Body of Water: Lower Range Pond, Poland, ME [Maine Gazetteer Map 5, A3]
Directions (from Portland, ME): From Portland head north on 95 (Maine Turnpike) and take Exit 63 Gray/New Glouster. Off the exit bear right into the center of Gray, follow signs for Rt. 26. (The intersection in Gray is funky, with Rts. 115, Rt. 4, Rt. 26, and Main street, you will be turning left onto Rt. 26. Stay on Rt 26 for a while. (I will try to get mileage soon!) You will pass Maine Widlife Park in Gray Maine, a.k.a. Gray Animal Farm. Once you get into Poland you will want to be watching for the intersection of Rt. 26 and Rt. 122. Turn Right onto Rt 122. Watch for signs for the state park. You will turn left onto a paved road and will stay on that for a bit then turn left onto the Park Road.
Boat Launch: You unload your kayak in the parking area and then carry it to the beach area to launch. It is a short distance to walk, but if you are solo you may want a cart of some kind to easily get to the water. The launch itself is a sandy beach.
Parking: There is a lot of parking. The parking lot is gravel and depending on how busy, you can park fairly close to where you put in. Not a great picture, but there are spots to park and plenty of them!
Wildlife: Canada geese, loon, birds, & turtles
Notes: There are bathrooms at the park. I am not sure how late into the fall they are open, or how early in the spring, but they are there. Because this trip is a little outside of Portland the bathrooms are a great bonus! This park is a popular place for school field trips in the spring and with families with small children. I was there in mid September and I was one of only a few people there. When I got to the beach there was a flock of Canada geese. I had heard them land (Wish I had been there to get pictures of that! Timing was off a little!)
The day I was there it was windy, so I decided to put in and head to the right as I had looked at the map and seen that there was more water to explore that way than if I went left. I stuck to the shore and it was a great paddle. I was pleasantly surprised that as I paddled to what I thought was the end of the pond, it kept going. It felt like I was kayaking from pond to pond. If you look at google earth, enter Range State Park and follow Lower Range Pond and see how far you can go. I paddled all the way to the bridge which is Poland Corner Road near Plains Road. Anyway.. despite it being a windy day I found that once I got further away from the wider part of the pond, it was quite peaceful and calm. There were lots of lilies and various places to explore. I saw a loon and a heron, both from afar, but was excited to see them. I did see a couple of other people out paddling, but didn't feel encroached upon at all. I am not sure if motorized boats are allowed here, I didn't see any, but again it was late in the season for boats. After I reached my turning point and approached the beach the wind was pretty strong. I contemplated exploring the other parts of the pond, the part I would have seen if I went left instead of right when facing the water, but decided it was safer to call it a day. (I was solo and cell reception was limited.) This is a place that would be good for paddlers of all levels. People who like to explore different places as you paddle would enjoy it here. Here are some pictures: