One of OCT’s most popular properties with walkers, the Mill Pond Valley Conservation Area has a mile-long trail stretching from Champlain Road to the shores of Mill Pond in East Orleans. Its unique features include historic stone walls, a vernal pool, and a coastal plain pond that’s a hot spot for observing migrating waterfowl, including wood ducks.
Held by: OCT
Location: 13 Champlain Road, East Orleans
Trail length: 1 mile
Year acquired: 1975–1996 (various parcels at different times)
Volunteer Steward: Position open
From the intersection of Rt 28 and Main Street in Orleans, drive east on Main Street (.4 mi) toward Nauset Beach. Turn left on Tonset Rd at the light and follow to Hopkins Lane, where you make a slight right (.5). Continue to Brick Hill Rd, bear left (1mi), then a slight right on Champlain Rd. Continue to 13 Champlain Rd. Park on right side of road next to OCT conservation area (look for OCT sign and kiosk). Notes: The most enjoyable direction of travel is to walk the trail south to Little Cove, follow the coastal bank east towards the Mill Pond landing, and walk the road back around to your parked car.
Mill Pond Valley Conservation Area comprises 13 acres with a 1-mile trail stretching from Champlain Road to the shores of Mill Pond. Just a few of the unique features found on site are the historic stone walls, a vernal pool, and a coastal plain pond that is a hot spot for observing migrating waterfowl, including wood ducks. Like much of East Orleans, the land is heavily overgrown with invasive species in places, and so it’s a frequent target for OCT volunteer workdays. Orin Tovrov, one of the original founders and first president of the Orleans Conservation Trust, placed a conservation restriction over the land in 1975—one of the first of its kind for OCT. After his passing, Orin’s children subsequently donated the land outright to the Trust in 1996.
“Living in the Mill Pond Valley adds an extra dollop of beauty to life on Cape Cod. We walk the trails at least once or twice a day. Our favorite time is early morning, when we walk to the high point overlooking Little Mill Pond. Dianne has dubbed this place the “chapel”— as the morning sun peeks through the trees and glistens on the water, we offer a word of gratitude for such a place. On occasion we also mention our thanks to Orin Tovrov for protecting this land, and to his children for giving it to Orleans Conservation Trust.” —OCT member Doug Fromm