DIRECTIONS: Maps to the trails are available in a box on the bulletin board in the lobby of the Monroe Town Hall. To reach the area, drive east on Route 139 from the junction of Routes 141 and 139 and take the first left onto the Monroe Road. One mile farther on, turn left onto Dahlia Farm Road and in 1.5 miles watch for a small sign on the left: Northern Pond. In late spring, summer and fall, you can drive to a small parking area from which the trails depart. Beyond the small parking area, this access, which continues on to the canoe launch, is very rocky and uneven. It’s wise to proceed on foot or in four-wheel drive vehicles with high clearance. This access road is not plowed in winter. Then people park along the side of Dahlia Farm Road.
Not far into the woods off Dahlia Farm Road in Monroe, Maine, Northern Pond lies surrounded by marshland and upland forest of mixed hemlock, balsam, pine, spruce, birch, oak, and maple. Fed and drained by Thurlow Brook, the pond and surrounding area stretch unbroken for more than half a mile.
The pond has been a place for fishing, both summer and winter, for many years. Generations of children, first brought to the pond on family picnics, have spent their free hours there, fishing, finding frogs and beaver dams, watching birds, and creating their games.
In 2005, after years of preparation, the citizens of Monroe voted to put Northern Pond and about 160 acres of the town-owned woodland and marsh surrounding it into a conservation easement as Northern Pond Natural Area.
Under the direction of the Monroe Conservation Commission, many people continue to work on creating and maintaining hiking trails, bog walks, and a canoe launch, and marking boundary lines. The easement is held by Landmark Heritage Trust, which counts a number of Monroe residents as members. Regardless of future changes in political power, NPNA will remain forever wild and available for public enjoyment.
Pausing while hiking or paddling at Northern Pond Natural Area, one feels far from human habitation. As in any wilderness area, we follow the rule of pack in, pack out. Leave no cans, bottles, paper, plastic, or foil behind.
Bring yourself, your snack and water. Take with you your trash, your memories and photos. One Monroe resident’s comment after her first visit: “It’s the jewel of Monroe.”