As early as the 1970s, our founder and first president, Alice McCallister, identified Mud Pond as a protection priority. Between 1991 and 1995, several people worked to purchase the tract, which had been targeted as an 8-lot subdivision. Its purchase was made possible with funds from many private contributors, a generous gift from the Ellen Knowles Harcourt Fund, and mitigation funds from the Iroquois Gas Transmission System’s Land Preservation and Enhancement Program. Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy protects over four hundred contiguous acres in the immediate basin of Mud Pond and mountainsides that surround it.
Despite its name, Mud Pond is a jewel set between a quartzite ridge on the west and the northern buttress of Long Mountain on the east, with several types of calcareous (alkaline) wetland soils along the pond and well-drained acidic soils on the quartzite. The sanctuary has an amazing diversity of species, including the state’s biggest black ash trees. It will take years to find most of the species – some rare. Mud Pond is used by fishermen (especially for ice fishing) and by canoeists. Those who continue their walk along Mud Pond Road will see the beaver baffler system installed by Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy and the Town of New Milford in an effort to prevent the pond level from overflowing onto the road without having to resort to trapping.