Ruby and Elizabeth Cohen Woodlands
206.21 acres in Colchester, CT
Parking: Medium lot near 96 McDonald Rd, Colchester, CT
The Cohen Woodlands is a picturesque little town park. Pulling into the parking area provides a view of a large field of bright grass, a small pond off to the side is lined with old stately pines, and a gazebo for viewing it all.
A pollinator garden is just off to the right as well as the start of a StoryWalk in Spring 2019 the story was ‘When Spring Comes’ by Kevin Henkes. This StoryWalk is run by the Cragin Memorial Library and I would guess it changes seasonally.
I started off walking past the pines to the back corner of the field and the start of the wide blue trail. It leads gently uphill until it forks. I took the left fork and caught the red trail which was narrow and winding. It seems the spur to the backside of the pond has faded out of use. The red trail brings you right back to the start of the blue so I rehiked the blue section. There are several posts where a guided nature walk used to sit, however, as is common with these trails, the signs are missing. The only one remaining highlighted an old wolf tree. At the backside of the blue loop is an impressive old foundation perhaps one belonging to a barn.
The blue trail along Cabin Brook will likely be wet if there have been recent rains. The brook itself runs shallow and clear and follows its own winding path near the trail. The short yellow loop heads up a small hill to a spot with a marsh view. My hike around the outer trails was 1.8 miles.
Originally preserved in 2001 when it was purchased from the five siblings of the Cohen family. It was named in memory of legislator Rubin H. “Ruby” Cohen and his wife. The acquisition included the 32-acre Dutton Swamp parcel east of McDonald Road, and 78 acres near the Cohen family homestead to the west of McDonald Road. The town approved the purchase of an adjacent 31-acre property in October of 2009 at the headwaters of Cabin Brook. From the town’s website,
Over the years, local Boy Scout Eagle projects have created 3 hiking trails on different areas of the property including a park/trail map, as well as a 6-panel educational board near the gazebo. Cohen Woodlands is certified as a wildlife habitat through the National Wildlife Federation. Additionally, Colchester earned the NWF Community Wildlife Habitat certification in 2010 being the first such community in Colchester and the 36th in the United States.
Peter Marteka – Land Trust Gets Grant From Bafflin Foundation (2010)
Peter Marteka – Donor Will Match Funds For Land Trust (2009)
Peter Marteka – Preserve Named for Family (2001)