Long Pond

Long Pond South End

Long Pond, also called Great Pond, is the largest fresh body of water on Mount Desert Island with a surface area of 897 acres (3.63 square kilometers). It is at an elevation of 59 feet (18 meters) above sea level. The maximum depth of Long Pond is 113.2 feet (34.5 meters) and average depth is 37.1 feet (11.3 meters). Long Pond is classified as an oligotrophic body of water, that is, it has low levels of vegetation and high levels of dissolved oxygen. The fish in Long Pond include Salmon, Brook Trout, Rainbow Smelt, Smallmouth Bass, Chain Pickerel, Minnows, White Sucker, Banded Killifish, Threespine Stickleback, American Eel and Alewife.

The photograph above shows the southern end of Long Pond from the boat launch area in the Town of Southwest Harbor. This section of the pond also supplies potable water to Southwest Harbor. Boats may be launched here, but swimming or wading is prohibited. To the right in the photograph is part of Beech Mountain. To the left in the photograph is a part of Mansell Mountain. Note the low turbidity (clarity) of the water.

The next photograph shows a pair of Sooty Shearwaters (Puffinus griseus) riding the updrafts over Long Pond near Mansell Mountain in early June 2010. Sooty Shearwaters are usually seen over the ocean during May and June in Maine. They breed in South America during the northern hemisphere's winter and then fly a circular route up the coast of the Americas, across the North Atlantic, down the west coast of Europe and Africa and finally back to the southern tip of South American. Sooty Shearwaters are a sooty brown color that makes them distinctive among ocean birds. The southern end of Long Pond is about two miles from the ocean; so, a Sooty Shearwater may find soaring on updrafts near the mountains of Mount Desert Island an enjoyable way to pass the time

Birds Soaring above Long Pond

The next photograph shows the northern end of Long Pond from the boat launch and swim area in the Town of Mount Desert. Swimming is allowed in this section of the lake making this area very popular especially on a hot summer day. This boat launch area is also the most popular with fishermen. The mountain at the end of Long Pond to the left of center is Mansell Mountain with a portion of Western Mountain to the right above the trees.

Long Pond North End

The next photograph was taken with a telephoto lens from a different angle at the north end of Long Pond such that Beech Mountain becomes visible to the left with Mansell Mountain to the right. Note the boat and dock to the right. Much of the property on Long Pond is private. The National Park owns the land around the southern end of Long Pond and most of the western shore.

Beech Mountain over Long Pond

The next photograph shows some water plants at the north end of Long Pond. The "lily pads" in the photograph are Watershields (Brasenia schreberi), sometimes called Water Targets. Watershield is native to Maine and is easily recognized by the fact that the stem connects to the center of an un-notched, oval, floating leaf.

Watershield in Long Pond

Long Pond seems to end in the north at Pretty Marsh Road in the Town of Mount Desert. However, there is a small waterway under Pretty Marsh Road that connects Long Pond to the somewhat marshy body of water shown in the photograph below. This body of water north of Pretty Marsh Road is often unnoticed by the visitor. However, these more productive areas of large bodies of water on Mount Desert Island are important to wildlife and, curiously, tend to be established north of the main body of water.

Wetland North of Long Pond

Long Pond is best accessed at the public beach and boat launch area at the north end of the pond on Pretty Marsh Road. Pretty Marsh Road begins just south of the Village of Somesville on State Route 102. From the north of route 102, go south through the Village of Somesville and turn right onto Pretty Marsh Road at the fire station. The north end of Long Pond is about  a mile and a half  (2.4 kilometers) west on Pretty Marsh Road. From the south, turn left at the fire station.

The Southwest Harbor end of Long Pond has a less direct route. From the north on State Route 102, go south to Seal Cove Road just before you enter the business district of Southwest Harbor. Turn right onto Seal Cove Road. After a half of a mile (0.8 kilometers) on Seal Cove Road  you will come to a crossroads. Turn right onto the paved road at the crossroads. Follow that paved road to the boat launch area. One can also drive to the Long Pond southern boat launch area from Echo Lake by following the Lurvey Spring Road, a gravel road between Echo Lake and the paved road to the boat launch. When you reach the paved road, turn right.

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