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New Trail Shows the Way to Scenic Pond

Thanks to all who helped raise the final $40,000 to protect Muddy Pond! 

Thanks to widespread community support, forty-thousand dollars has been raised to protect 70 acres including the last section of the undeveloped shoreline of Muddy Pond. This peaceful 30-acre pond, which includes a waterfront campsite, is located in Westminster alongside the Midstate Trail, a 95-mile corridor of wild and scenic land that runs from Rhode Island to New Hampshire.  This project protects the wilderness view from the hut campsite on existing conservation land on the opposite shore of the Pond.

The new trail on the land is now complete.  A trailhead kiosk will be installed in 2016 and the trail, built by volunteers from Mount Grace, Friends of the Midstate Trail, and the North Quabbin Trails Association, will be featured in the 2016 revision of Mount Grace's regional hiking guide.  Directions to Muddy Pond are at the bottom of this page.

You can still support Mount Grace's Campaign for Muddy Pond now with a tax-deductible gift by clicking below. Contributions support Mount Grace's land conservation and stewardship work.

Gifts Made   138
Left to Raise  $0

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Muddy Pond is a remote, high-elevation undeveloped glacial pond, populated mostly by otters and other wild creatures.  It is quite rare for a pond this large to be undeveloped and protected in Central Massachusetts. 

The Town of Westminster voted at a 2013 Town Meeting to purchase the conservation restriction and will allocate $26,000 to fund this project.  Additional support is being provided by an $81,000 Massachusetts LAND grant and a $46,000 bargain sale by the Engmans.  Mount Grace and concerned local citizens joined together to raise the balance of the money needed to conserve Muddy Pond for everyone forever.

Len and Amy Engman, who have lived at the Pond since 1978, have agreed to a permanent conservation restriction on 70 acres of their land, to be held by the Town of Westminster. 

Conserving the Engman property adds to 3,400 acres of existing contiguous protected land.   Completing the protection of Muddy Pond provides exceptional recreational opportunities, including new public access to the Pond and the Midstate Trail.  The new spur trail on the Engman CR will add to the value of the surrounding protected land as a recreation destination.  The pond and Whitney Hill ridge provide an important wildlife corridor and high ecological diversity including open water, floating bog mats, shallow marsh, flooded beaver meadow, hemlock-swamp, red-maple swamp and upland hardwood forest.

Partners in the project with the Engmans include The Town of Westminster, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, North County Land Trust, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The Engman property is the keystone to preserving Muddy Pond in its natural state.” - Dan Bartkus, Westminster Conservation Commission Chair

Acquisition of this property constitutes the last landholding necessary for the full protection of Muddy Pond, one of the Town’s most critical environmental areas.”  Stephen Wallace, Westminster Town Planner

(Midstate Trail photos courtesy of Fred and Linda Looft)

To find the trailhead for the Midstate on Bragg Hill Road: 

From Route 2A in the center of Westminster: Travel northeast on Bacon Street for .6 miles. Bear right onto North Common Road and continue for .6 miles. Bear left onto Oakmont Avenue and continue for 1.7 miles. Cross South Ashburnham Road and continue north on Bragg Hill Road to the Trailhead. Hike about 1 mile to the Pond.

You can see a natural resources inventory for Muddy Pond and a Gardner News article about a winter tracking event at the Pond below.

Please note that this page is lovingly updated by hand each week.  Your gift will not instantly appear on the page when you make it.