Saturday, February 22, 2020

10 Winter Workers on Oak Valley Trail

Getting it done
This February has had some erratic weather; cold, rain, cold, ice, warm, rain, cold.  Not much snow though.  Normally there's 6" to a foot of snow on the ground now preventing brush trimming along the trails (it's good to cut the stems close to the ground to avoid a lot of  "spears" sticking up.  But we took advantage of the nicer weather this weekend to clear out along Oak Valley Trail, and clean up some storm blow-downs.

Ten volunteers came out on a brisk Saturday morning at the powerlines along Rt. 108.  One group went in from the road and cleared out briars and other brush along the trail.  Cutting it now makes our job a lot easier in late Spring when everything is bursting out and it's hard to keep up with trail clearing. 

Owen using one of the brushcutters near the trail entrance along Shelton Avenue.  It was great to have help from someone on the cross country team that runs the trails regularly.

Another group went over to clear this multiple blowdown near Pine Street.  One dead pine tree fell over in a storm, knocked over a second, and the pair of them knocked over a maple, which shattered the top of another tree before getting hung up in a swamp.  It was a mess that people had to walk and bike around on one of Shelton's more popular trails.

The first step was clearing out some areas to work around the blowdown so we had a safe way to walk away when we had to.  Jim cleared out a stone ramp that some mountain bikers had built over an old fallen log next to where the trees had fallen.

Trail Tip:  Next time bring a crow bar when the ground is frozen.  The trail hoe worked pretty well though.  Or, wait till the ground thaws.

Terry and Jim remove one of the logs across Oak Valley Trail.

Mark & Jim cutting up the last of the fallen pine trees blocking the trail.  Mark had actually bought a longer bar and chain for his saw so it would be easier to cut the larger logs.  That worked out pretty good.  We were able to cut those from one side of the blowdown without having to go from side to side.  Which was a good thing because the trees moved and rolled some when they were cut free.

Three down and one to go.  We then had a long and thoughtful chat about how to cut the last tree that was hung up.  We were not sure how the tree would roll, slide or move when it was cut.   There was now room to get under the tree safely and it didn't appear to be going anywhere.  So after much debate we decided that discretion was the better part of valor and left that one up for now.  We may come back and try it again if it's a problem.

Oak Valley Trail is now open again.  Mind your head if your mountain biking.

The other members of the crew cleared out a lot of bush along the trail; particularly under the powerlines.  This is an area that grows fast in the spring and this should help with early summer trail maintaining.

Mike Flament did a lot of wire brushing on the bog bridge over the stream just west of the powerlines.  The bridge was growing slippery due to moss buildup.

We got a lot done.  It was great that we had a good turn out.  Thanks to Kristel, Owen, Graham, Luis, Ellen, Val, Mike, Mark, Jim & Terry for coming out to help.

Does anybody know why coyotes like to poop on rocks and logs?  This little tidbit was just in the woods near the bridge.  Does anybody know why they do this?

1 comment:

  1. Update: The widow-maker tree has been reported to the Tree Warden. It's a job for a professional. But it's not completely blocking the trail and is therefore not a priority.