Q: How many guys does it take to beat some concrete with sticks? A: One, plus 5 other guys to stand around and watch.
We repaired the gate at the Abby Wright parking lot on Nells Rock Road yesterday morning. It had been vandalized when some nitwit tried to drive through it. The Nells Loop Trails are open to non-motorized customers, and the gate is there to keep trucks and ATV's from tearing up the trails - particularly after a rainy night like the one we had Friday. We try to keep the gates locked to prevent vandalism, but permit access for maintenance or to fight wildfires. Rich is seen here doing his Bill Dyer imitation of poking the quickcrete with a stick while Jim is telling him where to poke. Pete is looking busy with the shovel & Lynn is admiring their handiwork after clearing weeds out by the road. Luis was clearing brush from the trailhead out of sight.
We had planned on doing a variety of tasks, but found out recently that some eagle scouts will be able to complete some improvements to trail entrance by this October, so we focused on the maintenance end. We cleared brush to make the trailheads more visible & filled in some of the wetter areas to improve the footing just beyond the parking area. The scout improvements are construction some drainage work at the trail entrance and building a sign kiosk. We always try to dovetail our efforts with others when they're willing to take on a project. A girl scout troop planted the slope along the parking lot with flowers this year, and another eagle scout built this fence a few years ago.
Here's another photo of our This Old Gate crew with Jim, Rich, Luis, Pete, and Lynn at the repaired gate. Now all we have to do is get Jim & Rich to smile when someone points a camera at them.
Most of the good work that has been done to open this park up for the public is the work of volunteers, bit by bit over the years. This saves the Shelton taxpayer a lot of money each year by having volunteers do this work rather than using paid staff, and it frees up town staff to do things that they are better equipped to tackle. The area along the road looks like it was recently mowed by the Parks & Rec Department, which is great. This roadside area would be ideal for flower & shrub plantings if some group wanted to adopt it. Unlike in the Harry Potter movies, good things don't occur by magic. If you want Shelton to be a good community to live and work in, then you need to volunteer to help make it that way. The Shelton Trails Committee is always looking for a few good volunteers to help make a difference. People of all ages can e-mail the Shelton Trails website if they want to help - Lynn Reid is our volunteer coordinator. It can be a lot of fun, and you can learn a lot about the area that you didn't know.
Abby Wright & the Nells Loop Trail seem to have become the de facto Big Dog Walk. While we were working four cars came in and everybody seemed to have a big dog that they were taking for a walk, or, in one case, a rather excited dog who was taking their human for a walk. We also get a lot of mountain bikers in there. The trails are level, wide & have dry surfaces which makes them good for users of all ages. Visit the Shelton Trails website at www.sheltontrails.org for maps and additional information.
The parking lot still needs additional millings brought in for drainage by the Shelton Bridges & Highways Department. That is beyond the stuff that we can do as volunteers; unless the city gives us a backhoe to play with, and a truckload of millings. The parking lot at Hope Lake down the street is also a mess with potholes & needs major repairs.
Another issue for the parking lots is entrance signage. The Shelton Conservation Commission should also get some nice, professionally-made wooden carved signs at all the major parking lot entrances similar to what other towns have to highlight their greenways. This is one area where spending a little money to show some community pride in our award winning trails and greenways is worthwhile.
Sunday Update 7/26/09 - somebody came & stole the gate that we just got done repairing yesterday!!! I guess because the posts were fixed they felt they had to mess with something else.
Monday Update 7/27/09 - Rich & Luis found the gates in the woods off the trail and reset them. Hopefully they stay put for a while. There are no magic city workers fixing this stuff - when it's vandalized, even if it was a prank - it eats up volunteer time to fix it. That time is a precious commodity that shouldn't be wasted fixing vandalism if we want Shelton to be a good place to live. If you see vandalism taking place call the Shelton Police at 924-1544.