Wooden benches are scattered throughout the trail network in Coleman Mixed Woods in Lamoine. Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki

Difficulty: Easy. The intersecting trails on the property total about 1.5 miles and travel over fairly even terrain. Expect a few small hills, wooden walkways that can be slippery if wet and exposed tree roots. Some trails become very narrow. You may need to climb over or circumvent a fallen tree or two, depending on when the trails were last cleaned up. Navigation can be confusing if you aren’t familiar with the trail network. Carry a trail map.

Information: Coleman Mixed Woods is a 50-acre property in Lamoine that serves as a demonstration working woodlot of sustainable forestry practices. The land was donated to the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine by Douglas and Beverly Coleman, who planted trees and constructed trails on the property.

Today, the public can explore the beautiful, mossy forest on about 1.5 miles of intersecting trails, which are open to foot traffic. Numbered signs are located throughout the trail network to help visitors navigate with a trail map. Wooden benches are also scattered throughout the trails, offering places to rest and enjoy the surroundings.

The forest is truly “mixed,” filled with a wide variety of tree species, including stands of straight red pine trees that the Colemans planted in neat rows. In addition, much of the forest floor is covered with thick beds of moss.

Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki

Far removed from busy towns and tourist areas, this property is a quiet place to walk in the woods and enjoy nature. Ferns, fungi, lichens and woodland flowers can all be found throughout this forest. Also, keep an eye out for a variety of birds and resident white-tailed deer.

Doug and Beverly Coleman loved the outdoors and were active in conservation issues such as open space preservation, forest management and water quality, according to their obituaries in the BDN. On the Lamoine property, the couple planted trees, constructed nature trails and welcomed the public to share the land.

In recognition of their efforts, the Colemans received a number of stewardship awards from the State of Maine and the Town of Lamoine. They both were committed to leaving things better than they found them.

In 1990, the Colemans donated a conservation easement on their Lamoine property to the Frenchman Bay Conservancy. In 1993, the couple participated in Maine’s Stewardship Incentive Program and shared the cost of constructing trails throughout the property. And in 2005, they donated the property to Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine, which was established in 1975 and is now known as Maine Woodland Owners.

Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki

Maine Woodland Owners is a nonprofit organization that assists and supports small woodland owners with management of their lands. In 1990, the organization established a land trust program to conserve working forests in Maine. The program only accepts lands and conservation easements where active forest management is allowed, and all of the properties are certified by the American Tree Farm System and enrolled in Maine’s Tree Growth or Open Space Tax programs.

In Coleman Mixed Woods, dogs are permitted if kept under their owners’ control at all times. Snowmobiling and hunting are also permitted on the property.

For more information, visit the Maine Woodland Owners website at mainewoodlandowners.org or call the organization at 207-626-0005. More information about Coleman Mixed Woods, including a useful online map created by Maine Trail Finder, can be found on the Frenchman Bay Conservancy website at frenchmanbay.org.

Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki

Personal note: I find it odd that I didn’t learn how to identify the trees of Maine as a child. After all, I spent so much time with them. Growing up in the woods of Winterport, I used to pop the bubbles of pitch that formed in the bark of balsam fir trees, coating my fingers with the sticky substance (to my mother’s dismay). I waited for the school bus by a big spruce tree that stood sentinel at the end of our driveway. And when my pet hamster died, I buried her between the golden roots of a yellow birch, though I didn’t know it at the time.

When I started writing about the Maine outdoors, I realized that I had a lot to learn. Over the years, I’ve slowly but surely been learning how to identify trees and other plants, as well as animals and mushrooms. One by one. And it’s starting to change how I see wild places.

So when I decided to visit Coleman Mixed Woods recently, I took the opportunity to inspect and photograph a variety of trees. To help, I had my “Forest Trees of Maine” book, published by the Maine Forest Service. With color photos, detailed diagrams and information about each tree’s history, use and features, it’s an easy-to-use reference for someone like me who’s new to botany.

Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki

It was a mild day for early March, with temperatures in the low 40s and the sun interrupted occasionally by a passing cloud. Patches of snow and ice remained in the forest here and there, but for the most part, I walked on bare ground, my steps cushioned by moss, fallen pine needles and dead leaves.

My dog Oreo joined me, and due to his enthusiasm to explore, I decided to photograph trees and use the book to identify them later. I also photographed dead leaves at the base of trees to help me with identification.

Some trees I already knew. The large white cedar trees with their unique, stringy bark stood out to me. The white pines were also easy to spot, with their long, flexible needles. And balsam fir is a cinch to identify because of its Christmas-y scent. Just rub its needles between your fingers and breathe in the aroma.

Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki | BDN | Aislinn Sarnacki | BDN

Also in the forest, I came across red maple, big-tooth aspen, red pine, yellow birch, white birch and spruce (I still struggle to tell the difference between black spruce and red spruce). And I came across what I believe was a big white ash tree by the interesting texture of its bark.

In addition to inspecting trees, I simply enjoyed the quiet of Coleman Mixed Woods. We were the only visitors that day, and the property had a very peaceful atmosphere. Maybe it was all the moss. It was truly one of the mossiest places I’ve seen. And even though we weren’t being very stealthy, we managed to spot three white-tailed deer.

On our way out of the forest, I paused to listen to a bird singing quite a complex tune. The sound reminded me of spring, though I couldn’t tell you what type of bird it was or if its song has anything to do with spring. That’s another thing I’d like to learn to identify: bird songs. Once you become interested in the wilderness, the learning never ends.

Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki

How to get there: The trailhead is located on Seal Point Road in Lamoine, about 1.1 miles from where Seal Point Road begins at the intersection of Partridge Cove Road (Route 204), Marlboro Beach Road, Seaview Way and Dean Lane. The trailhead will be on your left-hand side, marked with a few signs and a chain barring vehicle traffic to an old woods road. Park along the trailhead side of the road, well out of the way of traffic. Parking is limited to three vehicles. Keep in mind that a private residence is located across the road. Do not block their driveway or park on their lawn.

For more of Aislinn Sarnacki’s adventures, visit bangordailynews.com/act-out. Follow Aislinn Sarnacki on Twitter: @1minhikegirl, and Instagram: @actoutdoors. Her guidebooks “Family Friendly Hikes in Maine,” “Maine Hikes Off the Beaten Path” and “Dog-Friendly Hikes in Maine” are available at local bookstores and wherever books are sold.

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Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com.