Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Reviewing the Paugussett Extension

Chuck Sack and Bill Dyer reviewing the newest section of trail near Buddington Rd.
Chuck Sack from CFPA drove down to Shelton yesterday to review the Trails Committee's extension to the Paugussett Trail.  Our goal for several decades has been to restore the Paugussett Trail from Indian Well State Park to the Stratford town line. But while the Trails Committee can blaze a trail, only CFPA can officially recognize a new trail as one of the official Connecticut Blue-Blazed Trails.  

Chuck walked the trail with Bill last year and recommended several reroutes at that time to improve the hiking experience.  Those reroutes have been completed, as well as a reroute near John Dominick Drive. In addition the trail was extended from John Dominick Drive to Buddington Road as an Eagle Scout project. We started our walk at the new Buddington Road trailhead and headed north towards Indian Well. 

Silent Waters
The most significant reroute involved the section between Hope Lake and Independence Drive. The new route avoids the powerlines where possible and now passes over the Silent Waters bridge on the Rec Path before heading up the hill behind the reservoir.  
My camera took this picture without my permission, north of Independence Dr.
Another reroute, recently completed as an Eagle Scout project, was a detour off the powerlines between Independence Drive and Wellington Court, involving a set of bridges and some rather knobby, seasonally wet ground. The new section will be much easier to maintain than the mowed path under the powerlines. It's also cooler hiking under the trees. 

Holes from a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker on a newly blazed tree
Along the way, Chuck pointed out several spots were it would be difficult for a hiker to decide which way to go and gave some good advice for where to paint additional trail blazes. There were also several areas where blazes existed last year but were gone this year, especially in the open areas such as the Wiacek meadows and down in the Indian Well meadow, where farm equipment or park trucks have knocked over the tall stakes we had blazed. There were also a few areas that needed clearing, but most of the trail was in good shape. 
Walking through the Wiacek meadows near Meadow Street. 
All in all, it was a good walk and we got a thumbs up on the routing. We just need to clarify some of the blazing and clear out a few overgrown spots and the trail will be recommended for approval at the December CFPA meeting. 

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