Jack Bisson, 20, grew up in Raymond, Maine. “I’ve lived around here my entire life,” he said. “That’s why I was so surprised to hear about this supposed natural wonder right in my hometown.” Bisson was referring to Maine’s most recently discovered natural wonder, Raymond Pond. The pond’s surface area covers 344 acres, and its maximum depth is 42 feet. To qualify as a natural wonder, something must be deemed a natural site or monument that was not created or significantly altered by humans. “What makes this place special are the natural underground aquifers,” he said. “They’re like, hot. So, when everything else is cold and snowy this time of year, Raymond Pond sits at a toasty 86 ℉. The water’s warm and everything is green and vibrant.”
The hidden gem is thought to be a naturally occurring oasis formed by an underground aquifer. The aquifer then creates enough pressure for water to seep to the surface, forming the oasis. Aquifers like this allow for life to exist in harsh climates like those of Maine winters. Being the only oasis to exist in the state, Maine has agreed to add the location to its list of natural wonders. Other natural wonders on the list include tourist attractions such as Bubble Rock in Acadia National Park and Vaughan Woods in Hallowell, also dubbed “Hobbit Land” based on how much the Woods look like the “Shire,” where J.R.R. Tolkien’s imaginary Hobbits live.
The pond, which sees most of its visitors in the summer, expects no growth in the number of tourists. “My girlfriend’s family has a camp on the island,” Bisson said. “Usually in the winter, the only people we’ve seen on the pond are snowmobilers. They ride their sleds to the end of the road, get off, and hike in for a swim. Other than that, it’s pretty quiet. That’s the way most of the people who have camps and summer homes on the pond like it.”
The inclusion of Raymond Pond on Maine’s list of natural wonders will provide locals with assurance that the pond’s environment will be protected. “I know that that makes my girlfriend’s family happy,” Bisson said. “She grew up coming here with her siblings and spending time here with her cousins. Her family to this day celebrates big things like graduations and holidays here. It would be a shame for something like this to be ruined by too much people traffic.” The town plans to limit the number of visitors to the location in the winter months to ensure the area, which is populated with personal property, remains quaint.