Randal J. Millen Nature Trail
Distance: 5,808 feet (1.1 miles) (1.76 km)
Environmental Conditions along the Trail: The trail starts on the old abandoned Crow Lane wagon trail, and then turns into a large stand of upland forest. Descending slowly, it then crosses a bridge at the Little River and then goes into a very large stand of evergreen trees. On the other side is a farmer’s abandoned field now overgrown with small trees and high brush. The Trail follows along the outer edges of the field until it climbs to the high ‘Plains’ plateau.
Trail Conditions: The trail follows gently rolling hills all along the way only briefly crossing small spurs of wetland and at one point crossing one of the tributaries of the Little River.
The Woodman Farm Nature Trail 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 public trails do what they can to avoid 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. Be sure to wear boots if you can in ‘mud season’.
The trail starts off at the top of the hill form the landfill veering away from the Crow Lane Trail. This trail will eventually meander down to a stream where rocks have been arranged 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. Follow the path until you reach a meadow which is an abandoned farm field. Once past, you will find yourself crossing over to another stand of forest. Once in the forest stand, the trail meanders northward until it again crosses the open field and lands up directly behind the CVS and new gas station 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.