Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hazardous Condition on RecPath 10-31-10

SAFETY ALERT: All RecPath users should be careful when using the RecPath in the vicinity of the White House on Nells Rock Road this weekend. A private contractor doing work for the City (work not associated with the RecPath) started to use some of the millings that were piled up in the parking lot, and stuck all his equipment directly in the middle of the RecPath yesterday. I went out to look at the Dog Park construction and was amazed to see how poorly safety in this work zone was being handled.

The Shelton Lakes Recreation Path gets hundreds of users per week and this has been a recurring problem at this site where every City project just dumps their junk there without considering all the other users of the Greenway.

If you are out riding bikes with kids or hiking on the trails please be careful to avoid this hazard so you or your family doesn't get hurt. This should be a temporary problem and hopefully the contractor will clear this up quickly in the next couple of days.

The Contractor should not of placed his equipment in the RecPath in the first place. We wouldn't put a screener and earthmoving machinery directly in the middle of the soccer fields at Capewell Park and expect the kids to play around it, would we?

Second, there are no advance signs to alert the public that they are entering an active construction area, or how to avoid the problem. Hopefully everybody uses common sense & goes around the area. The Dog Park is also under construction but you can walk up the driveway & around the fence & get back on the RecPath above the Dog Park.

There will be additional construction going on here in the near future. Nells Rock Road is going to be closed on Tuesday for construction of a culvert at Hope Lake. Construction of the Dog Park is on-going and the gates and parking lot will continue. New Construction of the Recreation Path will be starting here early in November (but with warning signs) and the public will need to avoid that construction if they want to use this section of the RecPath. Hopefully our RecPath Contractor will not be as sloppy as this guy & there won't be any safety issues.

Please be careful using the RecPath south of Shelton Avenue (Rt. 108) over the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Far Mill River Clean-up 10/30/10

The Nutmeg Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Shelton Land Conservation Trust are joining forces to clean up trash along the Far Mill River on Saturday 10/30/10 at 9:00.

[EDIT by TERESA: There was confusion about the starting point because of out-dated info on the Trouts Unlimited webpage. The event will at Beard Sawmill Road (near Wells Hollow Farm) under the Route 8 bridge, NOT at Rt 110.]

They are meeting at Rt. 110 along the Stratford/Shelton border. Probably some people will go in at the Far Mill Trailhead behind ASF Sports (opposite the dump). While this isn't a trail work party, cleaning the river is a good cause & it's worth supporting these two organizations if you can help out.

They will meet where the Far Mill flows beneath rte. 110 near the Stratford / Shelton border. Bring gloves and insect repellent. We are in need of volunteers to pick up trash and debris.

The Shelton Land Trust has offered to join us on this clean-up effort and we look forward to working with them. For more information, contact

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Donated Tools

We've had a lot of knuckleheads do a lot of stupid stuff lately; drive cars on boardwalks, ATV damage, stealing cameras, breaking kiosks, etc. But from time to time we also get some nice feedback and assistance that we were not expecting, and that is refreshing.

My wife's folks, the Clarks, moved out of state, and donated some tools to the Trails Committee that are very welcome.

A virtually new chainsaw with a small 12" bar. This will be very handy for clearing blow downs and other trail chores. The saw was just tuned up at Martinka's and it works well on smaller trees.

They also gave us a shovel and a mulch fork that will get used. Thank you Donna & Phil for your kind gifts. Anybody else that needs to clear out your garage of tools you no longer need feel free to give us a call.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tahmore Hike

We had a great day for a guided hike at Tahmore Place on Sunday, Oct. 17th. Almost 2 dozen folks showed up to enjoy a nice warm, sunny, and much less windy day than Saturday.

Lynn Reid goes over the pre-hike preamble and takes a head count. She doesn't need to bring all the same people out of the woods that she likes to lead in, but she likes to come out with the same number that she started with.

If you every see a hiker walking briskly with 3 dogs on the trails around town; say hi. Lynn is one of our most active Trails Committee leaders.

We had people of all ages and most of them had not been on Tahmore before. The property is owned by the Shelton Land Conservation Trust, a private charity, who generously allowed us to lead this public walk. The Tahmore Loop is about one mile long and joins up with the Paugussett Trail above Indian Well State Park.

There were nice views of the Housatonic River, cows, a small footbridge, and lots and lots of acorns. Thanks to the trails work party that blew off the trails yesterday morning. It made a big difference in the footing.

It was a nice hike for families. The trail is set up as a figure 8 pattern so you can do a short or longer walk, depending on your leg size.

One big hemlock came down across the trail after the work party. The wind was pretty wild yesterday & we had wind gusts of up to 45 mph at times. I spoke with Hank Lauriet, the overseerer of Land Trust Monitors who lives next door & he said that he didn't hear the tree crash down. I asked him benignly if he was in the woods at the time, and he said no. That's when I said "so, it's true, if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, it doesn't make a sound". Hank muttered something and walked away, one of the few times that he was at a loss for words.

We had a great walk. Thanks to Rich Skudlarek for being the official trails photographer. The Shelton Land Trust is a private organization that is separate from the City of Shelton, and they take care of dozen's of properties like Tahmore. Consider becoming a member, it's tax deductible & you get to explore some hidden corners of Shelton.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Scouts, Stones, Streets, & Stumphenge

It was a busy time in the woods this past Columbus Day Weekend. While the Trails Committee & volunteers were out working on the RecPath, other folks had created some eclectic woodland seating; but more on that later.

In another portion of the open spaces Ken Gregiorio and his eagle scouts were wrapping up a lot of hard work along the Blue Dot trail (formerly Dominick Trail). They were working on the stretch between the Eklund Native Species Garden on Oak Valley Road, and 4 Corners going toward the Abby Wright parking lot.

They brought in and placed over 10 Gator-loads of crushed stone to improve the footing through a boulderfield, and closed off a short cut trail that some users had made going though a wetland.

Ken and his friends, with a little help from Rich S. and his trusty Gator, marshaled a work team to get, carry, and place the stone well back into the woods. This was the last part of their project that included some restoration, creating a portion of a mountain biking bypass around a cliff, and building some stone stairs. Ken & his friends moved a lot of stone in this area. We think they wore Rich out.

Elsewhere new temporary posts were set to try to deter motor vehicles from driving on the RecPath. We're trying to make sure nobody gets hurt or does damage driving on the RecPath (see the earlier Boardwalk post). We are currently in the process of ordering new foldable/removable bollards for the road crossings. We also have new granite posts on the way and hope to have some of those in next month - just about the time that new construction starts on the RecPath.

And you may have noticed Iroquois Gas Pipeline Co. out mowing their Right of Way last week. Last month was CL&P's turn, this month it's Iroquois, so we may have a little clean up and signage to do along the Paugussett Trail so hikers don't get confused. Just bring one of our new maps and follow the blue blazes and you won't get lost (we hope - it's not our fault).

Which brings us back to Stumphenge. What happens when the Parks and Rec crew has a little time on their hands at lunch clearing for fencing at the new Bark Park. They get creative and do a little whittling, with chainsaws.

So you, or your pooch, may have a rustic seat awaiting you when the Bark Park opens. Not sure when that will be but the contract for the fence was awarded. Construction should start....Oh...., right about the time our RecPath construction starts, in the same place. It should make for an interesting Fall.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Columbus Day Mulch Party

Sunny, 60's, no humidity, beautiful Fall Saturday morning, - so what did some Sheltonites do - they came down to the RecPath at Lane Street to do some do-good work. The Parks & Rec Dept. guys dropped off some wood chip mulch at different points and we cleaned up the edges of the RecPath to make the Huntington Center gateway more inviting.

Rich and Jim were trying to increase productivity by chasing the volunteers with pitchforks. But, after we explained the whole Volunteering Is Supposed To Be Fun concept to them they went back to mowing the brush along the edges of the RecPath and moving a couple of mulch piles to dress up the edges. The wood chips help prevent erosion and make the edges a little safer in places so walkers don't twist their ankles.

Carol & Luis were clearing out some of the brush and briars that had been growing into the RecPath. This thankless task gives people a bit more elbow room and makes it safer and more enjoyable to bike and walk along the RecPath. People may enjoy the feeling of this even when they don't immediately see the work that was done. Thanks for working in the brush guys.

Helpful Trail Tip: the difference between Poison Ivy and Virginia Creeper is that Poison Ivy has 3 smooth leaves. Hopefully nobody is itching too much tonight.

Here's Sheri raking the leaves off the RecPath but leaving the stones. A real pro! Happy Anniversary. Thanks to everybody that came out including Janice, Gary, and Lynn. Having a good sized crew makes the work go fast.

Everybody enjoy the trails & RecPath this Columbus Day weekend. The area between Lane St. and the Boardwalk looks great.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fixing Lane St. RecPath Gateway

Yesterday we replaced the temporary wooden post at Lane St. that prevented unauthorized vehicles from driving on the RecPath. A previous post was broken by vandals and that allowed guys to try to drive their car on the boardwalk last week.

A pair of granite posts are going in soon on either side of the removable post; about where the sledgehammer and workmate are in the above photo. A permanent fold-down bollard will eventually be installed where the temporary post is located. This will allow access for maintenance and emergency vehicles, but will prevent midnight excursions like last week's driving a Cadillac across the Boardwalk.

Here is a photo of the boardwalk after Mr. Durkin's car was towed off of it last Sunday.

It looks like Mr. Durkin got back recently to patch the deck before somebody tripped, which is good.

And here's a couple of our customers out enjoying the RecPath. We also had a number of teenagers walking, a family walking their dog, some bikers, and other couples out enjoying a beautiful fall day. All of them came by within the hour that I was replacing the post. And we don't need any of them getting hurt due to vandalism.

And here's the bikers testing the new post - looks like it works well & is safe.

It's becoming apparent that we need some limited parking near the RecPath entrance. The available land is limited due to the narrow scenic road, and inland wetlands. We scaled back our entrance when we got our Inland Wetland approval - we may have to go back to the Inland Wetland Commission to provide a little parking just for functionality. The parking would probably have to go on the left behind where my car is parked in the photo.

Well the entry is fixed for now so people can enjoy the RecPath. A work party is scheduled for this area next weekend to move mulch, dress the shoulders, cut brush, and make other improvements. Volunteers are encouraged and welcome. If you've never been here before it's one of Shelton's really scenic hidden open spaces.

Scenes from Shelton Day

Another successful Shelton Day. It started a little cold, but it warmed up when the sun came out. A lot of people stopped to say hi to Bob the Bobcat, or to pick up some wildflower seeds from Eklund Garden.

Pedro the Jackalope got a lot of paparazzi attention.

Greetings from your friendly neighborhood Shelton Trails Committee; Rich, Terry, Jim, Bill, and Sherri. We took a vote and based on how many people stopped by, it does appear that Sherri knows every single person in Shelton.

We had a good location, handed out several hundred free trail maps, and talked to people about how to enjoy the trails and parks in their neighborhood.

Nancy & her son came and helped out with the public. It's a big help when people can take time out of their weekend and volunteer. People rotated in and out of the booth. Teresa colored a couple of hundred maps and prepared about 75 packets of Shelton wildflower seeds from the Eklund Native Species Garden.

Pedro and I are going to hit Danny O's...

There were huge crowds of people walking up and down Howe Avenue.

Some were dressed for the cool weather....

Some were making speeches ....

and some were just waiting for the bar to open.

It was fun to talk to all our friends and volunteers; old and new. It was great to tell everybody about our news regarding the Paugussett Trail and the RecPath. We have a fun work party scheduled for next Saturday at Lane St. at 8:30 to move mulch, trim brush, and shape trail edges along the RecPath - see you there.

Shelton Day 2010

Join the Trails Committee tomorrow at Shelton Day. Our booth will be located somewhere between Dunkin' Doughnuts and Danny O's; the perfect location for the trails crew.

We'll have new maps, wildflower seeds from Eklund Garden, RecPath tee shirts, walking sticks, and lots of information. Learn about the open space in your neighborhood, good fishing spots, places to hike or bike, or how you can help your trails. Get your picture taken with Pedro the Jackalope. Who knows, you might even run into Bill Dyer in a bear suit.

Well we couldn't get Bill into a bear suit, but here's a picture of Rich, Bill, a guy in a bear suit, and Jim. They are manning, or bearing, the booths out there this afternoon. Stop by, say hello, pick up some free maps, and sign up for our trail work parties. We're getting a lot of good feedback on the trail system. The more people that we have to help maintain the trails the easier and better it is for everybody.