Squantz Pond State Park

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Coordinates: 41°30′38″N 73°28′35″W / 41.51056°N 73.47639°W / 41.51056; -73.47639
Squantz Pond State Park
Connecticut State Park
Squantz Pond early morning autumn.JPG
Country  United States
State  Connecticut
County Fairfield
Town New Fairfield
Elevation 459 ft (140 m) [1]
Coordinates 41°30′38″N 73°28′35″W / 41.51056°N 73.47639°W / 41.51056; -73.47639 [1]
Area 172 acres (70 ha) [2]
Established 1926
Management Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Location in Connecticut
Website: Squantz Pond State Park

Squantz Pond State Park is a state park located 10 miles (16 km) north of Danbury in the town of New Fairfield, Connecticut. The park offers opportunities for swimming, fishing, hiking and boating.[3]

History[edit]

Settlers from Fairfield, Connecticut received approval from the General Assembly to establish a new township and they negotiated with Chief Squantz of the Schaghticoke (tribe), a tribe of Algonquian lineage. Alternatively, it is told that they did not negotiate with Chief Squantz because he moved to the north end of Squantz Pond land area and refused to "sell" the township of New Fairfield, but they continued to send lawyers and finally got the drawn marks of several other native people who may not have had authority to sell the land. (Reference is a history book on New Fairfield.) They "purchased" a 32,000 acre (130 km²) tract of land, that is now New Fairfield and Sherman, for the equivalent of about 300 dollars and on April 24, 1729, The deed was recorded on May 9, 1729, and is now deposited in the archives of the State Capitol in Hartford, Connecticut.

It is said that Squantz Pond State Park takes its name from Chief Squantz who lived at the northern tip of the lake, which is now separated from the rest of Candlewood Lake by the Route 39 causeway. Before becoming a state park, the area around Squantz Pond was also a farm and an apple orchard. Despite many changes to the land, the presence of the original residents is still marked by occasionally uncovered artifacts such as stone adzes, mallets and other tools. The remains of an Indian canoe over 22 feet long and 5 feet wide was raised from the bottom of the lake, leading to speculation that even before the settlers came, Squantz Pond may have been much larger than it was just prior to its expansion during the flooding of Candlewood Lake.

State park information[edit]

New Fairfield, CT U.S.A.
178 Shortwoods Road
New Fairfield, CT 06810
U.S.A.
203-797-4165

Open Year-Round - Entry Fee Charged

Picnicking, Hiking, Beaches, Canoeing, Kayaking, Boat Launch, Fishing, Cross-Country Skiing, Snowshoeing, Snowmobiling, Bird Watching, Nature Viewing, Wheelchair Accessible

Park hours[edit]

Connecticut State Parks are open from 8:00 AM to Sunset.

Pets and alcohol[edit]

  • Pets are not permitted in the park during the summer season from April 15 through September 30. Pets on a leash are permitted in picnic areas and on hiking trails from October 1 to April 14.[3]
  • Alcohol-free park. Please do not bring alcoholic beverages.[3]

Swimming safety[edit]

Check out the State Park & Forest Swimming Safety Information from the DEEP.

Trails[edit]

From the west side, the main trail starts from the north end of the picnic area; it follows the edges of the lake’s western shoreline for 2 miles to a peninsula that juts out into the lake (and has an unobstructed view of the entire lake). The lake is always visible, so there is no fear of getting lost.

A green trail travels north to Worden Brook and then head southwest, passing the northern end of the yellow trail, and turns to heads eastward to the southern part of the yellow trail which continues east to bring you back to the outgoing green trail. A shortcut can be had to shorten the green trail circular walk by taking the yellow trail south when it first appears.

An unmarked trail goes along the west shoreline of Squantz Pond. Some old reddish-brown markers can still be seen. But the trail is easy enough to follow because it parallels the shoreline. It is mostly a hemlock laden area with quite a few rapidly flowing streams splashing down to the lake. There are also many interesting rock formations. A little less than half-way there is a nice open area and a rock on which you can stand and look back at the beach at Squantz Pond State Park. (Also along the way, a red-blazed trail comes down the steep grade from Pootatuck Mountain.) This trail ends near Worden Brook where a bushwhack South leads to the main trail.

TRAIL MAP

Squantz Pond[edit]

Squantz Pond
Squantz.jpg
from space (NASA photo)
Location Fairfield County, Connecticut,
United States
Lake type periglacial
Basin countries United States
Surface area 288 acres (117 ha)
Average depth 22.9 ft (7.0 m)
Max. depth 47 ft (14 m)
Water volume 2 billion US gallons (7,600,000 m³)
Surface elevation 429 m
Settlements New Fairfield and Sherman

Lying in the Fairfield County towns of Sherman and New Fairfield, Squantz Pond is part of Candlewood Lake but is separated from the main body of the lake by Route 39. Squantz Pond is natural in origin; however, its level was raised when Candlewood Lake was impounded in 1923. The lake has a surface area of approximately 288 acres (1.2 km²), a maximum depth of 47 feet (14 m), an average depth of 22.9 feet (7 m), and holds approximately 2 billion US gallons (7,600,000 m³) of water.

The shoreline bottom materials consist mostly of rocks, ledge, and gravel. Mud and organic muck cover the relatively flat areas of the bottom. The lake is fed by Glen Brook from the north, Worden Brook from the west, and several small unnamed streams.

The watershed of Squantz Pond is 3,635 acres (15 km²). Woodlands, wetlands, and water comprise approximately 80 percent of the watershed, 15 percent is moderate to low-density housing, while the remaining 5 percent is open land and farm land.

The eastern shoreline is developed with homes, while the western shoreline is steep and wooded. The southwestern shoreline borders Squantz Pond State Park. Facilities in the park include concession stands, picnic areas, beach and swimming areas, toilets, and hiking trails.

Public access to Squantz Pond is provided through a state owned boat launch located in the State Park. Boats launched from the State Park are limited to a maximum of 7.5 horsepower (6 kW). The launch can be reached by taking Interstate 84, Exit 5 to Route 37 north, to Route 39 north to the State Park entrance.

The launch has a ramp of concrete pads with an asphalt approach. There is parking for 25 cars at the launch.

An aquatic survey of Squantz Pond was published in 1988. The survey found aquatic vegetation in Squantz Pond to be sparse and limited to the shallower areas in the northern section. Species observed included Bushy pondweed (Najas flexilis, Najas minor), Bulrush (Scirpus sp.), and cattail (Typha sp.)

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection periodically stocks both brown and rainbow trout in Squantz Pond. Other species found in the lake include Largemouth Bass, Yellow Perch, White Perch, Walleye, and Chain Pickerel.

The current Connecticut Angler's Guide has specific fish consumption advisory information, as well as, the most recent rules governing sport fishing.

SOURCE - Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Copyright 1998-2004

Squantz pond panorama.png

Plant species[edit]

Trees[edit]

Acer pensylvanicum (Striped Maple) lots, Acer rubrum (Red Maple), Acer saccharum (Sugar Maple), Betula lenta (Sweet Birch), Betula papyrifera (Paper Birch), Betula populifolia (Gray Birch), Carpinus caroliniana (American Hornbeam), Carya ovata (Shagbark Hickory), Cornus Florida (Flowering Dogwood), Juniperus virginiana (Eastern Juniper), Larix laricina (Tamarack Larch), Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip tree), Picea pungens (Blue Spruce), Pinus strobus (Eastern White Pine), Populus grandidentata (Big-toothed Aspen), Prunus serotina (Black Cherry), Quercus alba (White oak), Quercus prinus (Chestnut oak), Quercus rubra (Red oak), Sassafras albidum (Sassafras), Tsuga canadensis (Eastern Hemlock)

NOTE: The Hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae) is rapidly destroying the Eastern Hemlock population at the park and surrounding areas.

Shrubs[edit]

Chimaphila maculata (Spotted wintergreen), Clethra alnifolia (Sweet pepperbush), Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel), Kalmia latifolia (Mountain laurel), Lindera benzoin (Spicebush), Mitchella repens (Partridgeberry), Rosa multiflora (Multiflora rose) Rubus occidentalis (Black raspberry), Rubus phoenicolasius (Wineberry), Viburnum sp. (Viburnum)

Vines[edit]

Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic staff vine), Toxicodendron radicans (Poison-ivy), Vitis sp. (Grape)

Herbs[edit]

Alliaria petiolata (Garlic mustard), Artemisia vulgaris (Common mugwort), Epifagus virginiana (Beech-drops), Galium sp. (Bedstraw), Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe), Rumex crispus (Curled Dock), Rumex obtusifolius (Broadleaf Dock), Solidago spp. (Goldenrod), Typha sp. (Cattail), Verbascum thapsus (Common mullein)

Sedges[edit]

cf. Carex laxiflora (Sedge), Carex stricta (Tussock sedge), Scirpus sp. (Bulrush)

Grasses[edit]

Setaria italica (Foxtail millet)

Ferns[edit]

Dryopteris sp. (Woodferns), Onoclea sensibilis (Sensitive fern), Polypodium sp. (Rock cap ferns) lots, Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern) lots

Others[edit]

Liverworts, Najas flexilis, Najas minor

Fish species[edit]

Largemouth bass, Smallmouth bass, Yellow perch, White perch, Sunfish, Walleye, Chain pickerel, Brown trout, Rainbow trout, Catfish, Crayfish

Water quality[edit]

The water of Squantz Pond is moderately productive, and of suitable quality for all recreational water uses, including swimming, boating, and fishing. The productivity, or ability to support plant life, is due to the concentrations of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, found in the water. The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection has classified Squantz Pond, as mesotrophic, due to its moderate nutrient concentrations, good clarity, and other water quality characteristics.

Dissolved oxygen (DO) is a requirement for the respiration of fish and other aquatic organisms. The concentration of DO depends, in part, on water temperature, as cold water can hold more DO than warm water. Because of this, season also affects the distribution of DO in the lake. In the fall, as temperature decreases, the cooled DO-rich surface waters begin to descend toward the bottom because of the difference in density, (water density increases with falling temperatures until it reaches its maximum density at 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius), below which it decreases). This mixing of the water due to the difference in density, along with mixing by wind, transports DO to the deeper waters of the lake and results in relatively uniform conditions from the surface to the bottom of the lake by winter. This condition can be seen in the winter profile of DO and temperature (Winter Profile), where the DO concentrations are relatively uniform with depth.

In the spring and summer, the surface waters of the lake are warmed by increasing temperatures and the sun. This warmer, less-dense water remains at the surface, and the lake becomes thermally stratified. As a result of this stratification, there is little mixing of the shallow and deep water in the lake. Thus, DO, which enters the water primarily from the atmosphere and from photosynthesis carried out by aquatic plants, is not transported to deeper water. Near the bottom, the consumption of DO by aquatic organisms and chemical reactions exceed the rate of replenishment, resulting in lower DO levels. This condition can be seen in the summer profile of DO and temperature (Summer Profile), where the DO concentrations decrease rapidly below about 18 feet and are less than 1 milligram per liter below 24 feet. During periods when these low DO conditions exist, there is insufficient DO to support most types of game fish in deeper waters of the lake, and they will normally move to upper layers of the lake where higher DO concentrations are found.

The pH of the water indicates whether it is acidic or alkaline. The pH level is measured on a scale from 0 to 14, where 7.0 is considered neutral, less than 7.0 acidic, and greater than 7.0 alkaline. Highly acidic or alkaline water can be detrimental to aquatic organisms. The ideal range for most freshwater game fish is from 6.5 to 9.0, however, most adult game fish can tolerate pH as low as 5.5. The pH of Squantz Pond ranges from 6.8 to 8.9, which is adequate for most gamefish.

Alkalinity, which is a measure of the ability of water to neutralize acid, is relatively high in Squantz Pond. For this reason, the lake is not very susceptible to acidification.

Safety concerns[edit]

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection began keeping records on drownings at Connecticut state parks in 1996 and since then 15 people have died at Squantz Pond State Park.

In July 2007, DEP officials made "the Rocks" off limits to beachgoers. In response to the drownings and pressure from local officials, the state announced plans to reduce the parking capacity of the park from about 500 cars to about 250, and to post signs on nearby Interstate 84 announcing if the park has reached capacity. Officials said the reduced capacity would help DEP prevent swimming outside of authorized areas.[4]

On Labor Day 2007, an 18-year-old man from Queens, N.Y., became the third drowning victim of 2007[5] at about 1 p.m. at East Beach, an area that was not protected by lifeguards because the state DEP believed the drowning danger to be lower than other sections of the park.[6]

In June 2008, DEP unveiled several improvements to the park designed to improve the safety of swimmers. The designated beach swimming area was enlarged and clearly marked to make it more attractive to swimmers, trees were removed to improve the sight lines of on-duty lifeguards, and a dock was installed for a patrol boat.[7]

The other Squantz Pond victims drowned in the areas known as "the Rocks"[8] and the unroped section of "Squantz Cove" that are outside the designated swimming area. These areas also were not protected by lifeguards. "Tree Jump [1]" is a video example of a highly risky maneuver conducted by a park-goer at the Rocks.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Squantz Pond State Park". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee (January 23, 2014). "State Parks and Forests: Funding". Staff Findings and Recommendations. Connecticut General Assembly. p. A-3. Retrieved March 20, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Squantz Pond State Park". State Parks and Forests. Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Retrieved February 5, 2013. 
  4. ^ "State restricts Squantz Pond access". The News-Times (Danbury, CT). July 12, 2007. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  5. ^ "Man drowns at Squantz Pond". The News-Times (Danbury, CT). September 2, 2007. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  6. ^ "Third drowning at Squantz Pond 'a tragic end to the summer'". The News-Times (Danbury, CT). September 3, 2007. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  7. ^ "Crews prepare for Squantz Pond swimming season". The News-Times (Danbury, CT). May 15, 2008. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  8. ^ "Record number drown at park". The News-Times (Danbury, CT). December 29, 2007. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 

External links[edit]