Tyler Pond Wildlife Management Area is a 128-acre parcel of land manged by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife on the border of Augusta and Manchester. Although the route to the pond, along a wide and rutted ATV trail most of the way, is less than picturesque, Tyler Pond, a small kettle pond, completely undeveloped along the shoreline and clear down to the gravel bottom, offers a worthwhile destination.
Take Civic Center Drive north from Augusta. From the light at the I-95 on-ramp, continue north 3.1 miles and turn left onto Summerhaven Road. Tyler Pond Wildlife Management Area is on the left in about 0.8 miles, marked by a brown WMA sign and blue boat launch sign. If you can squeeze your car past a couple of sizable puddles, there is a spacious parking area just inside on the left.
Distance: about ½ mile (one-way)
Time Needed: ½ hour
From the parking area, follow a wide, rutted dirt road into a forest of tall oak, pine and birch. Although the road is pocked with several large, deep puddles, there is ample room to go around the edges and stay high and dry. A few hundred feet along, the trail forks. The left fork is the ATV trail; the right leads to Tyler Pond. After the fork, the trail becomes a bit narrower and cozier, though it becomes severely eroded as it travels downhill. This road-like bit of trail ends in an open, level area, with a non-motorized trail continuing in the woods and downhill a short distance to the pond. A small carry-in boat launch is on the left. The trail continues along a lovely, wide hump of land that juts into the pond. The top of the hump is fairly level and open in the understory and carpeted in pine needles, offering a delightful picnic spot. A narrow, unmarked trail heads to the right and follows along the shore of the pond a few hundred feet before petering out.
Tyler Pond Wildlife Management Area is a great place to hike with kids—a short walk that even the shortest of legs should be able to handle (and if all else fails, it's not far to carry little ones), with a great destination. Ponds are always a big attraction for little ones who inevitable want to throw in sticks or rocks, and the wide, open finger of land offers plenty of opportunity for safe but exciting exploration.