Chapman Pond Preserve

Chapman Pond is part of our critical work on the Connecticut River.

Why You Should Visit
This tidal freshwater pond, which can be visited only by small boat, lies just east of the Connecticut River, between the Goodspeed Opera House and Gillette Castle State Park.

East Haddam

490 acres

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
The pond and surrounding land provide nesting, breeding and feeding habitat for a variety of plants and animals, and it is a winter roosting site for bald eagles. Four rare plant species are found in the adjacent marsh.

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
The East Haddam Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy have protected more than 500 acres around the pond.

Dawn to dusk

What to See: Plants

The pond is bordered on the west by low floodplain forest, and to the east by hemlock forest. 

What to See: Animals

Depending on the season, an alert visitor may see bald eagle, belted kingfisher, black-crowned night heron, black duck, great blue heron, great egret, great horned owl, red-tailed hawk, snowy egret, as well as coyote, red fox, river otter.

Please enjoy your visit to this preserve.  The Nature Conservancy welcomes passive recreation, including hiking, birding, canoeing, nature study and cross-country skiing.  

To ensure those who visit after you are able to enjoy the same experience you have, please remember to stay on designated trails, pack out everything you brought in, and contact our office at: 203 568 6270 or if you notice any problems.  

To maintain the ecological integrity of the preserve, the following activities are not allowed:  collection of plant or animal specimens, camping, fires, fishing, hunting, bicycling, and use of motorized vehicles.  Pets are not allowed on Nature Conservancy preserves.


From Route 91 southbound:
Take Route 9 south to exit 7 for Route 82.

  • At the end of the Route 82 connector, turn left to continue briefly on Routes 154 & 82, then turn right at the traffic light to continue on Route 82.
  • Follow 82 across the bridge into East Haddam. Route 82 winds up a hill and comes to a stop sign 1.5 miles from the bridge.
  • At that sign, take a right and proceed approximately 1.2 miles, then turn right onto River Road (look for brown Gillette Castle State Park sign). The preserve entrance is 0.3 mile on the right.

From I-95 north or south:
Drive north on Route 156 approximately 7 miles to its conclusion at the intersection with Route 82 in Lyme.

  • Turn left onto Route 82 west and drive 3.2 miles to Hadlyme center (4-way stop sign, junction with route 148), and turn right to continue on 82.  
  • Drive 2.6 miles and turn left onto River Road.  The preserve entrance is 0.3 mile on the right.

By Boat:
Launch canoe from the landing behind Goodspeed Opera House. 

  • Paddle downstream near the eastern shore, keeping the main channel and both islands to your right. 
  • Even with the southern end of the farther north of the two islands is an inlet into the pond. 
  • At the southern end of the pond is the other inlet, which is more scenic and meets the main river about a half mile south of the first. It is a little over a half-mile north of the boat launch at Gillette Castle State Park.

Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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