Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mending Fences With Many Hands

Trail volunteers got a lot done yesterday under cloudy Spring skies.  We repaired several broken fence rails along the Recreation Path & Turkey Trot Trail, and made further trail improvements on the new Paugussett Trail Extension.

We had a fine turn out of Shelton High School students that were helping on the trail;  Marco Pieger, Elida Paiz & Wesley Kocurek are shown with Jim & Rich after they got done benching a portion of the Paugussett into the hillside.  This piece of the trail relocation was roughed out last week and connects the Paugussett with the Turkey Trot Trail.  Now we just need to paint the trail blazes.

A lot of the fence rails on top of the dams at Silent Waters are rotting.  We are gradually replacing the worst ones a few at a time due a limited budget.  At least today we could move the fence posts to slide in the new rails.  Here Wesley is giving one post a few loving taps with a 12 lb. sledgehammer to motivate it into the right spot.

Helpful Trail Tip:  ALWAYS buy pressure-treated fence rails when doing a trail project.  It may seem like a good deal to save some money and get the plain rails, but you'll spend more time and expense down the road with maintenance.

Some of the rails needed adjustments to fit on the curves.  Here Jim is doing some field tapering on one of the ends using a hatchet.  Next time we'll have to bring an adze.  Notice that most of the Trail Committee was standing behind Marco because they've seen Jim work before. 

Then a little more fine tuning and the new rails were set back into place.

We have other places where we have fences that use pressure treated lumber for the rails and they've held up fine for years.  We've had to repair storm damage when trees have fallen on them, but other than that we've had few problems.  This particular set of fences is a little different.  Now that the RecPath is complete as a linear park maybe Parks & Recreation or a contractor should be repairing these fences so volunteers don't have to do all the maintenance.

Elida was taking out some brush along the top of the dam in addition to fence repair and trail digging.  The RecPath runs along the top of a historic dam that once supplied much of downtown Shelton's drinking water but now it's got some unique plants that grow along it.  There were a few patches of blue wildflowers along the route and probably some Jack-in-the Pulpits in bloom now.

We got a lot done, had another safe and fun work party, and handed out some of the new caps.  Thanks to everybody who came and helped out.

We've been working on the Paugussett Trail a lot lately trying to get it in shape for Trails Day.  Come out and enjoy the trails and see all the work that has been done.  Join us on the 5/19 for the RecPath hike & ride, our next work party on 5/25, and the Paugussett Trail Extension opening on 6/1 for National Trails Day.  Enjoy your trails and open spaces.

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