The Holt Pond Preserve was established in 1970 when LEA purchased 30 acres of woodland and stream next to Holt Pond in Bridgton. Over the years, through the dedicated efforts of many, the preserve has grown to include over 400 acres. A trip to Holt Pond is always a wonderful experience.
Starting at the parking area off Grist Mill Road, the path takes you through a mixed forest of birch, beech, hemlock, and pine. You cross over a stone wall into a red maple swamp. In the spring, listen for the sounds of returning neo-tropical migrant birds and in the winter, look for the flitting silhouettes of chickadees shivering for warmth. Leaving the red maple swamp you find yourself on one of the several hummocks in the preserve, a nutrient rich glacial deposit where hemlocks have taken root. Venturing out to the Muddy River, a ripple in the water and a loud splash indicates the presence of a territorial beaver.
Returning to the trail, you eventually make your way to the place where plants eat insects, moose wallow in the muddy waters, and minks scurry about looking for fish: the Holt Pond Overlook. The Holt Pond Overlook Boardwalk crosses over a quaking mat of sphagnum moss. If you bend your knees twice, you will see a slight quaking motion at the end of the boardwalk. This is because the sphagnum moss is floating, colonizing the open water in front of you. The quaking bog is home to pitcher plants, orchids, leatherleaf, swamp rose, and many other unique plants, as it is one of the most diverse natural communities at Holt Pond. Pause at the end of the boardwalk and appreciate the beauty of this spot in every season, when migrant ducks swim about, water lilies dot the surface, reflected red, yellow, orange, and brown leaves shine in the depths, or snow and ice insulate the vibrant life underneath.
The Holt Pond Preserve was created to educate people about the importance of wetlands and how they help protect water quality. However, Holt Pond is first and foremost a nature preserve and LEA has created use guidelines to ensure that the natural beauty and quality of the area is protected.
Please observe the following guidelines during your visit: