The Mooseway is a winter-only trail for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing that runs 1.4 miles from the Mud Pond Trail to the Little Cherry Pond Trail. It leaves the Mud Pond Trail 0.2 miles from the Mud Pond trailhead (look for a trail sign on the left at the junction) and is marked with blue diamonds. Passing through cutover forest, a black spruce swamp and, near the Little Cherry Pond Trail, a spruce fir forest, the trail is a great place to look for wildlife tracks in the snow. When you reach the junction with the Little Cherry Pond Trail, the platform on Little Cherry Pond is 0.3 miles to the right and a nice viewpoint of Cherry Pond is 0.4 miles to the left.
Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge was created in 1963 when New Hampshire Audubon and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department acquired 312 acres of land around Cherry and Little Cherry Ponds from the Brown Paper Company. Much of the credit for this acquisition goes to Tudor Richards, a longtime member and leader of New Hampshire Audubon. Inspired by Horace Wright’s The Birds of the Jefferson Region in the White Mountains, Richards made many birding trips to Cherry and Little Cherry Ponds, beginning in the late 1940s, and developed a deep love for the area. His vision and determination were instrumental in the creation of the refuge, which he called “Pondicherry”, a name found on early maps of the region.
In 2000, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service acquired 670 acres of land adjacent to the Audubon tract and, partnering with New Hampshire Audubon and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, established the Pondicherry National Wildlife Refuge. Using money from the Federal Duck Stamp Program, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service continued to acquire additional tracts of land, so that the refuge now covers nearly 6500 acres.
(From the Friends of Pondicherry National Wildlife Refuge website)
Wildlife at Pondicherry
Pondicherry has a wide variety of wildlife, including birds, moose, bears, beavers, snowshoe hares, turtles, butterflies, and dragonflies. Refuge checklists have been compiled for Birds, Mammals, Reptiles and Amphibians, Fish, Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies), and Butterflies. These checklists, as well as more information about Pondicherry’s wildlife, can be found on the Birding and Wildlife pages on the Friends of Pondicherry National Wildlife Refuge website.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service, NH Audubon, NH Fish and Game Department, and the NH Trails Bureau manage Pondicherry as a conservation partnership. A volunteer organization called the Friends of Pondicherry helps maintain the trails and wildlife habitat and sponsors periodic field and work trips on the refuge. For more information, visit the Friends of Pondicherry National Wildlife Refuge website.
The Mooseway starts 0.2 miles down the Mud Pond Trail. The trailhead for the latter is located off NH-116 in Jefferson, about 3 miles from US-2 in Jefferson or 6 miles from US-3 in Whitefield. Driving down NH-116 from Jefferson, look for a Silvio O. Conte sign on the left (coming from Whitefield, the sign will be on the right). Turn onto the gravel access road and drive a short distance to the parking lot, which is plowed in the winter. Proceed 0.2 miles down the Mud Pond Trail to the junction with the Mooseway.
E911 address for Mud Pond trailhead: 543 Bailey Road, Jefferson, NH 03583 (NH-116)
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