Welcome to Chaffin Pond!
Chaffin Pond Trail/Preserve is a 123 acre parcel of land that is located in Windham, Maine. This land had been previously owned by the Portland Water District, but as of March 2011, the Town of Windham Parks and Recreation Department purchased the property. The property provides opportunities for low-impact recreation activities such as hiking, fishing, biking, walking and snowshoeing. This is a nice area to visit because it offers several trails to choose from. The longest trail that wraps around the pond is just under 2 miles long. Chaffin Pond is convenient, being located right outside the business district, so it is available to many walks of life.
Chaffin Pond is home to a couple of wetlands, both being freshwater forested/shrub Palustrine systems (NWI).
Within the Area of Interest(AOI) of Chaffin Pond Preserve, two identified wetlands contain four soil types, two of which are considered hydric soils. The two hydric soils are Sebago mucky peat(Sp) and Walpole fine sandy loam (Wa).The Sebago mucky peat covers about 75% of the AOI. This mucky peat consists mostly of clays with high shrink-swell potential. This means that it shrinks when it dries and expands with water infiltration. The Walpole soil is a smaller portion of the AOI, which covers about 15% of the area. These soils tend to have a fine texture and occur in an outwash.
The hydrology of both hydric soils are very similar. They are determined to be a Palustrine system, which can be described as a non-tidal wetland. The Sebago mucky peat has a very slow infiltration rate and high run-off potential when wet. This is related to its high shrink-swell capacity. The water is slow to infiltrate the ground, so the transmission of the water is slow as well. The standing water leaves this area to be seasonally flooded/saturated especially during the early growing season. When water is absent the substrate remains saturated for much of the growing season, near the surface (Image Right).
The Walpole fine sandy loam also has a slow infiltration rate and water transmission is slow. This can be attributed to the moderately well-drained soils. The only major difference in this wetland from the Sebago mucky peat is that it has been previously drained and ditched (NWI). After the drainage from Little Sebago Lake was diverted, this area was no longer flooded; ditching was an attempt to cultivate the area. Outlet Brook that flows through these wetlands was impounded at Route 302, and Chaffin Pond's drainage was forced into this marsh(Image Below).
The Fern Forest where the Sebago mucky peat occurs contains many Red Maples and White Pine trees. The ground cover was predominately Cinnamon Ferns and Sweetgale. Red and White Oaks occur towards the higher grounds. Boody Meadow contains the Walpole fine sandy loam where ditching has occurred. The dominate vegetation is Carex sedge that surrounds the Outlet Brook. Cattails were located near the waters edge. Maleberry and Speckled Alder were also observed, but were scattered. Below is an image of Cattails and Carex sedges in Boody Meadow.
Wildlife & Other Interesting Facts
The preservation of Chaffin Pond and minimal disturbance since the ditching has occurred has allowed this 123 acre parcel to be home to many types of wildlife. The information gathered by the Portland Water District and Town of Windham, is posted along the trails relating to wildlife seen in the area. Such occurrences are fisher cats, deer, weasels, moose, otters and beavers. The pond also contains aquatic species for recreational fishing.
Chaffin Pond is open to the general public, seven days a week, with visitation between the hours of dawn til dusk. There is a convenient parking area directly off Route 302 in North Windham, on the right hand side of the road before Sherwin Williams. The dirt road leads to the entrance of the trail to the pond. The pond used to be Windham's watershed, so there are small buildings at first sight of the pond. Several picnic tables are located at the access point, as well as informational pamphlets that include a trail guide. The trails are also well marked, along with two man made bridges along the route. Hiking boots would be appropriate for this trail. All in all, this is a nice place to visit by oneself or with friends and family. All are welcome!
Windham Parks and Recreation Department, Portland Water District. (Handout/Maps) Chaffin Pond, Windham Maine. Date Accessed: 3/28/12.
Balentine, J. (March, 2011). Town of Windham Buys Chaffin Pond. Current Publishing. Retrieved from: http://www.keepmecurrent.com/news/article_f04ec416-4bea-11e0-9ef2-001cc4c002e0.html
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. National Wetlands Inventory. Chaffin Pond, Windham Maine. Retrieved from: http://www.fws.gov/wetlands/Data/Mapper.html
Gawler, S. and Cutko, A. (2010). Natural Landscapes of Maine: A Guide to Natural Communities and Ecosystems. Retrieved from: http://www.maine.gov/doc/nrimc/mnap/features/communitykey.htm
United States Department of Agriculture. Web Soil Survey. (2011). http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/WebSoilSurvey.aspx
Wetland information and photos by Elise Roux, Department of Environmental Science, Class of 2013