Summer at Grafton Pond

Season begins for paddlers, wildlife and outreach staff

Carrie Deegan | June 1, 2016

It's still technically spring, but the summer season at Grafton Pond is already in full swing.  The loons have finished their courtship dances and are sitting on eggs that will soon hatch into tiny fluffy chicks, and the geese parents are even further ahead with lines of young goslings strung out behind them.  Also out paddling on the pond are people- in kayaks, canoes and fishing boats.  Grafton pond is a busy place anywhere from Memorial Day through Columbus

Day, and it's not uncommon for 100-200 boats to put in at the ramp on a warm sunny weekend day.  This brings some real challenges for stewardship on the pond, from keeping the islands and shoreline pristine and free of trash, to prevening the spread of invasive aquatic weeds and protecting wildlife.  To prepare for the busy recreational season and help protect our 930-acre Grafton Pond Reservation, the Forest Society works with the State of New Hampshire's Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) to provide outreach and lake hosting services at the boat launch and on the pond.  Seasonal "rangers" are hired to talk to visitors about keeping a good distance from nesting loons and loon families, packing out all trash, using lead-free tackle,  and cleaning and draining boats to prevent the spread of invasives.  The rangers are on-site, either at the boat launch or out paddling the pond, every sunny summer weekend day.  Their efforts help to establish a welcoming presence on the pond, letting visitors know that we're actively stewarding and caring for this property, so they should too.  

Seasonal outreach efforts at Grafton Pond are funded through generous donations from local landowners and the Friends of Grafton Pond, as well as from Hypertherm, Inc.  In addition to financial support, Hypertherm also sends a crew of employees to Grafton Pond each May for a spring cleaning workday.  These volunteers pick up trash along the road frontage and hiking trails, as well as from the islands and shoreline, making sure everything is immaculate

before the paddling season begins in earnest.  They also learn about recreational guidelines and the outreach we provide all summer, so that if they happen to paddle Grafton Pond on other days during the season, they will be able to spread the word to other visitors.  When visitors to Grafton Pond are respectful and environmentally conscious, everyone wins.