The Runaround Pond landscape includes RRCT’s Chesley Meadows Preserve, the Town of Durham’s Runaround Pond Recreation Area, and a working farm conserved by an agricultural conservation easement held by RRCT.
Chesley Meadows Preserve. This 153 acre preserve was created in late 2015 and expanded in March 2017. It hosts a snowmobile trail and is popular for hunting and neighborhood equestrian use and snowshoeing. There are no developed or marked trails. Parking is available for two cars at a small turnout at the intersection of Davis Road & Chesley Hill Road; look for the blue Chesley Meadows Preserve sign at the intersection. The preserve includes more than a half mile of Runaround Pond shoreline, along with a stream, open marsh, beaver lodges, and forested riparian zones. The trust prioritized the property due to mapped deer yards and significant wading bird and waterfowl habitat. A November 2015 article in the Tri-Town Weekly describes the history of the acquisition. Funding sources included private donors and the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership.
Runaround Pond Recreation Area. This popular spot is managed by the Town of Durham for paddling, fishing, skating, and many other adventures. Soon after paddlers or skaters leave the boat launch, the winding pond creates a near-wilderness experience with miles of undeveloped forested shoreline. The recreation area also protects and provides limited access (downstream) to the uppermost reaches of Chandler Brook (Middle Branch of the Royal River), stocked for trout. Chandler Brook can be paddled only at flood stage, only by skilled paddlers.
Old Crow Ranch. This private farm producing local hogs, chickens, and cattle is protected by an agricultural conservation easement held by the Royal River Conservation Trust, with funding from the Land for Maine’s Future program.