Turtle Pond (formerly Mendel's Pond)
Leather Hill -- north of AT, Patterson, Putnam County, New York
44 acres

The acquisition borders the Putnam County Land Trust's Luschinsky and Sterling Farm Preserves, and completes a key 100 acre upland forest corridor owned by PCLT that will bridge Cornwall Hill.  It also connects the Swamp along Route 22 with the Ice Pond and Muddy Brook at routes 164 and 312.


Saw Mill River Parkway north to US 684 north; take US 684 to where it ends with a merge onto Route 22 north; turn left on Route 164 (across from a shopping center with a McDonalds); drive west until you see a big pond on the right (with its western side adjacent to Route 64 -- Cornwall Hill Road).  There is a parking area(?) next to the driveway nearest the pond. 


Turtle Pond drains to the Muddy Brook and Ice Pond.  Muddy Brook empties into the East Branch of the Croton River and the Great Swamp.


1788  --  Turtle Pond was part of land originally conveyed to Mary Haines.

1900  --  the pond was probably created around this time by damming the stream and flooding a marshy area to provide ice for a nearby dairy-turned-chicken farm (based on research by Chris Maher). Turtle Pond took its name from the many turtles that lived there, including snapping turtles.

1920's  --   at this time the area was a 208-acre dairy farm owned by Linus Johnson.

after WWII  --  the dairy farm was converted to a chicken farm.

1966  --   the farm was subdivided into several properties.

recent times  --Chris and Leslie Maher now own the yellow farmhouse, which is directly across the street.

The acquisition was worked out with Shelia and Bill Hamilton by FrOGS, the Putnam County Land Trust (PCLT) and The Naturee Conservancy. It was coordinated by Hunter Pollock of PCLT.  "Our family received so much pleasure from this property," said Bill Hamilton. "We were glad we could help the three organizations achieve their goal to preserve it for future generations."

The money for the preservation of the area came from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) federal grant to FrOGS and its 12 partners.

As part of the agreement, the name of Mendel's Pond will be changed back to "Turtle Pond," its original name.


forested slope, springs that feed the pond.


Turtle Pond provides breeding habitat for wood ducks, kingfishers and green herons, and becomes a migratory stopover diner for waterbirds during the spring and fall migration. Ring neck ducks, green winged teal, black ducks and mallard ducks generally remain until the pond freezes over and are back early in the spring as they "fatten up" for flights to their appointed destinations. Other waterbirds using the pond for migration refueling include pied-billed grebe, hooded merganser, ruddy duck, and blue-winged teal. Shorebird species such as spotted, least and solitary sandpipers feed on the insects that hatch on the lily pads and floating vegetative matter on the surface. Even an osprey has been spotted.

Source: FrOGS (Friends of the Great Swamp); http://www.frogs-ny.org/TurtlePond.htm#; Michael Risinit, April 11, 2004, "Pond sold for preservation", Journal News, http://thejournalnews.com/newsroom/041104/b0111turtlepond.html.


4/21/04.  I parked by a small area that could pass for a pull-off area with a little imagination.  But there was no hook-up with a trail.  The way down to the pond from here is blocked by scads of invasive species.  It looks like they have not had enough time to make the place more plainly accessible to the public.

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
date = date the plant found in bloom, 4/21/04

Acer rubrum (red maple) 4/21/04
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Picea abies (Norway spruce) planted; forming a hedge along Cornwall Hill Road
Salix sp. (willow) 4/21/04

Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry) 4/21/04 soon
Forsythia sp. (golden bells) planted 4/21/04
Lindera benzoin (spicebush) 4/21/04
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)

Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Arctium sp. (burdock)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Cardamine parviflora? (dry land bittercress)? 4/21/04
Chelidonium majus (celandine)
Cirsium sp. (thistle)
Galium sp. (madder)
Hemerocallis fulva (tawny day lily)
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)
Rumex obtusifolius (broad dock)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Typha latifolia (broad-leaved cattail)

Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)

lily pads on the pond