HEAD OF TIDE PARK in Topsham showcases a 15-foot waterfall. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

HEAD OF TIDE PARK in Topsham showcases a 15-foot waterfall. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

A grand opening of The Head of Tide Park in Topsham is set for Saturday.

The 12-acre waterfront park on the Cathance River showcases a 15-foot waterfall at the highest tidal reach of the river, hand carry boat access on both sides of the falls, picnic areas, interpretive signs, and a trail head connecting to more than seven miles of trails.

“Head of Tide Park is a prime example of what can happen when a community shares a common goal,” Topsham Parks and Recreation Director Pam LeDuc said.“We brought together a collaboration of groups and individuals and each shared in creating the wonderful community asset that is Head of Tide Park.”

“Head of Tide Park is the result of a highly effective public-private partnership that fulfilled community goals articulated in Topsham’s Comprehensive and Natural Areas plans,” Brunswick Topsham Land Trust Executive Director Angela Twitchell said. “Working together allowed both entities to accomplish so much more than was possible working alone.”

A community history forum will take place 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Topsham Town Office, featuring local historians detailing the past of the park site and inviting the community to share their own stories.

Activities Saturday at the park at 235 Cathance Road include:


 2-2:45 p.m.: history tour;

 2:30-3:30 p.m.: fly fishing demonstration;

 3-3:45 p.m.: ecology conversation;

 4 p.m.: ribbon cutting.

Attendees are encouraged to hike, bike, or paddle to the park. Attendees can meet at the Cathance River Education Alliance Ecology Center at 1 p.m. to hike to the Park, or at the Topsham Public Library at 1:30 p.m. to bike. Sshuttles will be running every half hour from 1:30-5 p.m., between Topsham Public Library and Head of Tide Park.

Topsham’s first waterfront park on the Cathance River was formed after 12 years of planning, acquiring multiple parcels of land and building the park. Spanning 12 acres of land on both banks of the Cathance River, Head of Tide Park is situated above and below the 15- foot waterfall that is the highest tidal reach of the river.


The park came together through a complicated series of land transactions that began with Elizabeth Kelso’s 2006 bequest leaving a one-third interest in her property to the Cathance River Education Alliance. The Alliance used the inheritance as a springboard for conserving the entire property. The Brunswick Topsham Land Trust acted as fiscal agent.

Topsham selectmen and staff were also crucial in moving the project forward.

Topsham Development, Inc. used its Enterprise Fund to purchase the Kelso property in 2009, as well as the Direnzo property in 2014, then holding the lands as interim owner until the Land Trust and Town raised the funds to purchase them.

In 2010, the land trust purchased the abutting 1.5-acre Cutler property and donated it to the Town. In January 2018, conservation of the 7- acre Direnzo property across the street completed the park. As of March of 2018, the entire 12-acre Park is owned by the Town of Topsham, with a conservation easement held by the trust.

Visit btlt.org for more information.

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