Sunday, September 29, 2013

Far Mill River Cleanup (or Give us a break!)

 Another Saturday work party. This time we focused on a pleasant trail alongside the Far Mill River that provides access to some neat fishing spots and a picture-book swimming hole. Unfortunately, where there are people, there sometimes incidents of discarded trash. In this case, some bags of rubbish, mostly cans, bottles and food cartons, were left for others (us, I guess) to remove from this otherwise picturesque area. In addition to policing up the trash, overgrowth was removed from alongside the trails, and  washouts on steps leading down the embankment to the river were repaired.

Click on photos to enlarge

We met behind ASF Sports on River Road where the trail access is located and grabbed the tools we would need. Volunteers Chad and Sue were off to a running start.

Sue was busy picking up litter, while new volunteer Jim cut back some of the overgrowth

Committee member Terry directs volunteer Bill to areas needing work, while Committee Chairman Bill concentrates on his weed-whacking

"Whew! Directing volunteers is not as easy as it looks!" Terry and others take a break at the ol' swimming hole

Repairs were made to the steps leading down to the fishing trail. Wash-outs were refilled with gravel to stabilize the steps

It's a beautiful waterfall up by the old swimming hole.  The trail continues upstream of the waterfall.

Jim, Richard and Bill pose by the two dozen bags of litter and trash collected on this morning's work party.   Sue & Chad had already delivered some of the trash over to the Transfer Station.  Thanks to all the volunteers who came out and helped clean up Pine Rock Park this morning.  Jim was a long-time resident of the neighborhood, and it was Bill's first time visiting this spot.

And a big thank you to the Highways & Bridges Dept. for picking up all the junk that we hauled out to the curb.  Together we cleaned out the area all the way up to the swimming hole and made things better for ASO Sports and the Pine Rock Neighborhood.  There's still more stuff to get however and we would ask everyone to carry out whatever they see when they go for a walk - Enjoy the Far Mill River.  

Friday, September 27, 2013

Two Good Events This Saturday

There has been a lot of work on trails in Shelton this week, and there are two events planned for Saturday.

The first is a work party on the Far Mill Trail behind ASO Sports on River Road.  The store is on Rt. 110 across from the Transfer Station.  We'll meet around back by the big retaining wall (you can't miss it) at 8:30.

We'll be picking up trash, fixing erosion, cutting trees and brush, leveling trail - something for everyone.  Bring rakes, 5 gallon pails, shovels, chainsaws, loppers, gloves, boots, etc.

Join us and explore one of the prettiest greenways in Connecticut.

A second event will be Letterboxing for Families with Teresa Gallagher later that morning.  The event will be at the RecPath Trailhead near the Dog Park on Nells Rock Road - see the Event's Page for details & read the instructions there.

Hopefully she doesn't injure herself any more today doing trail work or she may need help stamping in.  She's been working hard on the Paugussett Trail all week and the briars and clippers have been taking their toll.

And you may see some guys over by Mayflower Lane working on the Paugussett Trail on Friday - they're harmless, even if they look a little scary - more to come.

So come out Saturday, do a little work, do a little exploring, enjoy a beautiful Fall Saturday on your trails and open spaces.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


 On the second and fourth Saturday of every month, weather permitting, the Shelton Trails Committee organizes a work party to maintain existing trails and sometimes hack out a new path in  the Shelton wilderness. There are over fourteen miles of trails of various lengths and conditions in town that require some degree of upkeep, and much of the work is dependent upon the assistance of  volunteers. They rarely get the credit that they deserve, so here is a glimpse at the labor force, volunteers and Trail Committee members, that tackled our last project...clearing a wildly overgrown section of the Paugussett Trail off Constitution Blvd (north).

Click on photos to enlarge
Richard and Jim, Committee members, haul tools and a brush mower to the work site on the Committee's workhorse, a John Deere Gator

Volunteer Ralph muscles his way through the wild stuff

Bill has volunteered for the last few work parties

 Dan is back once again to help out
Correctly wearing the safety gear for the task, weed-whacking the heaviest weeds, Committee member Terry hides behind a protective face shield
Committee member Lynn wields a rake, not an easy task with those heavy, wet weeds

Sandie, also a Committee member, uses one our most useful tools, gas-powered hedge clippers, to trim overhanging weeds and thorny briers

 Trail work can be challenging at times, but it provides a good excuse to get out of the house and spend a Saturday morning getting some healthy exercise and meeting other folks with the same interests. It's also a matter of pride in realizing that you've contributed to beautifying and creating a clear and safe path on the trails that you have enjoyed. You may also find trails that you had not known existed before sharing in their maintenance. 
Be a trail-hugger and join in on the fun at one of our work parties!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

"Shine On, Shine on Harvest Moon, ...."

In a never ending quest to get hikers lost on the trails we scheduled a Full Moon Hike this past Thursday.  The outstandingly warm Indian Summer weather  made us look like scheduling savants.  It was warm, dry, clear sky, with a huge full moon - The Harvest Moon - the one farmers are out picking their crops late by.

We started 8:00 with 23 people and several pets at the Upper Wesley Drive crossing of the RecPath and walked down to the Land Trust Meadow at Lane Street.  There were a lot of friends and family groups that had fun talking and walking in the dark, and the footing was fine on the RecPath.  We almost looked like we could be trick or treating.

Unfortunately it's tough to take good pictures in the dark, but trust us the woods and fields were clear.  The meadow as particularly beautiful in the moonlight with the mist rising.  We finished the hike by 9:00 with 23 people so it was a success.  No one was eaten by bears or lost in the dark (that we know of), and everyone had a good time.  Some folks even headed off to Bar140 afterwards to celebrate their survival.

Thanks to everyone who came out; see you at our next work party and look for us at Shelton Day.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Reviewing the Paugussett Extension

Chuck Sack and Bill Dyer reviewing the newest section of trail near Buddington Rd.
Chuck Sack from CFPA drove down to Shelton yesterday to review the Trails Committee's extension to the Paugussett Trail.  Our goal for several decades has been to restore the Paugussett Trail from Indian Well State Park to the Stratford town line. But while the Trails Committee can blaze a trail, only CFPA can officially recognize a new trail as one of the official Connecticut Blue-Blazed Trails.  

Chuck walked the trail with Bill last year and recommended several reroutes at that time to improve the hiking experience.  Those reroutes have been completed, as well as a reroute near John Dominick Drive. In addition the trail was extended from John Dominick Drive to Buddington Road as an Eagle Scout project. We started our walk at the new Buddington Road trailhead and headed north towards Indian Well. 

Silent Waters
The most significant reroute involved the section between Hope Lake and Independence Drive. The new route avoids the powerlines where possible and now passes over the Silent Waters bridge on the Rec Path before heading up the hill behind the reservoir.  
My camera took this picture without my permission, north of Independence Dr.
Another reroute, recently completed as an Eagle Scout project, was a detour off the powerlines between Independence Drive and Wellington Court, involving a set of bridges and some rather knobby, seasonally wet ground. The new section will be much easier to maintain than the mowed path under the powerlines. It's also cooler hiking under the trees. 

Holes from a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker on a newly blazed tree
Along the way, Chuck pointed out several spots were it would be difficult for a hiker to decide which way to go and gave some good advice for where to paint additional trail blazes. There were also several areas where blazes existed last year but were gone this year, especially in the open areas such as the Wiacek meadows and down in the Indian Well meadow, where farm equipment or park trucks have knocked over the tall stakes we had blazed. There were also a few areas that needed clearing, but most of the trail was in good shape. 
Walking through the Wiacek meadows near Meadow Street. 
All in all, it was a good walk and we got a thumbs up on the routing. We just need to clarify some of the blazing and clear out a few overgrown spots and the trail will be recommended for approval at the December CFPA meeting.