The most visible and valuable conservation area in Bedford owes its popularity to the park-like setting with trails around a 12-acre pond, 2-acre lawn and 25-acre forest purchased in 1979 with State Self-Help funding. Its interesting history as a mineral springs health resort and early pharmaceutical center reminds the visitor that the lake has been a scenic and restorative attraction for over a century. Traces of the old mineral springs remain, but present use is more likely to be fishing or strolling around the shore. Native vegetation predominates, although beaver have removed numerous trees and shrubs. Also present on the site are mature specimens of Japanese maple, magnolia, wisteria and rhododendron.
Improvements continue to be planned, permitted and carried out at Fawn Lake, including trail improvements, an interpretive trail and brochure, memorial plantings and benches, and a beaver control structure. Parking is available on Sweetwater Avenue or the railroad bed.
Restoration of Fawn Lake. The Commission's greatest conservation management challenge in town is a solution to the gradual eutrophication of Fawn Lake, with white water lilies and other aquatic species spreading over and throughout the water. The proliferation of these species has been the subject of extensive study and several aquatic vegetation removal projects. The lake is very shallow, and the aquatic plants will continue their renewal unless sediments are removed to deepen the lake. At one time, the restoration project was phased to accommodate the magnitude of both the costs and permitting effort that would have been necessary if the Town had decided to pursue dredging. The 1998 Spring Annual Town Meeting approved $50,000 towards the costs of hiring a consultant, proposing alternatives, completing any engineering and design work, and preparing permit applications. This was followed by the decision to pursue hydroraking from 2003-2004 and 2008-2009 and annual herbicide applications from 2003-2008. The 2008 Fawn Lake Aquatic Vegetation Assessment submitted to The Commission by its consultant, GeoSyntec, set forth results to date and recommended future management actions. This was followed by another round of hydroracking in 2010.
Hydroracking at Fawn Lake