Encompassing two small, scenic ponds, and located at the end of a private gravel road, this forest offers secluded recreational opportunity and a great place to explore the surrounding mountains and waters of the Flagstaff Lake Region.
Barnard Ponds is located in the sparsely populated town of Eustis, in the northwestern corner of Maine. The region is dominated by some of Maine’s highest mountain peaks and the presence of two major lake systems, Rangeley Lakes to the south and Flagstaff Lake to the east, a sprawling 20,000-acre water body created by the impoundment of the Dead River in 1949.
The ponds are part of the Dead River’s vast watershed formed by hundreds of brooks, remote ponds, and small lakes, many of which support a reknown native trout and land-locked salmon fishery favored by back country anglers for generations.
Stratton village is the nearest population center, part of the organized town of Eustis, and is located about 10 miles south between State Route 27 and the western cove of Flagstaff Lake. Stratton offers a few motels and restaurants, a small grocery store, and outdoor sporting supplies.
The Canadian border is just over 20 miles to the north of Eustis via Route 27, providing an opportunity to venture into the scenic countryside of southern Quebec and explore their mountains and lakes as well. Portland, Maine’s largest city with an airport, is about two hours away to the south. Boston, Massachusetts is roughly a four-hour drive.
Access is provided via Tim Pond Road, the first half mile of which is town-maintained with electric power and utilities. Shortly after the residential section, the road becomes part of a large gravel road network maintained by a few major landowners for commercial timber hauling. Forest products trucks have right-of-way and care should be taken to stay alert and to the right while driving these roads. An SUV or pickup truck is the recommended vehicle for traveling these logging roads.
To access the property off Route 27, take Tim Pond Road, staying left at the first fork. At about the 2.5 mile mark, bear right at a fork and travel another 0.7 miles to the first corner of the property boundary.
Fed by a stream originating in the Barnard Mountains to the north, the parcel’s topography is shaped like a bowl cradling both Little Barnard (8 acres) and Big Barnard (18 acres) Ponds. A stream connecting the two ponds, aptly named Barnard Brook, flows out of the big pond, joins with another brook and eventually flows into Tim Pond Brook, a major tributary to the North Branch of the Dead River. This network of brooks and streams offers anglers and canoeists a myriad of choices to enjoy these northern waters, known to host both native and stocked trout populations.
Soils are generally well-drained and gravelly throughout the tract, with the exception of some wetlands along the ponds, central brook and one of its tributaries. These same areas are attractive to deer, bear and moose which browse on the vegetation in these openings.
On Big Barnard Pond, there are three potential sites where a camp may be suitable - on one of two small knolls on the northern shore or on the west side of the pond, soils permitting.
Water quality and habitat for coldwater gamefish are considered good in both Little and Big Barnard Ponds, according to Maine’s Inland Fisheries & Wildlife Division (IF&W). Brook trout growth is also considered good with minimal competition from other fish species. Spawning success, however, is limited given the silty inlets, so the IF&W conducts annual stockings to sustain the desired trout fishery. Big Barnard’s maximum depth is 27’ while Little Barnard’s depth is likely less than 20’.