Owned and managed by Maine DIFW, Chandler Mill Pond in New Gloucester is one of the Royal River’s few headwater ponds. This 47 acre pond sits on a 117 acre forested parcel and has a hand-carry boat launch for water access, wiht a wheelchair accessible path leading to the pond and launch. The pond is near New Gloucester’s growing Upper Village, and just miles from the Auburn city limits. Chandler Mill Pond and its immediate watershed are nearly entirely undeveloped; the pond supports a high quality trout fishery with free public access. The pond is very productive and has produced exceptional fishing for brook trout, including trout of noteworthy size. Since 2007 the pond has been exclusively managed for rainbow trout.
Maine DIFW in 2018 constructed a modern hand-carry boat access facility with a 1000 foot paved wheel-chair accessible trail between the parking area and the pond. Very informal woods trails begin at the parking area.
The formal boat access point is on Snow Hill Road in New Gloucester. From New Gloucester Village head northwest on Intervale Road (Route 231) for 1.9 miles. Intervale Road turns into Bald Hill Road after crossing Route 100. Continue straight for 0.3 miles. Turn left on Shaker Road/Snow Hill Road for 1 mile. The turn off to Chandler Mill Pond’s boat access parking lot will be on your left, soon after the Turnpike underpass.
Other portions of the shoreline on Chandler Mill Road provides informal access.
The long-time landowners transferred the parcel to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife (DIFW) on March 22, 2016. The parcel has thus become a state wildlife management area, managed for its exceptional fishery. A portion of the appraised value of the parcel was donated; the remaining appraised value was paid for by DIFW using federal Dingell-Johnson Act sport fish restoration and boat access funds. RRCT played various important roles to assist with project management.
RRCT, with the unanimous support of the Town of New Gloucester selectmen, has initiated a re-naming process with the US Geological Survey/US Board of Geological Names (USBGN) to formally name the pond “Chandler Mill Pond” consistent with its historic name. It is still legally known to USGS as “Lily Pond.”
Here are some historic photos of the Chandler Mill.
Here is proof that there are too many Lily Ponds in Maine.
Below are excerpts from 2018 submissions to USGS, prepared with the help of Chandler descendants:
“If necessary that “Chandler Mill Pond” be viewed as honoring and individual, rather than the mill or road or place or history generally, the Royal River Conservation Trust recommends honoring Charles Peleg Chandler who was born on August 14, 1857 and passed away on November 1, 1926.
“He and his three brothers bought the mill from their uncle in the 1890s and were known as the Chandler Brothers. However, Charles Peleg soon bought out his brothers and it became his operation on the Lily Pond.
“What has impressed us were the things he did for the business and for the community. Sawmills of that era ( late 1800s to early 1900s) were often just seasonal operations. His mill was enclosed and multi-storied in order to run year round which provided a steady source of local employment. They made a great deal more than just dimension lumber including wooden rowboats. On site was a boarding house to provide housing for employees…as needed. They carried items needed locally that essentially made the mill a hardware store for the community. He also had many interests that provided local employment. He farmed, raised cattle, chickens and grew a variety of crops. Much of the hay reached the Boston market via the local railroads. He fired the steam driven sawmill with waste wood and sawdust. Excess sawdust was sold locally for home heating. And today we think pellets and the use of waste wood is a new idea?! He also started the first telephone company here in New Gloucester and likely the initial thought was to communicate with the mill from his home in Lower Gloucester. The company still exists as OTEL in its current iteration. In reading old correspondence he communicated with the Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C. in the early 1900s expressing concern over the future of White Pine in Maine. Another example of his forward thinking and concerns for the environment.”
“The Royal River Conservation Trust is honored to have helped guarantee permanent public access and conservation of the Chandler Mill Pond, after working closely for several years with the landowners, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife (DIFW), and so many others. Working together, we have now passed the Chandler Mill Pond to DIFW and the next generation of anglers, paddlers, skaters, birders, and others for their enjoyment. This pond will be treasured by our grandchildren and their grandchildren. We are all indebted to the foresight and generosity of the landowners.”
Former President of the Board of Directors
Royal River Conservation Trust
“This is a great project. I’ve used the pond since I was very young and camped there as a Boy Scout.”
Steve Libby, Selectman
“Congratulations to the Royal River Conservation Trust on the Chandler Mill Pond project. There are so many good things happening in the watershed and so many opportunities to protect and restore the Royal. It is encouraging to see what we can do when we work together!”
David Miller, Sebago Chapter, Trout Unlimited