Monday, April 25, 2011

High School Community Service Hours

Shelton High is now requiring all students to document ten hours of community service by May 1 of each year, and the calls are really starting to come in. So, to answer the questions we keep getting asked:

  • Yes, we can use high school students on the trails!

  • We have supervised work parties and can sign your form on the spot.

  • Monday April 25 at 2:30 am - PLEASE BRING WHEELBARROWS AND PITCHFORKS if possible. Spread woodchips along both sides of the newly constructed Rec Path near the Dog Park. If possible, please bring pitchforks and a wheelbarrow. We have some tools but not enough if we get a large turnout. We will also have the motorized Gator for spreading mulch. Meet at the Dog Park.

  • Saturday, April 30, 8:30 am - More woodchips. Also possible reroute the Paugussett Trail at Indian Well

  • We can also recommend doing a Clean Sweep project, which provides maximum flexibility. See
Shelton Parks & Rec dropped off a number of piles of mulch that need to be placed along the RecPath to control erosion. All you need is a wheelbarrow, rake & fork.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Soggy Saturday

Well - it rained again on our Saturday work party. Our record for planning trails events in 2011 is consistent if nothing else. Originally we were going to work on the Paugussett Trail, but it was too wet so we shifted to Plan B and worked on the Shelton Lakes Recreation Path. We had a great group of volunteers including some Shelton High school students getting their Community Service hours in.

These guys weren't daunted by a little drizzle so off we went into the woods.

The Shelton Parks and Rec Dept. dropped off many loads of wood chips last week for our use in stabilizing the edges of the newly-constructed RecPath (Thanks Ron, Dean, and the gentleman driving the truck Thursday). The wood chips help prevent erosion of the edges of the Path. Most of the chips were out toward the Indian Cave so it took us a little while to get there (Rich kept asking "Are we there yet?"). Once we reached the wood chips the crew swung into action.

One crew used our garden cart; which is great for moving mulch, while the other used the Gator, with the dump bed; which is better. We kept up production in the rain despite a flat tire & running out of gas (did I mention that?). Then came the weather radar call from home "the really bad stuff should be here in about an hour". Great - so we have that going for us - we refilled the Gator with gas & mulched on.

The guys got a lot of stuff done. It was really impressive given the weather. I wonder if there is a Degree of Difficulty factor that they use at the High School when evaluating Community Service?

After a while the rain had moved from a light rain to a thoroughly chilling cascade & our leader Bill decided that dryness & warmth were the sensible options, so we wrapped up. Our semi-aquatic trail crew included: Bob Wood, Matt (the yellow from the gloves will wear off your hands in a couple of weeks), Alex Medinger, Joe Macfadyen, Rich Skudlarek (our shaky photographer), Nicolas Pegacsas, Bill Dyer, Pat Jette, and Terry Gallagher.

Our volunteers enjoyed some soggy doughnuts and RecPath tee shirts to dry themselves with while Bill signed off on their forms. Note to school officials: if there's mud, mulch, and runny ink on the forms there's a reason.

We are going to host 2 other work parties this coming week when it's not raining (hopefully) if anybody wants to help. Bill will be out at the Dog Park on Nells Rock Road on Monday 4/25/11 at 2:30 in case any of the students want to participate after school. And we will host a make up work party next Saturday 4/30/11 at the same location. The more that we get done the better the RecPath will look for National Trails Day.

The sun is shining this Easter Morning. Take a stroll on the RecPath, bring the family, and see what good work these guys did. Hope to see everybody at one of our future work parties.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Trickle-down Trailnomics

Click on photos to enlarge

Water runoff from the Turkey Trot Trail where it meets the Rec Path has been a problem with rain and snow melt, causing puddling and sometimes treacherous footing in this area (see 1st panel video). Temporary fixes last year were not enough to alleviate the problem. The Trails Committee, along with volunteer help, attacked the problem Saturday by installing two water bars uphill on the trail to divert the runoff to locations where draining was more efficient.

Runoff from above made negotiating the Rec Path difficult at this juncture.

The crew begins digging the first of two ditches to divert water away from the trail.

Terry, the designated mason de jour, carefully positions rocks
in the ditch to impede erosion and to maintain the integrety
of the ditch, or "water bar".

Zack and Al, Shelton High students, have volunteered to help out as part of their community service with the school. Ryan has helped out at many of our work parties for several years.

We left all of the heavy lugging for Lynn.

Terry checks the positioning of the rocks in the water bar.

Poor Lynn! Left all alone to provide the finishing touches!

We are pretty confident that, short of a tsunami, these water bars
should prevent further puddling problems below on the Rec Path.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rec Path: Rising up from the Meadow

Construction of the Rec Path is just blazing along! Now that the Dog Park section is complete, all energies are concentrated at the Huntington Center end of things. The above photo is looking down on the Lane Street meadow, owned by the Shelton Land Trust, where a half mile of the Path was previously built.

The Path wends its way up the slope, maintaining a grade of less than eight percent so that it's handicapped accessible.

Bill Dyer and Tom Harbinson from the Conservation Commission were making a progress check.

This section of the Path has been funded by a $73,150 grant from the Connecticut DEP Recreational Trails Program. The photo above is the narrow strip of open space between Serene Drive and the far end of Lane Street. The old stone wall is a nice touch.

We're using the same contractors who built the Dog Park section of the Path: Pruzinsky & Son partnering with Fairview Tree Farm. They're doing a great job.

After climbing up the hill from the meadow, skirting around a substantial chunk of ledge, and squeezing between some houses, the Path turns onto this emergency access road off the end of Lane Street and heads to Wesley Drive in Huntington Woods.

The Path will then cross Wesley Drive and climb the slope at an angle to maintain the eight percent grade. And construction will keep going up the Path this spring, so stay tuned! By this summer, we should have 3.5 miles of the Path complete, with only a half mile left to construct in the middle.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Trail Pass System

Beginning 4/1/2011, all trail users should begin carrying the new Shelton Trail Pass while hiking or biking on the trails. To receive a pass, simply pick up a $20 gift certificate to any of the following fine local establishments listed below, and mail it with a stamped, self-addressed return envelope to: Shelton Trails Committee, P.O. Box 412011, Shelton, CT.

Participating establishments: Danny-O's, Ascot, Porky's, Dunkin Donuts, Huntington Street Cafe, Billy-D's, and Donut Inn. Oh, and Bertucci's. Can't forget Bertucci's.

RecPath Entrance Completed 4/1/11

The RecPath entrance on Rt. 108 is DONE! And no, it's not an April Fools Joke. The contractors finished yesterday before the storm hit.

The fine crushed stone was placed over the base from Rt. 108 at Nells Rock Road.

A small culvert was installed to pick up drainage along Rt. 108 near the crosswalk. Now our feet will be dry & we should have an easier time hitting the crosswalk button while driving the Gator on work parties.

The parking lot was cleaned up and boulders placed so people stop parking on the RecPath. Now we've got to get up some temporary signs. Permanent granite bollards, fencing, and a sign kiosk are planned for this spot. Nice Progress - Woo Whoo!