by Kezia Bacon, Correspondent

Hanover’s Forge Pond Park is large (75 acres), and as you drive up the entrance road, it might be easy to presume from first glance that it is strictly an athletic complex surrounded by pine and oak forest. There are three baseball fields, three softball fields, and three multi-purpose fields, commonly filled with soccer teams on weekend mornings. There is also a pavilion with a concession stand, operated seasonally, and five distinct parking areas.

Look a little closer and you’ll notice a wide, paved trail extending along the perimeter. This 1-mile path is ideal for walking and wheelchair use, and provides an ideal venue for families with young children practicing their cycling skills. There are several dog waste receptacles along the path, encouraging proper disposal, as well as benches and the occasional Porta-Potty.

Look even closer — and for this you will have to venture beyond the lawns and the pavement — and you will begin to see the hidden gems of Forge Pond Park. Large green signs mark the access points for the five intersecting woodland trails that traverse the park’s boundaries and beyond, and offer views of Forge Pond, French’s Stream, the Drinkwater River, plus several smaller brooks and ponds. There is also a launch area on Forge Pond for canoes and kayaks.

The Forge Pond Trail begins near Parking Lot A. Look for the sign that marks the trailhead. As you head into the woods, you will see Forge Pond on your right. The trail continues along the water’s edge through a forest of pine, beech, oak and sassafras. The understory is rich with ferns and sweet pepper bush. If you only have time for a short walk, this could be your spot. The 0.22-mile trail offers a quick jaunt across pleasant terrain, with occasional spurs to the pond. Additional access to this trail can be found at Parking Lot E, where the Forge Pond and French’s Stream Trails intersect.

The French’s Stream Trail begins at Parking Lot E, as deep into the paved portion of the park as you can go. Look for the gravel path that heads down toward the water and the intersection with the Forge Pond Trail. It’s here that you will also find a gravel canoe/kayak launch ramp, a welcoming spot to access Forge Pond. From this intersection, The French’s Stream Trail (0.5 miles total) continues to the left, through woods of pine, oak, birch, beech and maple. You will soon encounter a short walkway over a stream, as well as an old stone wall. Farther into the forest, the trail forks. Follow the red blazes to the right for an up-close view of French’s Stream, or stay on the green trail. They converge a short distance later at the foot of the French’s Stream bridge, a wooden span at the confluence of French’s Stream and the Drinkwater River. The views from the bridge are quite captivating! The two streams flowing together, the tinkling of water over rocks, with so many different colors represented by the foliage, water and sky . . . this is truly a lovely spot. Continue over the bridge, through the woods for another quarter mile, to Circuit Street.

Summer Street Conservation Lands: Just before the French’s Stream Bridge, you may notice another trail, marked with red blazes, veering off to the left through a grassy power easement. This unnamed trail continues along the outer edge of Forge Pond Park for about a mile, mostly through Rockland’s 14-acre Summer Street Conservation Lands. After a second power easement, it connects with the Old Rockland Fireworks Loop Trail, as well as the Clark Bog Trail, both of which can also be accessed at Forge Pond Park.

The Old Rockland Fireworks Loop Trail is an unmarked 1-mile loop — mostly gravel, occasionally paved — that traverses flat terrain through woodlands composed of maple, birch, holly, pine and hemlock. Along the way you’ll see concrete structures that were once part of the National Fireworks Company, many now completely covered in graffiti. Small brooks run along both sides, and occasionally you’ll see a concrete pipe or culvert. There are three access points: from the trail through the Summer Street Conservation Lands, from the metal gate at the western end of the Clark Bog Trail, and from a trail that begins on Satucket Road in Rockland.

The Clark Bog Trail has several access points. You can walk in from King Street, or from Forge Pond Park’s Parking Lot C, where there is a large green sign. You can also pick up the trail on the Hanover/Rockland town line, at the gate at the southern intersection of the Old Rockland Fireworks Loop and the Summer Street Conservation trail. Clark Bog provides a network of intersecting wooded paths, mostly around a former cranberry bog, totaling about a mile. There are water views and noteworthy landscapes, such as the densely packed young trees where the cranberries used to grow. Be sure to heed all Private Property signs. The shooting range for the Hanover Police Department is immediately adjacent!

Forge Pond Park was established in 2014. It is thoughtfully designed and well-maintained, and definitely worth repeat visits. It is located at 253 King Street in Hanover. For more information visit

Kezia Bacon’s articles appear courtesy of the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, a local non-profit organization devoted to protecting our waters. For membership information and a copy of their latest newsletter, contact NSRWA at (781) 659-8168 or visit You will also find 20+ years of Kezia’s Nature columns there.