Chapman Pond is one of our favorite places to paddle in New England. Every time we've been there, we've witnessed something special. The first time it was a close up escort by beaver in the southern river entry. The next time was an extremely friendly bald eagle who sat unflinchingly above us about 15 feet away in a dead tree. Last week we had a similar situation with a flock 6-7 snowy egrets. There was also a huge great blue heron that had the squawk and look of a pterodactyl when it took off. Once, we witnessed a spectacular, mid-air battle for a caught fish between an osprey and a bald eagle. Another time, our beaver escort in a different location was not so friendly and decided to splash us with it's tail until we made our way past.
So Chapman is TEEMING with wildlife. The location is on the eastern shore of the CT River just south of the Goodspeed Opera House and Haddam Airport. Small planes will occasionally fly in low over the pond to land. The pond is only about 1 mile from Gillette Castle, but due to rolling hills, it can't be seen from the pond. You will occasionally see small power boats on the pond but usually they are fisherman quietly trawling.
Please don't tell anyone about this place. It's our little secret...
The Parkers Point boat launch has about 12 parking spaces and a picnic table. It's a popular place for dog owners to give their pets a chance to swim.
A permit is required for parking at the boat launch - Chester, CT residents get one free with photo identification; however, daily passes for non-residents are not sold (annual non-resident pass is $60).
The best way to get to the pond is to park across the river at the boat launch at Parkers Point Road off RT-154. If you drift down river as you cross, there is a not so small stream you can paddle up that is an exquisite little journey in itself. There is also a short easy entry located almost directly across from the boat launch just north of the tip of the islands. Watch for beaver protecting their condos in all of the entries. You can also put in at the dock behind the Goodspeed Opera House but it's pretty high at low tide.