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West Hartford

Spicebush Swamp Park

Spice Bush Swamp Sign

Established in 1962, Spicebush Swamp Park was West Hartford’s first park to be set aside as a natural area for nature study or walking, and as a 33-acre, outdoor classroom for schools to use.  McGovern Pond was created in the park by excavating an area of approximately one acre in Spicebush Swamp Park around 1968.  The pond, which was substantially dredged in 2021, is maintained by a flow of water from a branch of the Trout Brook.

McGovern Pond supports a variety of ecological biomes. Numerous warm water fish species flourish in the deep, healthy pond, including fresh water trout, bass, sunfish, pickerel, yellow perch and suckers. The vibrant fish population helps reduce mosquitoes.  Hiking trails wind through an upland meadow and into forested hills. The park features a pollinator garden and a wide variety of mature trees.

To the delight of local fishermen, the site was designated as a Trout Park by the CT Department of Energy & Environmental Protection in 2020, and the pond is stocked each April with trout. The park is also popular with hikers, bird watchers and other nature enthusiasts.