with Joseph Cassidy, president of Washington County Community College. President Cassidy agreed to offer the assistance of the students and equipment in the Heavy Equipment Operations program (lead by instructor Artie Mahar) to grade the access road at Devil's Head. Cassidy advised the group that additional assistance with ditch work could be available in the future if more clearing was accomplished.
Throughout the summer of 2016, volunteers continued to work at Devil's Head, gradually clearing the branches from the sides of the entire access road. Others worked to enhance the functionality and appearance of the three public restrooms at Devil's Head by painting their interiors and exteriors and patching their holes.
Work began on the main trail itself to clear side branches and ensure that the path was clearly marked for visitors. Efforts to continue clearing the sides of the road to enable better drainage over the winter and spring seasons continued through the summer.
In September of 2016, a new trail was pronounced open to the public at Devil's Head. Planned and built by the Ross brothers, the trail winds parallel to the St. Croix River. Rather than being an ascent to the summit, the new trail offered more level terrain and steps where necessary to enhance mobility for visitors of all ages.
Click the image to see slides:
Stairway to the Shore
After the new trail was opened, efforts continued to improve the site. The city sent a crew with a new culvert and installed it at a critical location, ensuring that the roads would drain better and be less vulnerable to wash out.
Volunteers continued to refine the existing trails and to clear the area immediately overlooking the shore to enhance its desirability as a picnicking spot.
Brian Duffy, technology and woodworking instructor at Calais High School, agreed to fashion signs for the access road. The signs, which will direct traffic around the one-way, advise of trail locations, and advise of recommended speed limit, will be installed soon.
The toilets were repaired and painted to be much more inviting.
New culverts were installed by the city.
The winter of 2016-17 was spent planning and preparing for the coming year. Multiple plans were reviewed from different contractors as possibilities for creating a new stairway to the shore. One contractor proposed a structure of wood, another designed a structure of stone, and another suggested one of metal. Each design was carefully weighed out for its pros and cons and the group debated on what method would be best.
Finally, it was suggested that the city make a donation of its existing granite curbing to constitute steps. The granite is unfinished and its rough surface lends to the natural aesthetics of the area. Two volunteers with experience working with stone and manual tools offered to install the steps, a process that was completed in August of 2017.
Click on image below to see slideshow.