MONUMENT – Next time you’re up Monument way, pack a lunch, a camera and some fishing gear, and check out the little oasis just outside town.

Cavender Pond, about 12 acres of sparkling blue, cool water, is just off the northside of Highway 402. The entrance is a short dirt road with a sign that reads – no, not “Cavender Pond” – “Monument Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary. Fishing Allowed.”

Your other clue will be a large berm behind which the pond lies. The dirt road traverses the top of the berm, with enough turn-around space and parking for a couple of cars on either side.

A 3/4-mile dirt trail circles the pond, with a few clusters of shade trees, and dark green benches interspersed along its path.

A ramped fishing dock leads down to the water from the pond’s southeast corner, at one end of the berm.

Jack Cavender, who owns the land on which the pond rests, said the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department stocks the pond with legal-sized trout in May/June. Cavender said the state agency also built the dock, and the Monument Soil and Water Conservation District built the benches and constructed the trail.

In times of need, the pond also serves another purpose – to irrigate nearby Kimberly Orchard which owns the water.

Cavender, who has lived in Monument since 1949, established the pond in 1994.

Jeff Neal, ODFW fish biologist in John Day, says it’s Grant County’s good fortune to have a landowner open a pond like this to the public. He also cited it as one of the county’s better fishing holes this time of year.

If you miss the dirt road entrance and end up on Grant County Road 3 about 1/4-mile farther west, continue north on that road for about 1/3 mile, and you’ll be treated to a spectacular view of Cavender Pond, Monument and Monument Valley.

In fact, you might want to make a point of detouring up there anyway – and don’t forget to take a camera.

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