Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Paugussett Reroute at Birchbank: Part 1

Spring Break in the mud! A host of Shelton High School students came out in the rain to help reroute the Paugussett Trail at Birchbank.  Although we delayed the start for two hours hoping for the weather to clear, not everyone got the message and several people were waiting and ready to go at the original starting time. So we started.

This section of new trail involved very little pruning and a whole lot of digging the trail into the side slope, and that meant mud. Lots of it. We were very fortunate to have Colin Carroll from CFPA make the drive down from Middlefield.  It's at this point people generally stop me and say, "What is CFPA?"  It's the Connecticut Forest and Park Association and they have been managing the Paugussett Trail in Shelton for some eighty years or so. Eighty years.  They manage some 825+ miles of "CT Blue-Blazed Trails" throughout the state, so the Paugussett is just one of many trails.

So we were very lucky to have a pro like Colin come down and show the kids how to bench in a trail just the right way so that it doesn't turn into a gully ten years from now. The idea was to pitch the slope so that water runs off the side of the trail and down the hill, rather than down the trail. 

A few hours later, at the rescheduled starting time, lots more student came and we had them strung along the trail digging in the mud. This type of trail work is tiring, so it was great to have so many helping hands. The next section of trail we work on should be much easier. Also less muddy. This was pretty challenging work for those community service hours the kids have to put in, but there is a sense of accomplishment when it's all over. This section of trail will be hiked for many years. 

Towards the end of the show, Colin started working on the stone steps at the beginning of the new section so that the steps direct people in the right direction.  That's some serious rock work! Thanks, Colin!  

Also many thanks to Shelton High School for helping us get word out to the students, and to all the volunteers who showed up in the rain to help build this trail:

Prashanna Kandex
Christian Spillane
Ryan Widomski
Justin Widomski
Victoria Neves
Matthew Liscio
Jinkuk Hong
Derek Cerulli
Daniel Cerulli
Eric Silva
Jonathan Dean
Jacob Teto
Matthew Cho
Justys Ortiz
James Bell
Angela Toth
Sean Conway
Nick Papa
Angelo Papa
Lindsay Gowans
Julia Boretsky

Part 2 will be held Thursday at 3:00 pm, and should be much easier work. Yay! We'll be clearing brush and leaves off of some new trail sections near the chimney. Also, our Tree Warden Dean Cawthra has stepped in to cut some trees down at the overlook Thursday morning. Part 3 will be Saturday at 10:00 am, when we'll try to finish up any rough sections, including some fine tuning where the trail was benched in on Tuesday, and cleaning up the edges so it looks nice. And maybe some blazing.