Monday, November 26, 2012

Boehm Pond Clean-Up Saturday 12/01/12

The Post-Sandy trail clean up continues this Saturday at Boehm Pond Trail.  We'll meet at 8:30 at the trail head opposite 98 Farmill Street.

This pretty little trail system suffered last year during Hurricane Irene, but that was mostly the oaks.  This year the oaks got it along Farmill St., the pines got hit over by Boehm Pond, and the beeches and birches got  blasted in between.

And I do mean blasted, or maybe shredded.  Look at what happened to this sapling when the larger tree hit it.  It tuned the whole tree into a bundle of toothpicks.

The rest of the trail has other problems.  We can use a lot of help.  If you don't have a chainsaw, axe, or a team of mules don't feel bad.  We can use folks with gloves, rakes, leaf blowers  and bow saws to clear debris off the trails while others are cutting the worst stuff.  So if you want to help reclaim your neighborhood trail, or just explore somewhere new, come on down Saturday for some fresh air.  It may be a little noisy for a bit though.

In somewhat related news, Shelton has a large pile of wood chips available at the Transfer Station if you need them.  The City has a large tub grinder labeled "The Beast" gradually reducing the mountain of logs, stumps, and brush from damage clearing from the two storms.  Too bad we can't use that on the trails.

Now  if we only had a smaller woodchipper for storm clean-up.......

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Enjoy the Turkey Trot Trail this Thanksgiving

If you didn't run in the Turkey Trot race downtown this morning there's still an opportunity to enjoy Shelton's Turkey Trot Trail.

And you don't even have to bring an axe thanks to the hard-working volunteers that cleared out the Hurricane Sandy damage.  There was a lot of damage to the pines along Rt. 108.

The Turkey Trot Trail  is a 3 mile loop and a half that was set up as a 5K run for the cross country teams at the High and Intermediate Schools.  The access point is at the sign kiosk on Constitution Boulevard North between the driveways for the two schools.  It's an easy hike that's good for all family members; 2 and 4 footed.

We named it the Turkey Trot Trail because Bill Dyer and I chased 29 turkeys off the path when were building it.  They didn't go into the woods - just kept running up the trail ahead of us like big chickens.  Turkeys are funny birds that were pretty much wiped out in Connecticut a few decades ago.  Their re-introduction is a great success story & Shelton's open spaces provide good habitat for them.  Enjoy the trails and maybe you'll see a few that are not in a Norman Rockwell picture.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

More views...Sandy

In spite of the many deadfalls and debris brought about by Sandy and the Nor'easter that followed, the Shelton Trails Committee members and volunteers were able to clear the Rec Path within a few days after the storms. The following photos highlight some of the damage and the subsequent efforts to clean up the mess.

Click on photos to enlarge



Lynn does the heavy work, clearing up everyone else's mess

Richard cuts through a super fir

Terry carefully works through the last bit of a precariously positioned hinge

Luis clears debris as Jim creates more

The Gator serves in many capacities, here as a platform for getting at the high stuff

It also held all of our tools and gear

Sandie works one of the chainsaws

Daniel came all the way from Yale in New Haven to help out and at the same time write an account of folks reacting to storm damage

Daniel, Jim, Lynn and Sandie attacking the "pick-up sticks" blocking the Turkey Trot Trail

Pam lends a hand clearing branches

Al applies his expertise to a massive deadfall as Sandie and Jim await their turn to cut

Jim cut a notch before undercutting another monster fir

Richard trims the remains of another biggie

Thanks to all that helped clear up the aftermath of both storms, including work party volunteers, Trails Committee members, and strollers and hikers who took the time to pick up a branch or two.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Time for a New Chain

With all the storm damage clearing going on I noticed that my new chainsaw cut better than my old Stihl 025, so I was going to sharpen that chain.  However, when I compared the old chain to a new chain the Frugal Yankee (a.k.a. CYB) decided the old chain had been fully depreciated and it was time to splurge.

This is the new chain compared to the old one.  Almost all the steel in the teeth had been filed away from repeated sharpenings.

A sharp chain cuts better and safer than a dull one.  Stihl has a on-line video on how to sharpen a chain.  They throw in a lot of safety chat, but the video is actually helpful.

I stopped at Joseph Martinka and Sons Saturday (11/24/12) and picked up a couple of new replacement Stihl chains, and ran into one of my neighbors getting some parts for his John Deere.  Martinka's is a nice little family business in the White Hills neighborhood of Shelton if you need chainsaw parts.  Just doing our little bit to support local businesses.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

We need a Bigger Rake, or another Saturday Trail Work Party

Yes, we'll need a bigger rake and then some.  But, little by little, we're clearing up the damage from Hurricane Sandy and Nor'easter #1 of the 2012-2013 Season.  Join us this Saturday (11/17/12) for another exciting trails work party entitled "How do I clean this #?%@@X>* up?"

This is what the Turkey Trot trail looks like along Rt. 108 between the Silent Waters Dam and the powerlines.  Bill Dyer reports that the western loop out to Willoughby Road isn't as bad, but the section through the pines took a whuppin'.

Meet us over the by the Dog Park and Red Barn at 8:30 and we'll move over to the work site across the street from there depending on who shows up.  Helpers of all ages and abilities are welcome.  Bring gloves, old clothes (you will get some pine sap on you), drinks, rakes, bow saws, loppers, chainsaws, etc.  There will be a safe work zone between the sawyers and the branch haulers so don't worry if you want to bring younger folks.  There is a lot to do for everybody.

Future work parties will be listed under our Events page.  A new listing of Trail Conditions has also been posted to keep track of storm damage repairs.  We are in the process of hiking each trail to prioritize work parties, and encourage any feedback from the public.

Thanks to Bruce Nichols for this map he sent in of storm damage from one of his runs.  This was helpful in clearing up the damage behind Hope Lake the last 2 weekends.

And as always we encourage people to participate in either one of our formal trail work parties; like the one this Saturday, or just rake and clear your favorite stretch of trail.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sandy Clean-Up Continues

A crack crew of trail volunteers swung into action Saturday morning clearing blowdowns and other storm damage from Sandy & the Wednesday nor'easter.  We concentrated on cleaning up the blue-blazed Paugussett Trail extension behind Hope Lake.  The trail was hard hit with numerous pine trees snapped and toppled across the trail.

Here's a victory photo with Jim, Luis, Bill, Sandie, Rich, and Lynn after we cleared out the worst of the blow-downs.

The morning didn't start out smooth.  The RecPath had been cleared of blowdowns last weekend, however the nor'easter this week took down even more pine trees.  Rich had to clear branches off this tree just so we could scootch the Gator under the tree just to get the tools to the work site.

This spot had about 6 pines snapped and jumbled together.  Clearing this type of storm damage is tricky because everything is under tension and the trees are hung up.  We gradually whittled this mess down though.   At the end I said "What's that sound".  It was the quiet of the lake without the chainsaws.

This is one of the finished sections after the trees were cleared.  Lynn and Luis worked hard at cleaning up the trail so it's easy to follow.  If any scout groups need some White Pine logs for benches, bird houses, or derby cars we can hook them up.

Frankenstorm Sandy took down a lot of pines.  This one over by Silent Waters was laying down almost perfectly E-W.

Next Up; The Turkey Trot Trail along Rt 108.  The pines there are even worse, if that's possible, then the mess along Hope Lake.  We'll try to give advance notice for volunteers but this is an area where all help is really, really welcome.  Enjoy the trails and please do what you can to help with the storm restoration.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Post-Sandy Hurricane Clean Up

Cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy.

Members of the Trails Committee were out clearing storm damage from Hurricane Sandy from the RecPath last week.  Jim and Sheri are working on a multiple pine puzzle behind Pine Lake.  At one point I think we had 4 sawyers going at the same time to clear this mess.

After 3 days of volunteer chainsawing and dragging most of the serious storm damage was off the Path and we were open for business again. 

This section near Meadow Street had multiple trees down.  Luis did a great job blowing off the Path after Sandy and Rich sawed the trees.

The Blue trail behind Hope Lake is still in tough shape.  For that matter most of the trails are in tough shape.  The strong gusts from the East toppled or snapped a lot of pine trees on the western side of the Lake.  There is also a lot of storm damage on the north side of Rt. 108.

We'll be meeting at the Red Barn on the corner of Nells Rock Road and Rt. 108 tomorrow 11/10/12 at 8:30 to attack the mess.  All hands are welcome, even if you don't have a chainsaw.  The clearing goes a lot easier with multiple people.  My daughter was out helping me clear some of the blowdowns last Sunday and it's great having a team.  The weather is supposed to cooperate - please help us out - even if you're walking or running by.

And if anybody has a good way to get pine sap out for gloves and jeans let us know.