Monday, March 25, 2013

Awards for the Rec Path & Greenway

Rich Skudlarek, Sandie Kopac, Sheri Dutkanicz, Bill Dyer, Joe Welsh and Bruce Nichols.
Members of the Trails Committee, Conservation Commission, and the Shelton Land Trust were on hand to accept an award on behalf of Shelton from the Connecticut Land Conservation Council (CLCC) for "2013 Excellence in Conservation."  The award is for the Shelton Lakes Recreation Path and Greenway (see here for more background on that). Click on any of these images to enlarge.
"2013 Excellence in Conservation" from CLCC 
All of Shelton deserves congratulations for this award, from its volunteers, to City leaders, to the voters who supported the purchase of open space and trails construction.  We also got an unexpected bonus award from Senator Blumenthal:

Senator Blumenthal gave us an award for getting an award.
There have been other various awards and citations for the Shelton Lakes Recreation Path and Greenway throughout the years. (The Greenway is, in this case, a linear park through which the Rec Path and other trails pass through.) Here they are:

Citation from the CT General Assembly, courtesy of Jason Perillo,
Larry Miller, and Kevin Kelly, presented at the Rec Path
Grand Opening on October 6, 2012. 

Here's one from CFPA in 2008 

Connecticut Greenway Council gave us this one in 2000.

Here's one signed by Hillary Clinton as the calendars turned to
the year 2000.  
The Rec Path is an official "Millenium Trail." 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

FREE Chainsaw Safety Class

The Trails Committee and the Stihl Corporation will be sponsoring a chainsaw safety class open to the general public on Thursday, April 11 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm at the Farmer's Market (100 Canal Street). Stihl is supplying the instructor and we can take up to 50 people. Registration required.  Learn how to safely cut up storm damage and avoid dangerous chainsaw kickback and trees under tension that suddenly snap up in your face. Debating whether it would be worth it?  Do a Google Image Search for "chainsaw wounds,"  and when you're done, register for the class by emailing your name and phone number to or call 203-924-1555 x315.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The pre-Saint Patrick's Day Trail Party - Part I

And no, unfortunately we didn't have any green beer.

With our well-attended Marshmallow March behind us and the CLCC Meeting ahead of us - we focused our attention on what else; cleaning up more storm damage.

We met at the Kiosk on Constitution Boulevard North to clean up some old and some new fallen trees along the Turkey Trot Trail.

Jim and Rob cleaned up some of the pines along Silent Waters and Rt. 108, while another crew with Lynn, Ryan, Luis, Sandy, Sheri, Terry and Rich went out toward the powerlines.  We met over by Willoughby Road and cut away these dropped trees over by Willoughby Road.

At one point I guess we were making enough noise that a neighbor called the cops thinking that we were woodnappers looting the open space for firewood!  We had a nice discussion with the officer who verified that we were just nutty trail volunteers & we were happy to see the Shelton PD checking out calls along the trails.

Helpful BTU Trail Tip:  If there are any residents that need a few extra sticks of fire wood for next year consider participating in a few trail work parties & I believe that we can help you out as a reward for your civic mindedness.

We would appreciate it if some of the neighbors along Willoughby Road would refrain from dumping their yard waste in the park.  Particularly the guy who dumped all the pine waste directly on the Trail itself (there isn't a pine tree within a hundred yards of the trail at this point)!

We then went up and cleared the Alternative section of the trail through the mountain laurel on top of the ridge.  We were doing OK until we got the chainsaw pinched.  The tree branch was under a lot of tension and the cut closed on tightly to the chain bar.

That's OK we had a second chainsaw to free the first one.  Not a problem, we'll get this out in a jiffy.

Opps, OK so we got two saws stuck.  Luckily we had the Gator with us and had more chainsaws.  We couldn't possibly get three saws stuck could we?

Nope, three did the trick.  And then we were off to clear a lovely beech/birch blow down on the RecPath beyond Oak Valley Lane.

Helpful Trail Tip:  Remember to bring wedges and something to pound them to keep the kerf open or to free pinched saws.  Or just bring along 5 chainsaws to every work party.

See Part II of the Pre-Saint Patrick's Day Party for a continuation of our thrilling adventures in applied physics, greenway management, and chainsaw exhibitions.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Making of "Marshmallow March III" (Director's cut)

This was the 3rd annual Marshmallow March, a combination of a leisurely hike through the woods and fields of Nicholdale Farm, a property of the Shelton Land Conservation Trust,  culminating in a marshmallow roast at a Boy Scout camp at the far end of the property. This year's hike was delayed due to a storm threat on the designated Sunday, but was rescheduled for the following week. Preparations included checking the proposed trail for winter damage, gathering firewood, and sprucing up the firepit area, all accomplished by  members of the Shelton Trails Committee. This was performed on Saturday:

Click on photo to enlarge 


As in the past, Nicholdale Farm proved to be the ideal location for a hike capped with a refreshing break
Shovels and other gear had to be hand-carried over a half-mile through the woods and over snow-covered trails...

...unless it was being towed by sled

Sandie and Bill worked at clearing the snow from several picnic tables

Finally the area was ready for the hikers and the work crew, led by Terry, wearily trekked back to the parked cars


One of the Shelton Trails Committee elves gathers wood for the fire

And here they come, Sheri up front, emerging from a romp through the woods eager to gulp flaming marshmallows and steaming hot chocolate

 The sticks emerge, marshmallows are skewered, the smokey ritual begins!

Little kids, pets, and big kids enjoy the hike, the refreshments, and the socializing. Lynn points out the variety of trails available in Shelton

"Now this is how it's done, kids"

Wow! Doubles and triples!

 Having gorged on marshmallows, some chose to be creative with the  materials at hand 

"Who wants the last marshmallow?"

 Heading back to civilization after an adventure at Nicholdale Farm

Richard, Jim and volunteer Ryan stay behind to douse the inferno

It was a beautiful day to get out and enjoy nature at its whitest. This year saw the largest turnout yet, around 50 folks, including some late-comers. This winter hike has increased in popularity each year, making it a community event to look forward to in future years. So, see you next year! 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

2013 Marshmallow March is ON

The 2013 Shelton Trails Marshmallow Hike is ON for tomorrow, Sunday 3/9/13.  Meet at the Nicholdale Parking Lot of the Shelton Land Conservation Trust on Rt. 110 at 1:00 (Remember Daylight Savings Time just kicked in).  The main parking lot is about 0.1 mile east of Nicholdale Road on the south side of Rt. 110, and there is an overflow parking lot just east of that beyond the yellow house.

Our classic mid-winter hike was delayed a couple of times this year due to storms, but tomorrow looks like it will be a beautiful day.

Thanks to Joe Welch and Ed McCreery of the Land Trust for plowing out the parking lots.  The Land Trust is a private charity that oversees dozens of properties around town as open space.  The Trust is kind enough to help us run this fun hike in the White Hills.  Nicholdale is a very scenic parcel with open fields, woodlands, streams, and a scout camp.

Snowshoes are not required, but may be helpful in spots.  It looks like it'll be warm so dress in layers.  Anybody sporting their St. Patrick's Day green gets bonus marshmallows.  The Trails Committee was out preparing the site yesterday and everything looks splendid.  It should be fun for kids of all ages; bring the whole family.

Post-Hike Note:  Brad Durrell from the Shelton Herald did a very nice story on the hike with some great photos of some of the participants.  Read the on-line version here.  Thanks to Mr. Durrell for joining us on the hike.

Friday, March 8, 2013


Take advantage of the beauty of the newly fallen snow to hike, ski or snowshoe your many trails in Shelton. Let the others plow their driveways and curse the weatherman while you get back to nature (fully clothed, of course!). These opportunities don't come that often in this area.

Click on photos to enlarge

 The Rec Path from the Dog Park parking area is a good place to start

 Snow as yet undisturbed creates a picture in itself
The softwood forest is enchanting in the snow
Some trees never know when it's time to leave

The Rec Path afford a diversity of character that is enjoyable in any season