Orono Land Trust: Jeremiah Colburn Natural Area and Cota Land
This is the second in a series.
The Jeremiah Colburn Natural Area is the first property acquired by the Orono Land Trust. In fact, this property is what formed the OLT.
In 1986 this 44-acre piece of land went up for sale by out-of-state-owners. The land had an extensive trail system, which had been in use by locals for decades. The Town of Orono did not have funds to purchase the property, so a group of local citizens began to raise funds via pie sales, soup sales, yard sales, donations, and they even took out a mortgage. The group formed the Orono Land Trust in 1986 and applied for a grant to pay for the land. After the grant was approved, the Town accepted the grant money and purchased the land from the Orono Land Trust on July 28, 1988.
In 1994 Virginia and Ronald Mallet deeded the Cota property (2.0 acres) to Orono Land Trust in memory of Virginia’s parents, Lee and Sarah Cota. The south end of the Cota land is a certified wetland, with many ferns. The property builds up to slightly higher and drier land as it reaches the JCNA to the north. In 2015, OLT volunteers constructed a gravel trail creating a smooth, hard, dry surface on the Cota land that provides access into the JCNA. Most trails on JCNA are dry and packed, but some places have roots to step over. The area consists of lower lands with Pine, Spruce, Hemlock and Larch. The upper land (heading up Teaberry Hill) has oak, beech, maple and evergreen trees. Many wildflowers can be found, including Lady Slipper, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Mayflower, Hawkweed, Bunch Berry, Blue Bead, Trillium and Sarsaparilla, to name a few. Birds are plentiful, including the Pileated Woodpecker and Barred Owl and Red Squirrels will scold you. JCNA contains a field called “Sally’s Field” (named for Orono Land Trust founder, conservation and recreation stalwart Sally Jacobs), where fox and deer have been observed. This property is great for walking, bicycling, jogging, horseback riding, skiing, and snowshoeing. The land can be accessed at the end of Forest Hills Terrace (parking available), at a trail from Winterhaven Drive, and from Forest Avenue through the Cota Land (parking at side of the road).
Trail maps can be downloaded at: www.oronolandtrust.org. OLT is an All-Volunteer Accredited organization. Membership dues help OLT maintain trails. Please become a member online.