Goose Pond, in Grafton County, NH, is considered a “great pond” by the State of NH. It is a 625-acre manmade pond
with 6.3 miles of shoreline, and is approximately three miles long and one-half mile wide, with the majority of the pond in
Canaan, NH, and the remainder in Hanover, NH. The average depth of the pond is approximately 10 feet, with the deepest
part at approximately 35 feet. The pond is part of the Mascoma River watershed which flows into the Connecticut River.
There is evidence of Goose Pond in the late 1700's. According to legend (see The History of Canaan, NH 1910 by William
& James Wallace), George Harris and his party, in 1767, "came upon a sheet of water near Hanover, whose surface
seemed to be alive with wild geese and ducks. They killed a goose - an old one - and cooked it, all day, and then it was
tough. It never got to be a tender goose, and to commemorate this circumstance they named that water 'Goose Pond.' "
A small wooden dam was built in 1899 which increased the size of the pond and served to mainly store water for use by the woolen mills in Lebanon, NH. In 1917-18, Granite State Electric purchased the pond and surrounding land rights in order to build the present dam and expand Goose Pond's water capacity. The dam was repaired in 1952 and 1990. It has served as an energy reserve for the woolen mills, and for hydroelectric plants. In the early 1970's Granite State Electric stopped draining down the pond, and in 1979 they sold the pond, the dam, and abutting properties it owned to the State of New Hampshire for a nominal sum in return for tax abatements. New Hampshire Water Resources currently holds the rights, and still sells waterpower once a year in a draw-down, generating funds to maintain the dam. The pond continues to serve as an important recreational, scenic, and ecological resource in the Mascoma River Watershed.
There are two islands on the pond, known as “The Big Island” and "The Little Island”, and there is one boat launch area, known as “The Acre”, which is owned by the State. At The Acre there is a small public beach, and another near the dam at the southern tip of the pond. There is no overnight camping and fires are not allowed at The Acre, the dam area, or on the two islands. Fires are allowed on private property with a free permit from the Fire Warden.
There are 175 cottages or homes directly on (87) or across the road from the pond, with over 46 that are used by year-round residents. The shoreline is primarily owned by the state, with a few privately owned shores.
A variety of wildlife is seen (and heard) near the pond throughout the year, including moose, bear, deer, wild turkeys, fox, and coyote. Otters, beavers, and minks are often seen near the shoreline, and turtles can often be spotted in the pond. The bird population is very diverse, including osprey, eagles, great blue herons, plover, kingfisher, Canadian geese, a variety of ducks, and loons.
Goose Pond has the New Hampshire state record for smallmouth bass, a 23.75", 7 lb. 14.5 oz. fish caught by Francis H. Lord, a police chief from western Massachusetts, in August 1970. The pond also has largemouth bass, pickerel, and hornpout.
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