Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Cut Above

Now this is what we need for the Trails Committee. Turn those unsightly trees in the middle of your RecPath into valuable lumber. There was a neat demonstration of some portable bandsaw lumbermills at the Wooden Boat Show in Mystic this weekend. Just think of the money we would save on lumber. Hey, maybe we could even panel the inside of the Shelton Lakes Nature Center and Brew Pub at Nells Rock Road.

Here's the fancy sawmill with the hydraulics for loading and spinning the logs. We could cut a lot of boards with this one.

This is a early form of Mass Transit. Maybe we can get a grant to restore horse-drawn traffic on the RecPath between Downtown and Huntington Center? I bet the Shelton Historical Society has a wagon that we could use.

This sawmill is a little lower-tech than the others, but it converts trees into boards.

This was an interesting trail map at Pequot Woods in the neighboring town. So we could cut down the trees, saw them up into boards, and then route the trail maps into the boards. See - the mill would be really cost-effective. And we could sell the left-over boards from the sawmill for firewood at Beechwood Market. A true vertical industry. And that doesn't even take into account revenue from the Shelton Lakes Nature Center and Brew Pub. A true Shelton tourist attraction in the making.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summer Brushing

Southern Connecticut get more that 45" of rain per year (which is more than Seattle), when, combined with recent warm weather and lots of sunshine leads to, you guessed it, plants growing out of control along Shelton's Trails. Since we were working on the Paugussett Trail all Spring the brush has exploded elsewhere. Today we struck back.

OK, maybe it wasn't killer Day of the Triffids 1960's horror film bad, but the plants were definitely getting uppity.

This little girl had to walk down the RecPath with her head cocked sideways in order to pass the shrubs. So before we had to call Indiana Jones out to clear the way the Trails Committee swung into action.

Jim & Rich did some aggressive pruning along the RecPath behind Pine Lake. They cleared out a lot of the brush growing into the Path.

The Wheeler St. entrance to the RecPath is across the street from the Shelton Senior Center and the Police Department. This was the area that a lot of work was done to make the RecPath easier to use for a wide range of users.

Bill Dyer & Lynn Reid tackled the Turkey Trot Trail along the powerlines. Lynn came in off Injured Reserve with 2 week old broken ribs to work on the trails. We think her doctor just told her to "suck it up and walk it off" (Lynn probably went with the cheaper physician).

We also took some millings on the Gator and filled out a wash-out behind Pine Lake from one of this Spring's storms. We tried to cover it with pine needles and stone so it looked the same as the rest of the RecPath. Can you find the repair.

We also cleared out brush to make the RecPath safer and easier to see around curves. It was nice to say hi to all the folks out enjoying the trails and open spaces today; either mountain biking, walking dogs, jogging, fishing, or just strolling about enjoying summer. It was great to see so many people out using the Shelton Lakes Greenway.

We're glad everybody was out enjoying the trails today, but remember that they have to be maintained by volunteers. Consider helping out sometime when you have the chance. All it takes is an email into Shelton Trails and Lynn will put you on our e-mail list for future work parties. Whatever you can do will be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mill, Baby, Mill

Road millings from a paving project on Constitution Blvd South have been stockpiled at the corner of Nells Rock Road and Shelton Ave (in case you missed the towering black mountain driving by). Road millings are just old pavement that was ripped up and broken into little pieces.

The millings are being used to repair parking areas and build a foundation for the Shelton Lakes Recreation Path in the Nells Rock area.

The Parks & Rec Department is doing the work, starting from Oak Valley Road and working north along the yellow-blazed Rec Path towards the corner of Nells Rock Road and Shelton Ave. The picture above is the combined Rec Path/Oak Valley Trail section that has been nearly impassable on foot due to the deep muddy ruts. No longer.

View Rec Path millings project 2010 in a larger map

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Shelton Trails Day 2010

The Shelton Trails Committee & Shelton Conservation Commission hosted 3 guided hikes as part of the 2010 Connecticut Trails Day celebrations. About 4o people took part despite the forecast of thunderstorms and muggy weather. Lynn Reid led the hike on the new Paugussett Trail section, Teresa led the Nature Loop at Hope Lake, and the rest of the Trail Com. led the Bridge to Bridge hike starting at the Community Center.

Victoria & Michelle Lown of Higgins Group Real Estate supported us by providing ice cold water. It was much appreciated. We then walked down the sidewalk, crossed Huntington St. at Lane St. and walked down Lane St. to RecPath entrance by the new sign kiosk.

Rich Skudlarek not only was our official Trails Day Photographer, but he also GPSed our route & created aerial overlays. Here's the beginning from Huntington Center, up Lane Street, and through Huntington Woods.

We had a few puppies along for the walk.

Here's Terry Gallagher at Lizard Head Rock explaining how the subdivision road was supposed to go through the cliff, but this piece was preserved as open space in the final approvals. He's also sporting the sylish CFPA "Hike Leader" shirt that was part of Trails Day. Connecticut Forest & Parks Association is one of the oldest environmental groups in the state & they sponsored over 160 events this year.

And here's where we left civilization behind at Crabapple Lane & headed off to Eklund.

The mountain laurels along the powerlines were spectacular. Here's Sheri, Bill, Aleta, and a younger hiker enjoying the views. It was a little hot, but this is definitively something people should visit again this week when it's cooler.

We passed a number of people out enjoying the open spaces. Here's one official-looking mountain biker over by Four Corners.

This is the third leg of the hike from the Eklund Native Species Garden on Oak Valley Road up to the White House on Rt. 108. We followed the blue blazes along the back side of Hope Lake.

And here we are at the Eklund Native Species Garden. The beds are starting to fill in this year.

We stopped at Hope Lake for a short break (and to catch a refreshing breeze). Jim Taradine was enjoying the view across the Lake.

A family was enjoying fishing at Blueberry Point on the south end of the lake.

And we met up with the Hope Lake Nature Hikers on the back side of the Lake. The trails had traffic today, but usually it's an easy quite walk to enjoy fishing or a view of the water.

We came onto the other improved end of the RecPath at Rt. 108 by the White House (city open space). The mountain of road millings in the background was from construction earlier this week. We have been trying to get some for construction of the Recreation Path base, and they were supposed to arrive "sometime in June". Well be careful what you wish for because this mountain got plunked on our RecPath 3 days before Trails Day, but we were able to walk around it.

This is the improved section from Rt. 108 to Pine Lake. Here the RecPath is about 8 feet wide and is surfaced with crushed stone or paved for handicapped accessibility.

This guy & his dad were just finishing kayaking at the Silent Waters Canoe Launch when we passed.

Here's the end of the hike at the Pine Lake trailhead on Rt. 108.

Here's Teresa Gallagher & Lynn Reid; two of our other hike leaders, at the Pine Lake parking lot helping shuttle people back to their cars at the start. Jim is pointing out some of the critters from the vernal pool that Teresa was showing people on the Hope Lake Hike.

And of course there was the post-hike get together at the Huntington St. Cafe after all the shuttling was done. All the hikes were interesting and a lot of fun - enjoy your trails.