Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Finer Points of Grading

The contractors were busy this week doing finish grading of the RecPath between Rt. 108 and Oak Valley Road. They were placing gravel and compacting it with a roller so it forms a firm durable surface that's good for walking, biking and is handicapped-accessible.

The RecPath has to curve a lot to preserve trees and other vegetation while maintaining gentle grades for handicapped-accessibility. This makes the route a bit more interesting than many of the other rail-to-trail bikepaths that you might find in New England. The RecPath has a lot of gentle curves so it's enjoyable for biking and walking.

Here's a close up of the finished surface. When we were doing public hearings about the project most of the feedback that we received was that people wanted a "natural" surface for the RecPath as opposed to asphalt, so that is what is being constructed. The goal is to make something that will blend in with the greenway, and make a solid surface for the multi-use path.

The contractors have brought a variety of equipment to use in placing the finish surface, and then they compact the processed gravel with the vibratory roller. They used larger equipment to rough grade the RecPath and smaller equipment to finish it. Boy, would the Trails Committee kill to own that little mini-excavator.

Here's another view out along the powerlines. The RecPath was sited along existing hiking trails and woods roads to minimize cutting of some of the mountain laurel. This section should look really pretty in June when the laurel is blooming.

This is the view going toward Oak Valley Road. This section of the RecPath passes near vernal pools where you can hear the spring peepers and wood frogs peeping and quacking up a racket this time of year.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chilly Briar & Rock Party

We had a productive, if somewhat chilly, work party yesterday. A smaller crew of Jim, Lynn, Luis, Sheri, Emma, Ryan, & Terry cleared briars, moved stone, and reset bridges on a frosty March morning.

The ground was too frozen to cut in waterbars on the Turkey Trot Trail by the RecPath, so we shifted over to the powerlines. Jim was cutting back the nasty, nasty briars before they start growing into the trail this spring. The foot bridge held up great through the flood, but portions of the trail washed out. We placed some rocks in the washed out sections but will have to wait until things warm up a bit to cover it with gravel.

Ryan, Luis & Lynn filled in the washout with rocks. Sheri & Emma reset the other partially washed out bridge by the gas pipeline. We had a lot of people out using the trails with some walkers, runners, and couple of groups of mountain bikers.

It's great to see everybody enjoying the trails on a Saturday morning. Now all we need is a few more people to realize that they can get some exercise maintaining the trails also. And it can be fun too when you bring a few friends.

And here's the "after" shot showing all the briars that Jim & Co. removed. Remember this when you're not getting scratched up along this stretch of the Turkey Trot this summer. Enjoy.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring has Sprung ... a Leak

It has been a wet & wooly winter & there's a lot of drainage issues on the trails. Join us for one of our first spring work parties this Saturday at 8:30 on the Turkey Trot Trail. Meet at the trailhead kiosk on Constitution Boulevard North opposite the Intermediate School.

Here's Bill watching Rich work (Bill's good that way). Rich was trying to rake the water off the RecPath by the dam a couple of weeks ago; no matter how hard Rich raked the water kept slipping thru the tines. Tomorrow we're going to dig out a couple of water bars uphill to correct drainage and hopefully fix some washouts. Bring your mud clothes, boots, shovels, pick axes, crow bars, and gloves. If you don't have anything tools then don't worry - bring yourself - we'll have some extra tools.

RecPath Construction Reboot

Two weekends ago we had record warmth and the RecPath was swarming with people, dogs, and families out enjoying the Greenway.

Since then we've had floods, and more snow, but Spring construction on the Shelton Lakes RecPath restarted last week after a winter hiatus. One crew lead by Bob & Steve Pruzinsky has installed drainage and is placing fine gravel on the section between Oak Valley Road and the White House on Rt. 108.

They're laying down filter fabric over the base that was placed last December, and putting down a surface course of fine processed stone and gravel and compacting it with a roller.

About 3/8ths of the first section is done. If the weather holds then the rest of it should be done next week. You'll also see the side slopes dressed, and in some areas covered with wood chip mulch. It's starting to look really nice.

We also started staking out construction of the next phase from Wesley Drive to the Land Trust Meadow on Lane Street.

A second crew led by Brad Wells has started clearing this section this week. The route is being laid out to minimize impacts to significant trees, stone walls, and rock outcrops while creating the 8% grades that we need for handicapped accessibility.

The RecPath will be open during construction but please stay out of the contractor's way and be careful during working hours. Enjoy the RecPath and watch the progress this Spring.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Eklund Garden Spring Clean-up

This is a cross-post from the Eklund Garden blog. Many of our volunteers are members of the Trails Committee, and the Garden is located along one of our trails, near Hope Lake. Thank you everyone who helped out!