Very seldom does one find such a quiet place as Brick Pond Wetland Preserve. The pond comprises 30 acres of open water surrounded by emergent plants and a wet woods. A trail, including a pontoon bridge, leads visitors around the pond. An active beaver colony is easily visible from the trails. The Pond is known as one of the best birding sites in New York State, due to its tremendous warbler population in the spring and fall. Numerous other songbird and waterfowl species are also easily observed at this site.
The wetland, of which the Brick Pond is the deeper western end, was left when the nearby Susquehanna River changed course. During the last century until the 1880's, excavation of blue-gray clay by the Hollenbeck family was used for brickmaking. The kiln was located at the Owego village end of the present pond. When local demand for brick diminished, the kiln ceased operation and local children reclaimed the pond as an ice skating spot.
Thirty acres of the western end of this wetland, the old brickyard area, were bought by Mr. Peter B. Ellis of Owego, to preserve this section as a wildlife sanctuary for the enjoyment of wildlife and people. In 1977, Mr. Ellis donated 24 acres to Waterman Conservation Education Center and in July 1985 donated the remaining 6 acres to the Tioga County Boys and Girls Club. The Boys and Girls club has since donated their acreage to Waterman Center.
The Hollenbeck Creek flows into Brick Pond and then funnel through a culvert at the western end of the pond into the Susquehanna River. The pond is also fed by run off from the surrounding hills, ground water, and serves as a sponge soaking up excess water from the Susquehanna River during flooding and high water.
The total wetland area is protected against industrial development or other degradation under the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Wetlands Act of 1975. The Brick Pond was given Class II grading under this act and became subject to the local law of Tioga County in 1976. Brick Pond also fall under section 404 (Clean Water Act) of the EPA.
|Brick Pond Update|
Brick Pond now has a Critter Trust. This Trust was set up with a $100,000 anonymous donation. The interest earned from this money will go toward wildlife and trail maintenance at the pond. When the Trust reaches $200,000 the interest earned will be spent on wildlife and trail maintenance at other wildlife refuges in addition to the Brick Pond. Please help support our "critters" and give a gift which will last forever.
From Route 17, take exit 65 to 17c west toward Owego. Travel approximately 1 mile. Turn right on East Front Street. A parking area is a few blocks on the right.