The Randal J. Millen Nature Trail
The Randal J. Millen Nature Trail’s origin comes from hunting parties that would cross the forest, wetlands and open fields. You can spot many shotgun shells on the ground as you hike the path. Most of the way was once private property and normally on a public trail, avoidance is made of low-lying wetlands or vernal pools to minimize the environmental impact. Not so this trail. Most hunters have to trek through frozen ground so “wet” was of little concern to them.
Assuming you are parked at the Landfill, it’s an easy jaunt up a small hill. This trail eventually meanders down to a stream where a crib bridge has been provided for easy crossing. This trail then crosses a forest until it encounters the first true wetland. If you can pass through the soggy stretch, you will find yourself in the stillness of a pine forest. Once past, you will find yourself crossing an open field until you arrive behind the new CVS on Storey Avenue.
The advantages of this trail are its lack of human presence. This path crosses into the deep forest and into some very isolated areas. You can hear the busy traffic nearby but at the same time you are completely alone. There is no human presence yet humanity is all around. It is truly an interesting example of how a place can be “wild” but be just yards away from human civilization.
Tropic Star Development in cooperation with the Eleanor Woodman Estate, donated the large agricultural/conservation area behind the CVS/Gas Station to the City. Essex County Greenbelt oversees the conservation restriction. Recently, the entire area along with this donated piece of land has been zoned agricultural/conservation.
Tropic Star created a ten-car parking trail head and Essex National Heritage installed the informational signage. A fine kiosk has been installed that explains why leaving the area open space is vital to preventing devastating floods. A kiosk completely financed by the Newburyport Community Preservation Committee. Recently, at great expense, a paved path with signage and stairs has been installed by the generosity of Tropic Star that allows visitors to navigate around the new Annex which is part of the retirement home, Atria Merrimack Place.