Secret pond finds new life
The Brunswick News
By Donna Stillinger
December 12, 2014
For years, locals and longtime visitors to Jekyll Island have enjoyed wildlife viewing and basking in the tranquility of a secluded pond.
Now, more people can visit Horton Pond to appreciate its natural beauty for generations to come.
Horton Pond can be found down a short dirt road, off North Beachview Drive just across from Villas by the Sea.
The pond site supports a healthy population of fish and turtles and provides habitat for alligators and a diversity of birds.
Past visitors had taken a toll on the small pond. The Jekyll Island Authority, saying there was too much littering, animal harassment and alligator feeding, decided protections were needed to provide visitors with the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful space without disturbing its ecosystem.
Thanks to donations from residents and area businesses, those protections are now in place. Over the past several months, JIA workers have installed an accessible viewing platform, a half-mile nature trail, an ADA-compliant parking area, educational signs, raccoon-proof trash containers and an array of wildlife habitat improvements at Horton Pond.
Ben Carswell, JIA director of conservation, says steps taken will provide recreational and educational opportunities for visitors while protecting the natural beauty and ecological diversity of the site.
“We have installed the proper infrastructure so visitors of all ages and abilities will have the opportunity to see turtles and alligators basking in the sun, explore the maritime forest and see a variety of bird species in their natural habitat,” he said.
The work at the pond was Carswell’s brainchild. One part of the project involved excavating around the north edge of the pond to create a small island for wading-bird nesting.
“Creating a small island in the pond will allow a safe haven for waders like egrets and heron to build nests away from hunting raccoons,” Carswell stated.
To better see those birds and other wildlife at the pond, crew members installed a viewing platform with railings and a roof on the southern edge of the pond. The pathway leading up to the platform is ADA-compliant so it is easy for visitors even in wheelchairs to take in the surroundings.