Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jamies Pond


Also know as Jimmy Pond or Jimmies Pond, Jamies Pond Wildlife Management Area offers hikers a mini-wilderness experience just minutes from Downtown Hallowell. The nearly 800-acre preserve encompasses Jamies Pond, a 107-acre pond almost free of development thanks to the pond’s role as Hallowell’s water supply from the 1920s through the 1980s. The City of Hallowell, Land for Maine’s future and an anonymous donor funded the purchase of the pond and surrounding land from the Hallowell Water District with in 1991, and since then the Kennebec Land Trust has assisted in the addition of three parcels. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife holds title to the land and manages it for wildlife. The surrounding woods are made up of tall white pines, American beech, red oak and other mixed hardwoods with hemlock mixed in. The forest floor is largely open and littered with mossy granite boulders. In the spring and early summer expect to hear warblers singing from the canopy above and, if you’re lucky, you may hear the haunting call of a loon out on the water. In the winter, the trails are open to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Getting There
From Water Street in Hallowell, take Central Street west, up the hill about 1.8 miles. Arc left onto Shady Lane and go about 0.4 miles to the intersection with the Outlet Road. Turn right and go about 1 mile to Jamies Pond Road. Turn right. You will reach the winter parking area (the road is gated here off season) in about 0.3 miles. Continue another 0.5 miles to the pond parking area and boat launch.

The Trails

Jamies Pond Wildlife Management Area has a trail network made up of eight distinct trail segments that can be combined into a variety of loops, providing an endless array of hiking options and opportunities. The trails are all well-marked with blue tree blazes and maps at all of the major intersections; pocket maps are available at the kiosk. The trails are all narrow dirt tracks (in places they follow wider old logging roads) with roots and rocks jutting up throughout and numerous crossings over small rivulets.

Most of the trails begin to the right of the parking area (as you’re facing the pond), near a small “Trails” sign. A short distance into the woods a large kiosk displays a map of the area and the trails and other information related to wildlife. Just beyond the kiosk the trail crosses a small inlet stream on a wooden bridge.

Lower Pond Trail
Distance: 0.3 miles (one-way)
Difficulty: moderate

The Lower Pond Trail skirts the northwest bank of the pond. Although the trail is removed from the pond by about 100 feet or so, you can still view the water through the gaps in the widely-spaced trees. The trail is fairly level, without a lot of ups and downs, and crosses a number of small inlets, usually over well-made stone crossings. The Lower Pond Trail ends at a junction with the Pine Point Trail and a connector trail that leads to the Middle and Upper Pond Trails.

Pine Point Trail
Distance: 0.2 miles (one-way)
Difficulty: Moderate
Pine Point Trail leads to one of the prime destinations at the Jamies Pond Wildlife Management Area--Pine Point, a large, smooth slab of granite that juts out into the water at the tip of a small peninsula. Pine Point Trail begins where Lower Pond Trail ends, continuing to skirt the northwest bank of the pond. The trail forks at the junction with Hemlock Trail. Take the left fork, angling downhill to the edge of the pond at Pine Point. The point, a large chunk of rock that juts out into the pond, is an ideal picnic spot.

Upper Pond Trail
Distance: 0.5 miles (one-way)
Difficulty: Moderate
The Upper Pond Trail starts at the right fork in the trail, just across the bridge. The trail passes an old granite dam on the right and continues uphill, away from the stream. At the first fork in the road, take the right branch (the left is the Middle Pond Trail). When the trail forks again near the top of the hill stay to the left (the right fork starts the Forest Trail). From here the trail traverses the heill, meets the Vernal Pool trail at another fork and then heads downhill to meet once again with the Middle Pond Trail and ends at the junction with the Lower Pond Trail and Pine Point Trail.

Middle Pond Trail
Distance: about 0.3 miles (one-way)
Difficulty: Moderate

The Middle Pond Trail is a short connector trail that connects with the Upper Pond Trail at both ends. It follows a similar path to the Lower Pond Trail, but slightly uphill from it.

Forest Trail
Distance: 1.5 miles (one-way)
Difficulty: Moderate-Difficult

The Forest Trail starts loops uphill from the Upper Pond Trail, passing through a number of forest types: dark pine plantation, young beech forest, dense early successional woods of young fir and hardwood trees, quiet hemlock grove. The Forest Trail is very wet and muddy through several sections, especially during early spring.

From the Upper Pond Trail the Forest Trail forks to the right near an old cellar hole, crosses Meadow Hill Road (resuming across the road and just to the right on an old tote road) and heads uphill. The trail forks to the right, leaving the tote road just shy of a wood fence and “No ATV” sign that marks the property boundary, and traverses the hill just below the summit through a young beech wood. The trail begins to angle downhill into hemlock groves and through very wet areas where the vegetation grows densely, nearly obscuring the trail in some segments. The trail follows the banks of the feeder stream for a short distance, crossing side streams several times on log bridges or stone steps before crossing over the main stream below a beaver dam on a new bridge recently constructed by an Eagle Scout. In this area the forest canopy is more open, letting in the sunlight. The trail begins to head uphill again. A short spur trail that forks off to the left leads uphill from the Forest Trail to the power line corridor. The main trail angles downhill, crosses Jamies Pond Road, follows along a stone wall on the left and heads down , coming out of the woods directly across the parking lot from the lake (just to the right of the brick HWD building).

Collins Road Access Trail
Distance: 0.5 miles (one-way)
Difficulty: Moderate
To reach the Collins Road Access Trail continue on the Outlet Road (which changes to Bog Farm Road and then Collins Road) about 1.8 miles beyond the turn to Jamies Pond Road. There will be a small parking area on your right with a “Jamies Pond Wildlife Management Area” sign. The Collins Road Access Trail is a narrow path through an area of tall hemlocks and ferns. It crosses several wet areas using stepping stones and ends at a fork that marks the junction with the Hemlock Trail and Vernal Pond Trail.

Hemlock Trail
Distance: 0.5 miles (one-way)
Difficulty: Moderate-Difficult

The Hemlock Trail starts at the juncture with the Collins Road Access Trail and the Vernal Pond Trail. From the Collins Road Access Trail, take the right fork, heading uphill slightly. For a short distance the trail follows a stone wall with a massive granite boulder in it and then heads downhill, crosses the Tote Road and ends at the point where the Lower Pond Trail and Pine Point Trail meet.

Vernal Pool Trail
Distance: 0.7 miles
Difficulty: Moderate-Difficult

The Vernal Pool Trail starts at the junction with the Collins Road Access Trail and the Hemlock Trail. Coming from Collins Road, take the left fork and follow the trail gradually uphill through a predominantly beech forest . The trail passes several large granite boulders and levels out at the top of a hill where it follows a stone wall for a short distance before angling to the right and downhill. The Vernal Pool Trail crosses the Tote Road and ends at the juncture with the Upper Pond Trail.

Tote Road
Distance: approximately 0.5 miles
Difficulty: moderate

The Tote Road provides access from the Manchester end of the WMA. To reach the trailhead, take Western Avenue (Route 202) from Augusta west to Manchester and turn south on the Pond Road. In about two miles, turn left on Meadow Hill Road and go 1.4 miles to a small grassy driveway on your right. There is a “Jamie’s Pond Wildlife Management Area” sign just beyond the parking area. The tote road heads downhill from here and crosses the Vernal Pool and Hemlock Trails. True to its name, the Tote Road Trail follows the path of an old road. It is somewhat overgrown with grass, ferns and other plants in some areas, is not well-marked with tree blazes like the other trails and at one point comes to an unmarked fork (take a left).

Kid-Friendly Factor

The tall trees and mossy boulders make Jamies Pond a magical place for kids to explore. The narrow, bumpy trails are definitely not do-able with a stroller, although you can push a stout jogging stroller along the closed section of the Jamies Pond Road, over a recently-constructed wooden bridge and uphill to the end of Meadow Hill Road (to reach this road from Manchester, follow the directions to the Tote Road Trail, and continue straight to the end of the Meadow Hill Road). Little ones can ride in a backpack or sling and those with stouter legs would enjoy some of the shorter loops. Try to make it all the way to Pine Point for a picnic and some water play. Older kids should be readily able to manage a longer loop and would enjoy fishing or canoeing in the pond. I have taken a group of kids over the Forest Trail, which was a challenge with the many wet areas, dense vegetation and length of the trail, but they all made it.

Getting Involved
Jamies Pond trails are maintained by Friends of Jamies Pond volunteers. To become a volunteer, contact the Hallowell Conservation Commission (207-623-4021) or the Manchester Conservation Commission (207-622-1894).


Julie Ann Moser said...


I've seen conflicted info online. Can you camp here?



Julie Ann Moser said...


I've read conflicting info online. Do you know if you can camp here?


Andrea said...

I don't think camping is allowed...not officially anyway.

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