Black Pond Wildlife Management Area
16 acres in Meriden, CT
Parking: Medium sized lot at the boat launch near 1699 E Main St, Meriden, CT
Trail Map Trails: 3 miles Rating: ★★★★☆
There is another place with the exact same name in New York on Lake Ontario, sorry if you’re here about that spot. There is another Black Pond in Woodstock, sorry about that too. The Black Pond Wildlife Management Area in Meriden, Connecticut is a great spot and one of the best I’ve visited for catching the sunset.
My first visit to Black Pond was after checking out Wharton Brook State Park when it reopened in January 2019. It was a chilly winter day and I knew I had just enough time to make it to the overlook before the sun set. From the just above the boat launch a wide trail ascends around the eastern rim of the pond through what is actually a parcel of the Cockaponset State Forest. Traprock chunks litter the trail making foot placement a conscious decision. The path quickly meets with the blue blaze Mattabesett Trail and taking it south heads to the overlook. Here my feet crunched on frost heaves and brushed through thick piles of leaves. While this area was new to my the trap rock ridge felt familiar, with geology similar to nearby Giuffrida or Ragged Mountain.
The overlook has an expansive view west over Meriden while the slope of Mt Higby pulls the eye north. I sat for awhile watching the sunset over the horizon for the first time in years (usually it’s through the trees or just out of sight). The cold wind kicked up the ridge and I headed back to the car with the last glow.
Beyond the main overlook, the ridgeline continues for 2/3 of a mile as it heads south towards Powder Ridge. Heading north crosses Rt. 2 up to Mt. Higby. This whole entry fails to talk about the actual WMA property which does not include the 76 acre pond, but the western marshy section and the land to Thorpe Ave.
Black Pond was a 100 acre tract purchased by the state in 1919 for $1,500 to be used as a wayside state park for travelers and ‘a station on the projected Trap Rock Trail’. Largely thanks to the work of, then Commissioner, George A. Parker.
However, these plans never progressed beyond the idea stage perhaps due to lack of funds or visitors. The park got less than $10 per year in maintenance for several years at a time when other parks were getting several thousand. Black Pond was also only getting around 100 visitors on a good year when a popular park like Hammonassett was nearing one million.
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Last updated Jan. 16, 2019
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