The Otter Pond Forest is a beautiful natural area of woods, wetlands and wildlife. It consists of 134 acres along Old Swanzey Road near Pisgah State Park. The property is protected by a conservation easement held by the Monadnock Conservancy, and is part of the California Brook Natural Area, a strategic initiative to create a greenway corridor between Pisgah State Park and Horatio Colony Nature Preserve in Keene. The residual fee ownership has been given to the Town of Chesterfield through the generosity of Robert King and Anne Faulkner.
Otter Pond, sometimes referred to as Otter Pond Camp, got its name from previous owner and naturalist Diane Gibbons, who often observed otters throughout the extensive wetlands that run through the center of the property and dominate the landscape. These wetlands surround a stream moving southeast through the property into Wheeler Brook. Between the wetlands and Old Swanzey Road, the forest is predominantly a mix of hemlock and pine. North of the wetlands a mixed forest of hemlock, beech, oak and pine is evident.
In addition to the otters, beaver have been active in the development and extent of the wetlands. Evidence of a variety of wildlife can be found throughout the property, including deer, coyote, fox, bear, moose, and bobcat. Evidence of early settlement abound, with cellar holes and stone walls throughout.
This property is intended to remain largely undeveloped, and access is limited to foot traffic. There are no developed trails and parking is limited to the shoulders of Old Swanzey Road. There are a number of old roads, often overgrown, but reasonably suitable for limited foot access into the interior.
The property is located along the northeast side of Old Swanzey Road, about one mile southeast of the junction with Zinn Road, and directly across from Stones Mill Road. For detailed map visit here.