Sunday, June 28, 2015

Please Fence Me In!

Time and weather have taken their toll on much of our split rail fence along the Silent Waters dam. Periodically, the Shelton Trails Committee, with volunteer assistance, replaces the rotted and broken rails where they pose the most danger. It doesn't help that some teens (and possibly adults) test the strength of the fence by sitting or standing on the top rail. Our goal is to prevent serious injury from occurring by maintaining a solid fence line.

 Click on photos to enlarge
Wild foliage growth spreads onto the path. Poison ivy is a big concern this year
Bill and Jim cut a rail to fit a short section of fence
Mary assists in rail placement

Luis hacks away at the weeds with our gas-powered hedge trimmer
Meanwhile, a fisherman enjoys the serenity of Silent Waters (while we work!)
A repaired section of the fence at a favorite observation point
In all, we replaced ten rails this day, which doesn't seem like much, but the work can at times be strenuous and difficult. Some rails go in easy, others require military tactics. There will be future work parties involving rail replacement, and we could use more volunteer help if we are to be more productive. Come out and give us a hand next time! You'll feel good about it!

Monday, June 22, 2015

HAY JUDE, keep it mowing

All the trails are exploding with vegetation this June due to some of the recent rain.  It can be tough for a limited pool of volunteers to keep up with it all.

Here's Joe at the Lane St. Boardwalk trying to clear brush along the RecPath in Huntington Center.

Somewhere in this picture is our mowing crew, or Waldo, we're not sure which.

Here's the boys.  They are trying to clear back the hayfield that is overtaking our 8 foot wide RecPath.

Jim & Rich out mowing the trails with our DR Mower.  One of the drawbacks to a crushed stone path in open areas is grass growing into the trailbed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

We Want Your Feedback (Trailhead Kiosks in Action)

We're always experimenting with new ways to make using the trails and greenways more enjoyable.  We have a Trails Blog, a Facebook Page, the Bulletin Board at the Community Center, maps at City Hall and the Plumb Library, and sign kiosks at some of the trail heads.  Some of the newer kiosks are in great shape, but some of the older ones need some work.  One of our 2015 Goals is to give some of them a serious makeover.

Some of the existing metal or plastic mailboxes that were using at some kiosks were pretty old and beat.  This one had a wasp's nest in it (which we evicted).

So we added the new map boxes to the kiosks like this one at Lane St.

In addition to maps we also added cards with e-mail addresses for people to mail in their favorite trail photos, and little notebooks for people to leave their thoughts and comments.  Ten boxes were set out in all at most of the trail heads around town.

Unfortunately, somebody vandalized the Lane Street box after only one month.  They hit it pretty hard too, actually split the boards.  Our joints held so our carpentry must've been better than we thought.  But we're a pretty stubborn bunch so we made a new box and repaired the broken one.

Here's the new box.  The following are some of the comments from the Lane Street notebook:

"Love the trails!"

"Mile markers would be nice.  That is the only change I would make."  We have talked about adding mile markers to the Recreation Path.  There is an on-line map on the Trails website with mileage on it.

"4-17-15 Great trails with open space and wildlife and peaceful environment to enjoy Shelton!"

"4-12-15 Your good friends, Evan Mom and Dad"  Thanks Evan.

"4-11-15 Ryan & Tucker  Enjoyed a great hike.  Love the trails here."

"4-18 Great hike today.  Is that a beaver home on the right approx. 100 yds?"   It was a beaver lodge, but I don't know if its active right now.  The beaver move in and out of the area, but you can see them here when they're around.

"1st bridge landing is loose."  Thanks for the update.  We have a trail work party scheduled for Sat. 6/13/15 if anyone would like to check out the trail and help us fix this loose board.

"Connor regretted eating running on the lovely trail 4-19-15"  ???Hopefully he didn't trip while chewing.

"This is a lovely walking path.  Good job Shelton.  Stay golden Pony Boy!"  C. Thomas Howell is happy somewhere.

So keep up the comments, enjoy the trails, return a map if you don't need it after you're done, and feel free to take a card and e-mail us some cool pictures.   And feel free to join us Sat. if you have time.  It's fun to work on your trails.   We'll keep posting the comments.


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Mountain Laurel along the RecPath

We had not one but two very successful hikes in Shelton for National Trails Day.  The first one lead by Lynn had about 18 people hiking along the Paugussett Trail from Buddington Road down to Indian Well State Park.  There was a little shuttling back and forth, but from the sound of it they had a great walk.

A second group of 8 hikers met at Pine Lake on Rt. 108 and had an easier walk along the RecPath.

The view along Pine Lake from the bridge was pretty.  The is the eastern end of the Shelton Lakes Greenway and a lot of people were out enjoying the open spaces.

We kept passing many people out walking their dogs, bike riding, strolling, running, fishing or just enjoying a pleasant day outdoors.

One of the hi-lights of the hike were the mountain laurels just starting to bloom along the powerlines.  They are still in bloom for those who want to enjoy them.  We finished our hike with lunch at the Huntington Street Cafe - this year there was live music being performed - a First for one of our hikes.  The Trails Committee would like to thank everybody who came out to both events. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Birchbank Ramble

It was a wonderful day, perfect for a walk through the woods. Fifteen folks gathered at the trailhead of the Birchbank Trail, off Indian Well Road. This trail is noted, for one thing, for the variety and volume of spring flowers, and we arrived near the end of this Spring's cycle. 

Click on photos to enlarge

Starting out

Terry points out one of the native plants
The group heads uphill
Nature's overpass

Terry highlights some of the landscape
Checking the brook for water critters

"Where's the rest of the house?"

Resting at the old former fishing/hunting cabin

The picturesque stream that led us back down the hill
A quiet pool to explore

A fun hike, an educational experience, and a chance to get away and enjoy nature at her finest.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Boppin' Down Basil Brook

After much planning and fantasizing, and waiting for drier and warmer weather, we were finally able to create a rustic diversion off the Shelton Lakes Recreation Path, paralleling Basil Brook and passing through woodlands and Mountain Laurel groves via a winding trail. Our small work party used loppers, a chainsaw and a leaf blower to cut through low brush  and wayward tree limbs to delineate the path in the rougher areas. The new trail starts (or ends) a few hundred feet from where the Rec Path crosses Wesley Drive, cuts down to Basil Brook where it crosses the brook and continues northeast, passing near a picturesqe waterfall, and ultimately emerging at the power lines. A hundred feet or so north on the access trail brings you to the older yellow blaze trail, which in turn runs into the Rec Path (see map). The new trail is approximately one mile end-to-end.

Click on photo to enlarge 

John, Jim, and Richard find the new trailhead
The lower Basil Brook crossing site, part of an old farm stone wall

Some trees had to be removed
Richard and Jim resort to brute strength
The serenity of the brook. It's why we ran the trail this way

Richard, John and Jim at the waterfalls

Jim and Richard of the Trails Committee were assisted by volunteer John on this work party. Sandie was our photographer. The next day, Lynn, also of the Trails Committee, and with the help of 4 volunteers, worked on brush cutting and cleaning up the mess we made. Thanks to everyone for their assistance. We hope to get a greater turnout for our future work parties, as this one was a satisfying way to spend a few hours of a Saturday morning.

Monday, March 30, 2015

New Map Boxes

It was a long, cold winter, so the Trails Committee made some map boxes. But after the boxes were all done, it was still cold and snowy. So Trails Committee member Terrance Gallagher added some artwork with a wood-burner tool.  Enjoy.

The knots in the wood became the ends of logs