Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Last RecPath Section is DONE!

The final section was completed by Pruzinsky & Sons on Friday July 27, 2012.  They finished the final touches installing the granite posts,  cleaning up the construction areas, placing the final wood chips and boulders.  The Pruzinsky team, along with the guys from Fairview Tree Farm, did a great job in record time.

The entrances to the RecPath are marked by granite posts where the Path crosses private driveways.  Please look for traffic (generally very light) when crossing the driveways.


Here's a section in the middle showing the Path winding through the trees.  The Path traverses a narrow corridor in City open space between Oak Valley Road and a swamp to the west.

The Path continues to the south across a pair of private driveways.  On the southern end the path goes around a utility maintenance gate.


The gate prevents unauthorized vehicles from entering the RecPath and causing damage.  The posts allow bike traffic and pedestrians to enjoy the Path without having to open and close the gate.

And this is the northern end of the new section.  The construction equipment and materials have been cleaned up and the area landscaped with woodchips and boulders.  This is roughly the mid-point in the RecPath; it's about 2 miles to Pine Lake going North, or 2 miles to Huntington Center going South.  It's only taken about 20 Years to get this accomplished - Enjoy.

Bluff Walk Spruce Up

We had a successful, if somewhat damp work party, what with the 99% humidity and all. But we had a good turn out with Joann, Bill, Sandie, Rich, Jim, Terry, Bill, Lynn & Sheri so it worked out well.  We cleared a lot of the overgrown Bluff Walk in downtown Riverview Park.  The Walk runs behind the 2 baseball diamonds and up to the Kid's Playground, and was overgrown with Knotweed, leaves, sticks, and trash.

 This was the "Before" picture by the basketball courts.

And here is the "After" picture behind the ballfields.  Enjoy the walk and mind the groundhog.

The trail was covered with a thick layer of leaves in many places.  They were thick and wet which made walking difficult on the slopes.

This is one of the "After" pictures showing Bill & Sheri clearing the Walk so it's easier and safer to follow.

Lynn pulled a couple of bags of trash out of the park, but unfortunately there's still a lot in there.  Everybody feel free to pick up a little bit when you can.

The Bluff Walk is a historic trail in Shelton's oldest park and dates to the 1880's.  Riverview Park is a nice jewel in downtown overlooking the Housatonic River.  Enjoy the Walk next time your there at the kiddie playground, War Memorial, or watching a baseball game.

Question:  How long does it take to figure out how to put the safety cover on the brushcutter after the work party?
Answer:  Depends on how many Polish guys are in the crew.

Thanks to everybody who came out and helped.  See you on the trails.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Helping Hands for The Bluff Walk

Helping hands are welcome tomorrow (Sat. 7/27/12) in Riverview Park as we reclaim an overgrown trail along The Bluff Walk.

Riverview Park is located on Rt. 110 just north of Downtown Shelton.  We'll meet at 8:30 near the basketball courts.  We'll be clearing a lot of Japanese Knotweed that has overgrown the trail, plus other brush, remove leaves, and other assorted clean up.

Come explore a historic trail overlooking the Housatonic River, and maybe hit up the Farmers Market when you're done.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Twenty Year Plan

June 9, 1992 Plan

Just unearthed this twenty year old concept plan that shows both the Rec Path and the restored Paugussett ("Blue Dot") Trail.  Click it to enlarge. The map is dated June 6, 1992, and it would be another six years before the City would take title to the property, and twenty years before the path would be built. Obviously the routes shown changed quite a bit, but it was just a concept plan. Twenty years from concept plan to completion. 

RecPath Construction Restart

Construction of the LAST section of the Shelton Lakes Recreation Path started last week along Oak Valley Road.  Work is proceeding quickly and should be done by the end of August, or maybe sooner.

Jake & Steve from Fairview Tree Farm were out working hard Saturday in the muggy and deer fly infested heat clearing up logs and brush along the Path.

This section of the RecPath parallels the end of Oak Valley Road between the road and a large swamp.  The contractors from Pruzinsky & Sons and Fairview Tree Farm are trying to preserve trees along the Path by limiting clearing as you can see in the above photo.  We actually had to tell them to take out more trees for better sightlines on the insides of curves.  That generally starts a good debate on the Trails Committee about which trees to whack and which to hug.

Above is a section of the Path that is awaiting the top course of gravel - looks pretty good doesn't it?

 The Trails Committee was out Saturday on a planning work party looking at places where road and driveway crossings need to be marked and protected.  Granite posts and removable timber bollards will be installed at the road and drive crossings.  These let residents and trail users easily know where RecPath goes and prevents unauthorized vehicles from damaging the Path.  The timber bollards will have locks so they can be opened and lowered for Path maintenance and emergency access.

We'd also like to thank Tom Harbinson for dropping off the granite posts Saturday that he was storing at his business for us.

This is another section of construction where the brush was recently cleaned up.  The Path winds through open woodland and takes advantage of the topography for a gentle walk or ride.

After we left Oak Valley Road we went to all the other road crossings to get a final count for the last timber and granite bollards.  This is the Meadow Street crossing near Shelton High School.  A new handicapped-accessible ramp needs to be cut into the sidewalk and the old timbers and chains will be removed when the RecPath entrance is improved.

It's rewarding to see the Shelton Lakes Recreation Path construction finally nearing completion.

Monday, July 9, 2012

New Trail Leads to Eklund Garden

Bee Balm at Eklund Garden
New blazes
We have a new trail marked with red and white flower blazes that leads from the Rec Path to Eklund Garden after just 1200 ft (0.2 mile).

While it's always been pretty easy to follow various trails to Eklund Garden (the blue Paugussett Trail goes right through the center of the garden), a lot of people who walk the Rec Path are not hikers and not interested in doing some research and figuring out how to get there. It needs to be self-evident. And so we now have blazes that (hopefully) look like flowers to lead people directly there.

Once they get to the garden, they can either go back the way they came or, for people who parked at the Dog Park, take the blue Paugussett Trail back along the shoreline of scenic Hope Lake. And that gives us the "red/white and blue" loop.  Shall we place some flags along the way? The total distance of the loop is about 1.75 mile.

The blazes took longer to paint than the trail took to clear. It's really good paint, so hopefully they will last a long time. The Dog Paw path (blazes are dog prints) that leads from the Rec Path to the back side of the Dog Park has turned out to be very popular, so hopefully these blazes will enjoy the same success.

Another big improvement last week was a new parking area at Eklund Garden, which can be used by hikers, bikers, and fishermen.   Previously, it was hard to pull off the road completely, and people would drive back and forth looking for the garden and not finding it.  Still need to replace the Eklund signs that someone ripped off.  The parking lot was built by the Rec Path contractor, Pruzinsky & Sons. Thank you! 

New parking area at 10 Oak Valley Road