8. Treasure Pond Trail in the Charles B. Ferguson Wildlife Sanctuary
The Treasure Pond Trail offers 1.5 miles of easy walking, including a large interior loop through a wooded area. This trail provides access points to both Middle Farms Pond and Treasure Pond. The easiest trailhead is the eastern entrance, located across from one of the Chocomount Trail entrances. Take Treasure Pond Road, the first right turn before the big rock (Bull Rock) when heading east. The parking area is on the right a short distance from the main road. The western access to this trail is near the very end of Middle Farm Road, where this dirt road terminates. Proceed up the paved private road to the top of the hill, bearing to the left at an intersection. Just beyond the intersection, look to the left for the signage indicating the trailhead.
Entering from the east, there is a short walk along a mowed path to viewing areas of Treasure Pond and Middle Farms Pond. Interesting mushrooms and Clubmoss (also called Princess Pine) adorn this portion of the trail. On the right side of the path are thickets of Sweet Pepperbush, as well as Black Gum and Red Maple. Continuing, the trail splits as it begins to gain elevation.
If you follow the southwesterly fork, the vegetation changes as you enter a higher, drier environment. On the left you’ll catch more views of Treasure Pond before the trail takes a westerly turn. (The pond was so named because it hosted a search for treasure in 1894 that was based on a 1770 treasure map. Unfortunately, repeated attempts by a hard hat diver failed to locate chests of silver and gold, turning up nothing but mud.) A spur trail travels south through a forested area with vegetation that shifts dramatically due to salt spray exposure. The trail is lined with Northern Bayberry, and it terminates at the edge of a bluff with a dramatic view overlooking Block Island Sound.
After doubling back to the main trail, continue moving west. At the next fork, you can either continue straight to reach the west entrance or take the right fork that loops back to the original trail. There is a layer of Black Cherry below and an understory mostly comprised of Canada Mayflower, Catbrier, Poison Ivy, Highbush Blueberry, Northern Bayberry and Arrowwood. Side trails provide access to Middle Farms Pond. Ospreys often perch on dead trees in this area, as evidenced by the piles of bird droppings and fish parts. As the trail turns back to the east, there are a number of mature pine trees that were planted in the 1930’s by Henry L. Ferguson, Charlie Ferguson’s father, to give his son an “out West” view from his home across Middle Farms. They have since been surrounded by native trees. The trail continues downhill and rejoins the original trail at the first fork.