You know a nature preserve is a special place to visit when someone spends each day walking it and writes a book about the experience. John Sheirer, an English and communications professor at Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield, has written "Loop Year: A Memoir of 365 Days on the Trail," about his days traveling the 84-acre McCann Family Farm.

The preserve has two different loop trails: a 2-mile blue-blazed trail and a 3-mile yellow-blazed trail. The farm sits on Route 190, between South and Gulf roads. Gulf Stream, a pristine waterway, and Shady Brook run through the preserve. The preserve stretches from the center of Somers to the northwestern slopes of Soapstone Mountain.

Those visiting the preserve can expect to cross hay fields pass through forests filled with white, red and pitch pines, follow glacial outwashes and gaze up the trunks of large oaks and hemlocks. The preserve is dedicated to hiking, bird watching and wildflower tours. More than 300 species of trees, flowers, ferns and other vascular plants have been documented in the preserve. More than 90 species of birds — 11 percent of all species known to occur in North America — have been observed in the preserve, including seven on either the state's endangered, threatened or special concern lists.

The preserve was donated to the Northern Connecticut Land Trust on Oct. 1, 1997, by the McCann family. Mary McCann loved her land and wanted it to remain in a natural state. With the state owning the development rights, the land will remain in its natural state forever. The farm is on the south side of Route 190 about 0.7 miles east of the Route 83 intersection. Those looking for a guided tour can meet naturalist Jerry Stage May 25 at the Somers Town Hall parking lot at 9 a.m. Stage will take participants to the farm and show off its highly diversified wildflower populations.

You can view Peter Marteka's videos online, along with his Nature's Path column, at www.courant.com/marteka. His column also appears in Friday's Hartford Courant. If you have a hike to suggest or comment on, e-mail Peter at pmarteka@courant.com.

You can view Peter Marteka's videos online, along with his Nature's Path column, at www.courant.com/marteka. His column also appears in Friday's Hartford Courant.