WINDHAM — The waters are flowing and the wildlife has returned to Moeckel Pond.
And now those who hope to enjoy the watery views from a canoe or kayak have a new recreational area at the pond.
The Simpson Mill Canoe Launch at Moeckel Pond is now officially open.
The Windham Endowment for Community Advancement announced the opening of the launch and dock, all ADA compliant, and allowing public access to the pond for fishing, canoeing and kayaking.
The launch follows the successful rebuilding last fall of the Marston-Finn Conservation Dam and restoration of the water and, in turn, a return of aquatic wildlife like loons, mergansers, and ospreys.
The new recreational area is a true community project.
“This has been a great example of a public/private partnership with the Friends of Moeckel Pond and the Windham Endowment working together with the town, especially the Recreation Department, Conservation Commission, Board of Selectmen and General Services Department for the benefit of the public good both recreationally and environmentally,” said Cheryl Haas, Windham’s Parks and Recreation director.
The pond and dam have a long history.
The 40-acre pond and its surrounding shores were once a thriving recreational draw in the area, attracting people who love to observe the resident birds and other fowl fluttering in and out of the water.
In its earlier days, the pond was known as Simpson’s Pond, a tribute to the original dam owners.
The dam dated back to 1778, with its water-powered mill wheel that was a strong economic engine for lumber and grain efforts.
The property changed hands through the years, with William and Gertrude Moeckel eventually lending their name to the pond.
The pond and dam property eventually came under the watchful eye of the Friends of Moeckel Pond with a charge to help keep the spot in its natural state and for the public to enjoy.
But the dam failed.
In 2002, the state issued a letter of deficiency. The dam was officially breached in 2010 and the pond waters were drained.
Supporters jumped in to help save the dam and bring the property back to life, leading to the reconstruction of the dam and now the new launch/dock area.
Visitors coming to the pond like what they see.
“We used the launch to get ourselves in and out of the pond,” said Windham resident Anneliese Pitt. “We positioned our kayaks so they weren’t tippy when climbing in, and the rollers made it so you could launch yourself out and away and it was easy to pull ourselves back out of the water, by ourselves. What an invention.”
Another Windham resident, April Vavra, said her son Max, 8, is a big fan.
“Max meets up with friends at the dock and has a great time fishing,” Vavra said. “It has been great to see the revitalization of Moeckel Pond and now the new launch makes it ever more accessible for everyone to use.”
The launch is open dawn to dusk May 1 through Nov. 1. There is no motorized craft allowed and no swimming. Visitors can use the public parking area accessed from Bayleaf Way off of Simpson Road in Pelham, known as Marblehead Road in Windham.