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Town of Acton
State: ME
County: York


Saco River Watershed

Balch Pond lies on Actonís northern border with Newfield. It also lies across the Maine and New Hampshire border and is 577 acres in size. The shore is dotted with residential development with the highest density at the western end. The ponds outlet is at its eastern end at Acton Ridge Road, where it flows over a dam. This is beginning of the Little Ossipee River, of which only a tiny portion runs through Acton.

Moose Pond is located near the end of H Road just north of Great East Lake. It is 26 acres in size and is stocked annually with Brook and Brown Trout by Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. A small brook runs out of Moose pond and flows north into 13 acre Swan Pond. Swan Pond empties by a dam at the end of H Road. The brook that it feeds runs north and joins the Little Ossipee River. There is little development around either Moose or Swan Pond.

Hansen Pond also feeds the Little Ossipee River. There is no development on this 26 acre pond and no road access. Hansen Pond is located in the northeast corner of Acton and lies partly in the town of Shapleigh.

Salmon Falls River Watershed

Great East Lake is the largest water body in Acton. It lies on the Maine and New Hampshire border with 763 acres of its 1775 acre surface area in Acton. The lake is home to 21 species of fish, two species of crayfish, and one species of freshwater mussel. There is boat access near a dam at the lakes outlet off of Canal Road. Almost the entire 12 mile perimeter of Great East Lake is built up with camps and residences.

The outlet of Great East Lake flows over a dam and through an 800 foot canal where it enters Horn Pond near Canal Road. Horn Pond also lies on the border of New Hampshire with approximately half its 227 acre area in Acton. The shores of Horn pond are also well developed with homes off of New Bridge Road. A small brook runs into Horn Pond on the eastern shore at the point where New Bridge Road comes right up to the edge of the pond. This brook is the outlet for adjacent Wilson Lake.

Wilson Lake is located off Route 109 just north of Gerrish Mountain. There is boat access off of Hawk Road. Wilson Lake is 307 acres in size and surrounded by houses on all shores.

The Salmon Falls River begins at the outlet of Horn Pond. The river empties over a dam where Route 109 enters New Hampshire, and runs past a large gravel pit. The River forms Actonís border with New Hampshire as it runs south past a few dozen homes and then enters a wide marsh area near Flat Ground Road. The river backs up behind a dam at the intersection of Hussey Road and Hopper Road. The river picks up speed as it cuts its channel and drops 50 feet in elevation over a half mile stretch ending up at another damn on Milton Mills Road. Here the banks of the Salmon Falls River are densely developed as it flows past Milton Mills. The river flows for another 1000 feet before encountering a third dam on Foxes Ridge Road. After the dam the river becomes less channeled as it runs through a marsh area bordered by farms and a large industrial facility. Narrowing again, the Salmon Falls River flows for another 1.25 miles, twisting and turning a good bit before leaving Acton.

Black Pond is 3 acres in size and sits in the middle of a marsh area between Black Pond Swamp Road and Foxes Ridge Road near Actonís border with Lebanon. Surrounding the pond is a large forested wetland that drains west, feeding the Salmon Falls River.

Mousam River Watershed

Square Pond is located along West Shore Road and lies on Actonís border with Shapleigh. The pond is 877 acres in area but only a quarter of this is in Acton. The entire Acton shore is developed right up to the water. The pond is home to 13 species of fish and is stocked annually with Trout. The outlet of Square Pond is in Shapleigh and flows into Goose Pond.

Goose Pond feeds Mousam Lake which has its western shore in Acton and its eastern shore in Shapleigh. The lake shore is developed along 13th Street and Route 109. The lake is 982 acres in area and home to 21 species of fish. The lake narrows at the Route 109 Bridge where there is a boat access ramp.

Loon Pond is located between Milton Mills Road and East Shore Drive. It is 95 acres in size and is completely surrounded by roads and houses. Loon Pond flows into Heath Brook which drains a small marsh area and runs east to join Mousam Lake.

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Water District: none
District Website: none
Water Source: Private Wells
# Accts Serv: none
Other Towns: none
Sewer District: Septic
District Website: none
Receiving Waters: groundwater
# Accts Serv: N/A
Other Towns: none
(Click the Title of the article to learn more.)
Acton Comprehensive Plan
Publications, Websites, and Tools
Adopted in 2005.

Acton Wakefield Watersheds Alliance
Community Assistance Providers
A mission to protect and improve the water quality of the lakes and streams that lie within the Ossipee and Salmon Falls Rivers in Wakefield and Acton.

Horn Pond Association
Community Assistance Providers
Land owners association for residents of Horn Pond.

Mousam Lake Region Association
Community Assistance Providers
An association of landowners around Mousam Lake in Shapleigh and Acton dealing with social and environmental issues.

Square Pond Improvement Association (SPIA)
Community Assistance Providers
An association of landowners around Square Pond in Shapleigh and Acton dealing with related social and environmental issues.

Population:2264 (U.S. Census Est. 2006)
Area:41.8 square miles


Acton is a primarily rural town, with most of its 37.8 square miles of land (it also contains four square miles of water) comprised of undeveloped land. As of the 2000 Census, its population density was about 57 people per square mile. There is very little commercial development in Acton, as fewer than 200 people work within its boundaries.The existing commercial development in Acton is mostly in the Route 109 corridor,especially in the area between the Shapleigh town line and the Acton Fairgrounds.

Most existing residential development in Acton is located along the shores of its lakes and ponds, although there is significant residential development along the frontages of many rural roads.

Today, the town has several distinct personalities: as a rural community with large amounts of open space and a few surviving resource-based enterprises such as apple orchards and gravel pits; as a summer resort community with a significant influx of summer residents on the lakes; and increasingly, as a bedroom community of Sanford and other employment centers.


Acton was part of the extensive Ossipee Tract sold on November 28, 1668 by Newichawannock Chief Captain Sunday (or Wesumbe) to Francis Small, a trader from Kittery. The western portion of Shapleigh was set off and incorporated on March 6, 1830 as Acton, named after Acton, England.

The town was first settled at Acton village in 1776 by Benjamin Kimens, Clement Steele and John York, all from York. In 1779, Joseph Parsons built a gristmill on the Salmon Falls River near Wakefield, New Hampshire. Other mills followed at Acton's various water power sites, including sawmills, gristmills, a hemp mill, a carding mill, a felt mill, a tannery and a shoe factory. Construction of the Great East Canal for water power in the 1850ís and 60ís controlled water flow on the Salmon Falls River.

A mineral belt 4 miles in width crosses the southern portion of the town. During the mid 1800ís several companies were engaged in mining copper, and zinc. A flurry of silver mining starting in 1877 and continuing into the 1880ís preceded a long period of declining population that lasted into the 1960ís when new residents seeking a rural community within commuting distance of jobs began arriving. In 1944, the Goodall Mills Company began selling off its ďnon-functionalĒ land as house lots. This included large parcels around the lakes in Acton. The population of Acton grew from 1,007 in 1870 to 1,050 in 1880. From 1990 to 2000 Actonís population grew from 1,727 to 2,269.

The Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farm, Wells, Maine Copyright 2006 All rights reserved. Collaboration with NOAA CSC, Charleston SC