Old Pond, Hancock
Two parcels located on a secluded cove in Youngs Bay, this 57-acre coastal preserve in Hancock features extensive marshes and adjacent uplands that host a broad diversity of flora and fauna.
Old Pond is good for:
- Hiking – Explore the wide hiking trail that winds a little more than a half mile to a picnic table and overlook of the preserve’s extensive marshland or check out the shorter, more rustic path that winds 0.2 mile along the side of Carrying Place Inlet.
- Birdwatching – Pack your binoculars and scan the rich forest and wetland habitats for resident and migratory birds.
How to get there
From the US Post Office in Hancock, follow Route 1 west 0.7 mile and then turn left onto Old Route 1 (immediately after crossing Carrying Place Inlet). Drive 0.1 mile to the preserve’s small parking area on the left.
For a complete map with legend and guidelines, click on the Printable Preserve Map above.
Old Pond Restoration
Historically, Old Pond Marsh was farmed for salt hay. Agricultural legacies left on the marsh cause unwanted pooling, which over time led to the loss of marsh vegetation. Alongside partners, MCHT is working to restore Old Pond Marsh to the way it once naturally functioned.
Notes on topography, flora, and fauna
Perhaps the most significant natural resource on the property is the 19 acres of high-value spartina saltmarsh, which is part of a larger, 54-acre system fringing Old Pond. Vegetative composition of the marsh is characteristic, with saltmarsh hay and black rush dominant over most of the marsh, and smooth cordgrass present where there is more tidal variation. The upper reaches of the marsh transition to vegetation indicative of brackish, then ultimately, freshwater conditions. This marsh is also the site of a restoration project funded by the Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program (MNRCP). MCHT is working to restore hydrological patterns after salt hay farming practices between the 18th and 19th century created contemporary problems. Reinstating proper hydrology will make this salt marsh more resilient to climate change.
A narrow band of forested wetland flanks the preserve’s small stream channel, and includes typical species such as red maple, winterberry, and speckled alder. The remainder of the preserve is forested upland, featuring a mix of red spruce, balsam fir, and pockets of northern white cedar and white pine.
The northern portion of the preserve is hardwood-dominated, with red oak, red maple, and big-toothed aspen. What appears to be an island in the southern part of the spartina saltmarsh is in fact a bedrock outcropping supporting white pine, bracken fern, huckleberry, and low-bush blueberry.
Wildlife features on the preserve include important tidal waterfowl and wading bird habitat throughout the salt marsh. Visitors to the preserve have observed a variety of wildlife species including white-tailed deer, bald eagles, harbor seals, otter, mink, black bear, moose, coyote, and numerous passerines and shorebirds.
How this place became open to the public
MCHT acquired the western portion of the Old Pond Preserve in 2017, thanks to a bargain sale from the previous landowner, as well as funding and support from the Maine Natural Resources Conservation Program and the Crabtree Neck Land Trust. Funding from the Federal North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA) supported acquisition of the preserve’s eastern parcel in 2016.
- Carry out all trash
- Including human and pet waste and toilet paper
- Please stay on established trails
- No Camping Permitted
- No Fires Permitted
- Keep Pets Under Control
- Please Respect the Privacy of Preserve Neighbors