Visiting New Hampshire's Biodiversity


Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge



Description:
N
estled beneath the mountains north of the Presidential Range, Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge has often been called a "crown jewel" of New Hampshire's landscape, and visitors to the site will easily understand why. The ponds, wetlands, and forests of this refuge support a wide variety of significant ecological features. The sweeping views from the wetlands and ponds are truly unique, and the hiking trails through lowland spruce - fir forest provide an easy way to experience this characteristic natural community of New Hampshire's North Country in person. A recently constructed viewing platform at the south end of Cherry Pond provides stunning views out across the pond and back towards the Presidential Range.

Good examples of natural community systems you can see here include lowland spruce - fir forest/swamp system and poor level fen/bog system.

The refuge was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1974 by the National Park Service. The Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge is owned and managed by New Hampshire Audubon, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game. The New Hampshire Bureau of Trails and a local Friends group also play a role in the management of the refuge.


Directions:
Access from Rte. 115 between the towns of Twin Mountain and Jefferson Highlands. The refuge is northwest of the road. There is a parking area with a new kiosk along Airport Road. A wide dirt trail (a former rail grade, soon to be made universally accessible) leads from here north about a mile and a half to the new viewing platform at the edge of Cherry Pond. The Little Cherry Pond hiking trail skirts the western edge of the pond and then leads west to a viewing platform at Little Cherry Pond.

Landowners:
New Hampshire Audubon, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NH Department of Fish & Game

Site Guide and Map

Images (hold mouse over image for caption)

Presidential Range behind Pondicherry in November (Ben Kimball photo)
Presidential Range behind Pondicherry in November (Ben Kimball photo)

Bog Bridge at Little Cherry Pond (photo by Dave Govatski for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau) Bog mat at Little Cherry Pond  (photo by Dave Govatski for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)

Birding at Pondicherry (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau) Trillium undulatum (painted trillium) in bloom along the trail to Little Cherry Pond (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)

Clouds over Little Cherry Pond at Pondicherry (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)  Cherry Pond in late September (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)

Cherry Pond in October  (photo by Dave Govatski for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)  Lowland spruce - fir forest (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)

Floating marshy peat mat (a Sphagnum moss island) in Cherry Pond (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau) Johns River flowing out of Cherry Pond (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)

Trail through lowland spruce - fir forest between Cherry Pond and Little Cherry Pond (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)

Peatland along the shore of Little Cherry Pond (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)  The Presidential Range above Cherry Pond and Moorhen Marsh (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)

National Natural Landmark plaque at Pondicherry (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)  Moorhen Marsh, a cattail marsh community (photo by Dave Govatski for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)


Site Guide



Links:
NH Audubon's web page for Pondicherry Wildlife Sanctuary 

US National Park Service's National Natural Landmark web page for Pondicherry

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