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Acadia's Seal Cove Pond

Publisher Partner DownEast Magazine

We periodically publish content from DownEast Magazine, The Magazine of Maine. Dedicated to evoking and illuminating the spirit and culture of Maine at its best.

Size: 283 acres
Maximum depth: 44 feet
Water visibility: 20 feet

With its shallow waters and marshy shores, Seal Cove Pond is a natural oasis on Mount Desert lsland's extreme west side. "It's definitely in contrast to Jordan Pond or Bubble Pond or some of the more famous lakes that are on the east side of the island," explains Bill Gawley, a biologist with the National Park Service. "Seal Cove Pond certainly has a lot more going on, which makes it a lot more interesting biologically." Warm water fish like bass, perch, and sunfish make their home in these shallow waters, which in turn draw bald eagles, ospreys, and loons looking for an easy meal.

The drive to Seal Cove Pond, if you come from the east side of the island, may end up being half the adventure. Many of the roads are dirt, and it might take you a couple of hours to make it from Bar Harbor if you come through Southwest Harbor and Bass Harbor. You'll do better to come down Route 102 from Pretty Marsh; keep an eye out for moose, as this is about as likely a spot as any on the island to see the lumbering woods denizens. Even in high summer only about twenty-five people a day make it to the roads around Seal Cove Pond, so you're likely to feel as alone as if you were deep in the Allagash. Camps and private property are mostly on the western side of the pond, so exploration is best done on the east side, where you can stop and rest on national park land.

Perhaps more than any other lake or pond in Acadia, Seal Cove Pond represents the dramatic diversity of plant and animal life found on Mount Desert Island. With elevation ranging from sea level to 1,530 feet atop Cadillac Mountain, a maritime environment that consistently supplies nourishing fog and humidity, and a sea breeze that maintains cooler growing seasons and warmer winters. Acadia sustains a representative range of 2,500 miles, encompassing plants of the arctic, Canadian zone, and southern coastal plain. To discover it and its lakes and ponds is to discover an island like none other.

Excerpted from the article by Joshua F. Moore in the June 2008 issue of DownEast Magazine.

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