A forest of trees in full fall color are reflected like a mirror in a lake in the foreground.
Fall Reflections Lime Pond reflects fall colors like a mirror. © Jeff Lougee/TNC

Places We Protect

Lime Pond Preserve

New Hampshire

Northern white cedar swamps, centuries-old trees and showy orchids call the shoreline of this lovely pond home.

Nestled in Columbia just south of downtown Colebrook, Lime Pond Preserve boasts 420 acres of land rich in calcite, weathered into the soils from the bedrock beneath, which in turn supports an array of uncommon natural communities and rare plants as a result. Here you can find northern white cedar swamps with centuries-old trees, rich mesic northern hardwood forest with maidenhair fern and wild onions, beautiful wetlands with an amazing diversity of orchids, and the state’s only occurrence of the brown bog sedge, which is found along the shoreline of the pond. A 30-acre hay field continues to be maintained by a local farmer. Out on the water, it’s not uncommon to find common loons, river otters and other wildlife. Lime Pond Brook, which flows out of the pond, feeds into Simms Stream, a location quickly becoming a priority for our freshwater work.

A generous gift from David and Tanya Tellman of Bethlehem, Lime Pond Preserve is open to the public for hiking, hunting, fly-fishing, passive recreation and wildlife observation. A parking lot on the north side of the pond provides access to a boat launch for non-motorized watercraft. In winter, snowmobilers can enjoy trails maintained by the Colebrook Ski-Bee’s Snowmobile Club. 

A man and woman stand in front of trees in a forest.
Leaving a Legacy David and Tanya Tellman at their home in Bethlehem, New Hampshire. © Jeff Lougee/TNC

Preserving a Legacy

Avid botanists, David and Tanya Tellman of Bethlehem were active retirees, spending lots of time outdoors, including volunteering with the New England Wildflower Society (now the Native Plant Trust). They would often be out monitoring rare plant populations around northern New Hampshire, including on TNC’s Vickie Bunnell Preserve.

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Avid botanists, David and Tanya Tellman of Bethlehem were active retirees, spending lots of time outdoors, including volunteering with the New England Wildflower Society (now the Native Plant Trust). They would often be out monitoring rare plant populations around northern New Hampshire, including on TNC’s Vickie Bunnell Preserve.

“We hiked pretty far into the preserve looking for a plant called climbing fumatory that had been spotted there in the 1980s,” says Director of Stewardship and Ecological Management Jeff Lougee, who joined them on this particular adventure back in the early 2000s, a budding botanist himself at the time. “Unfortunately, we struck out, but it was a memorable day getting to know them, and I learned that I would never be able to answer all Tanya’s questions about botany!”

One place the Tellmans monitored was Lime Pond, a unique landscape in Columbia that soon became incredibly dear to them. When one of the major landowners put property surrounding a large portion of the pond up for sale in the mid-’90s, Tanya and David leaped at the chance to purchase it, jumpstarting their vision to conserve as much of the place as possible. Over the following two decades, they persistently pursued the acquisition of other privately owned lots in the vicinity, eventually piecing together a network of lands that include most of the frontage on the pond. With the acquisitions complete, it was time to consider the land’s protection long-term. The Tellmans decided to leave the land as a gift to The Nature Conservancy in their estate plans, knowing their legacy would be safe in our hands.

After nearly 60 years of marriage, David passed away in 2019. After deciding to move to North Carolina to be closer to her son and his family, Tanya made the choice to accelerate their plans and donate the lands to TNC outright, along with funds to help support the land’s stewardship. “This is really an amazing gift to conservation,” notes Jeff. “It really is one of the ecological gems of New Hampshire.” The 420-acre parcel was dedicated as the Lime Pond Preserve in Summer 2020. 

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Lime Pond Preserve is open to the public for hiking, hunting, fly-fishing, passive recreation and wildlife observation. A parking lot on the north side of the pond provides access to a boat launch for non-motorized watercraft. In winter, snowmobilers can enjoy trails maintained by the Colebrook Ski-Bee’s Snowmobile Club.  Please note: a high-clearance vehicle may be needed to reach the preserve's parking area.

Special Visitation Guidelines:

  • Leave No Trace—please keep the preserve clean by carrying out your trash.
  • Snowmobiles are allowed on designated multi-use trails only. All other motorized use is prohibited beyond the parking area at the end of Columbia Road.
  • Help us protect wildlife on the preserve and be respectful of other hikers by keeping dogs under verbal control.
  • Respect the natural world around you! Do not remove or destroy plants, wildlife, minerals or cultural items.
  • No camping or open fires allowed.
  • Hunting and fishing area allowed. Be aware of hunting seasons.
  • A road leading to the Pond can be used for car top boat access (no trailers).
  • Once boats are unloaded, cars must be returned to the parking area in the field. This is approximately 1/3 of mile.

Explore Lime Pond

From large trees to showy orchids, fly-fishing to wildlife viewing, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

A loon glides through the water in a pond.
A green plant with green and white orchids.
Three river otters swim in a pond in golden sunlight.
A woman leans against a very large tree.
A man and woman hold a framed photo of trees.