Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pine Lake Spruce Up

Winterberrys at Pine Lake
The Trails Committee is scrambling to spruce up the Shelton Lakes Recreation Path for the October 6th Grand Opening Ceremony & Hike.  Above is a view of Pine Lake from the trailhead.  The Winterberry planted by the Boy Scouts a few years ago are really doing well.  The shrub is not only a beautiful ornamental, but it is also a native species that provides a key food source for wildlife.

The downtown gateway at Pine Lake was overgrown and has needed maintenance for some time.  Despite the threat of tornado warnings and wicked windy weather the Trails Committee and volunteers ventured forth to vanquish vegetation.  Poison ivy was waded through, vines pulled, briars were chopped, broken trees dropped, and invasive Japanese Knotweed mowed.

It was good to see the RecPath getting a lot of use that morning from hikers, runners, walkers and bike riders.  Most people were great at stopping when we were dropping hung up trees and branches that were a hazard.  We've got to get some signs made up reminding people about entering a trail work zone and actually checking ahead before letting them through; although the red pole saw worked well for that.  We had a couple of runners pass by with headphones while we were using power equipment and it would have been unfortunate if there was an accident.

Trail Safety Tip: Trail volunteers in work parties often are not aware someone is walking by particularly when using power tools.  Picture yourself: sweat running down your eyes, cutting a tree, concentrating on where it's going and not trying to hit your co-workers.  You don't always notice a jogger or biker going under the tree until they're right in front of you.  Even a little 8" birch, when dropped from 20 feet, will put a dent in your day.  The trails are generally very safe; enjoy exploring them, but realize that you are doing so at your own risk.  Be aware of your surroundings and don't assume that everything is 100% safe just because you're in the woods.

This picture captures some of the organized mayhem when we were taking down some of the hanging trees and broken tops that were dangling over the RecPath.  There are a lot of people moving around dropping, cutting, dragging stuff, etc.  We are pretty safe but it's easy to not notice someone running through the work area when you're focusing on other tasks.

Here's Sandie looking official with her Personal Protective Equipment.  It's sometimes helpful to wear a hard hat when you're pulling vines out of trees because you never know what else will unexpectedly decide that it wants to fall on you or your friends.

We also added some millings where the RepPath settled at the bridge for handicapped accessibility.  A 3" lip may not be much to step over but it is a barrier if you are in a wheelchair.  More millings need to be added and compacted to make a smoother transition, but this is what we could do with 5 gallon pails of road millings.  The RecPath is a great spot for people to get out and enjoy the outdoors, but sometimes little things that most people don't think about are big barriers for universal access.  We did see one family with a baby stroller make a nice exit from the bridge deck without the sharp drop right after we finished, so that was gratifying.

It was a productive work party, and we had some fun afterwards at the picnic area.  Pine Lake is a really pretty spot to visit along Rt. 108 and one of the scenic high points along the Shelton Lakes Greenway.


  1. The winterberries are actually a viburnum.

  2. To heck with the viburnum. We just topped 30,000 views of the Trails Blog in the last couple of years. Somebody out there is following our trail adventures.