Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Bluff Walk Hike 9-22-09

We started our Fall 2009 season of guided hikes with a ramble along The Bluff Walk in Riverview Park last night. It was a pleasant September evening with about a dozen people, plus some of their four-footed friends. We met at the children's playground in the northern end of the park. The entrance to the path is at the top of this picture behind the white SUV, just follow the sign.

We followed some of the historic trail along the hillside overlooking the Housatonic River, the Yale Boathouse, and the Ousatonic Dam. The Bluff Walk follows the path of the trail that used to be there in the 1800's before the park road was built, and went over some of the stonework that was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's.

We met with the Shelton Parks & Recreation Commission last week and they are going to help us through the winter and fall when they have time to open up some of the vistas to the river and controlling some invasive Japanese Knotweed that has grown up over the last few years. The trail had been a bit fragmented but we re-routed sections, added mulch, signs, blazes and trail markers to make it easier to follow.

Some of us looped back to the beginning along the Rt. 110 sidewalk and park road. We got a nice view of the ballfields, historic markers, and war memorials. Other folks took the stairs to the bottom of the slope & came back by the RR tracks along the river (look out for the occasional freight train).

Hopefully someday the SEDC will be sucessfull with their plan to link the Riverwalk in downtown Shelton with Indian Well State Park via a paved bikeway on this route. This would be a real amenity for both downtown and state park users. This photo shows all the people sucessfully making it up the hill past some of the old CCC stonework.

Once upon a time this whole hillside was mostly grass so people could watch the rowing races - see the Shelton Trails website at for historic photos.

And we returned back to the kiddy playground, which was still being heavily used by a variety of families. The Bluff Walk is a nice ramble that is good for a wide range of folks - neighbors walking their dogs, families with little kids, people trying to get a little exercise at lunch, etc. The total loop is 1.2 miles. We had a good time and would like to thank the Shelton Parks and Recreation, and Police Departments for helping us clear up the trail in preparation of this hike.

The Bluff Walk is an ongoing project and if any community groups or scout troops would like to help in improving it, please contact the Trails Committee or Conservation Commission. There are a number of places with mulch, clearing and erosion control is needed and this would make an ideal project for younger volunteers. Enjoy Riverview Park and the Housatonic River.
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