The five parcels that form this property are called the Coburn Woods in honor of Louise Helen Coburn, founder and first president of the Somerset Woods Trustees. Louise donated the original parcel in 1927. The property is mostly wooded and is highly visible to the public from a number of highly traveled and visited locations. Mature timber, early successional growth, riparian areas and vernal pools all provide diverse and essential habitat for many wildlife species. Trails have been cut throughout the property with a new parking lot on Russell Road. There is ample opportunity for walking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and mountain biking. Coburn Woods was accepted in 2008 by Maine Audubon in its Community Forest Focus Species Program. Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW)'s Beginning with Habitat maps indicate important natural resources are present. A vernal pool has been identified.The Richard C. Taylor and Catherine T. Taylor Field was purchased in 2012. The 22 acre field will be maintained as grassland bird nesting habitat and potentially milkweed stands cultivated for monarch butterflies. A few old apple trees have been pruned, rejuvenating the view from Norridgewock Road. Two acres are leased to the Maine Grain Alliance as an educational site for growing heritage grains for their program.
Gorge Overlook and Debe Riverwalk
With 800 feet of river frontage, the 5.8 acre Gorge Overlook parcel, part of the Run of River project, provides outstanding scenic views and provides access to the river for recreational activities such as biking, hiking and picnicking. The River Walk, an all purpose ADA accessible walkway, was completed in 2012 and runs from Mt Pleasant Street (near the walking bridge to town) to the waste water treatment plant on Joyce Street where it connects with the canoe portage site, the Philbrick Trails, and the River's Edge Bike Park.
This 34-acre scenic parcel features both upland and riparian wildlife habitat as well as approximately 1,200 feet of river frontage. This property provides a network of public trails designed for non-motorized use in partnership with the Town of Skowhegan. The trail system begins with the Blue Trail, a one mile loop through primarily upland wooded habitat and a second slightly steeper trail, the Yellow Trail, which loops from the Blue Trail. NOTE: Other trails are available but not yet plotted on this map.Driving Directions From Waterville Road (Route 201), turn onto Cedar Street (a pizza shop will be on your left); continue on Cedar, becoming Mill Street, and then continue around a broad curve to Mt. Pleasant Avenue. Near the curve you can park at the beginning of the River Walk or continue to the end of Pleasant to Joyce Street; turn left onto Joyce Street and continue to the parking area at the end of Joyce Street. The River Gorge Trail is to your left and the entrance to the Philbrick Trail and canoe launch are to your right.
Coburn Woods "Mountain Bike" Trails
Over 4 miles of mountain bike trails have been built within Coburn Woods. Although specifically designed for mountain bikes, the trails are enjoyable hiking trails and 'power walkers'. The trails were designed by Brian Alexander and built by volunteers. These trails are marked with round, colored blazes. Each trail is named for one of SWT's founders, people who served in 1927 as SWT's first board.
The Parson family gifted this lovely 27 acre field that abuts SWT's Marbon's Woods parcel in 2016. The property will be managed as a pollinator preserve. Native wildflowers will be encouraged by selective cultivation to attract pollinating insects. An existing trail in the field will be expanded to include a loop trail through the woods.
SWT thanks the Eastman Charitable Foundation for its support for this project.
Marcus Parson provided the following history: "Our family has roots in the area that run back to the years after the Revolution. We have often visited the field and woods that we are donating. We have gone there to play ball, fly kites, pick wild strawberries (late June into early July), enjoy picnics, look for wildflowers and wildlife (foxes, deer, songbirds, and more), take photographs, and just walk around or sit appreciating its nature and beauty. We will continue to do so now that the land is a Somerset Woods property. It is our hope that neighbors and other community members will do the same. We also hope that any who conceive other uses for the property agricultural, horticultural, environmental, educational, recreational, artistic, etc. will take their ideas to the Somerset Woods Trustees. It's a beautiful piece of land, close to town, available for peoples use and appreciation."
This holding consists of two separate lots east of the East River Rd. granted to SWT by CMP as compensatory preservation mitigation required by regulatory agencies plus an access easement. CMP also built a parking area for use by the public when accessing the lands. The trail is not yet marked but if you walk up the ridge under the power line that crosses East River Road, you will reach another power line, running perpendicular to the first. Turn right (south) and walk along the open field until you find a path going east to find the loop trail.
The open bog will be obvious as it runs along the power line on the top of the ridge. Access under the power line on the ridge can be very flooded. Unless you specifically wish to see the bog plants near the top of the ridge, It's recommended to use this trail when the ground is frozen.
Directions from downtown Skowhegan travel east along Route 2 (Water Street becomes Canaan Road).Not long after your cross over Wesserunsett Stream, East River Road will be a right turn. Travel along East River Road, watching for Oak Pond Road. The parking lot will be on your left, about 1/2 mile from Oak Pond Road. Walk past the gate and up along the power line.
Eaton Ridge and Eaton Kennebec River
This holding consists of four parcels containing both upland and riparian habitat open to use by hunters, fisherman and recreationalists. Portions of the property have been identified by the Maine Inland Fisheries & Wildlife as wetland, riparian area, and undeveloped habitat.
The Eaton River Trail begins at a wooded parking lot with access off of River Road. It winds toward the river and along a back channel.
This trail is highly recommended for a pristine, private walk to the Kennebec River. However, stay on the trail to minimize exposure to ticks.
There are also trails on Eaton Ridge which have been well maintained but may not be marked.