Friday, October 31, 2014

New Trail

New Trail

Work was completed on a new bypass trail, providing an alternate passage from Shelton Ave. and Constitution Ave. North to the walkway behind Shelton Intermediate School, which in turn connects with the Shelton Lakes Recreation Path. This is a short (¼ mile), pleasant, wooded trail that avoids walking along the edge of Constitution Blvd. Since it ultimately meets up with the Rec Path, a circular hike can be made from the dog park via the new trail, turning left at the rec path, following it to Silent Waters, then over to the dog park.

Click on photos to enlarge

New trail in blue

 Steele, Sam and Cameron open up the new path

 Lynn gets down to details

Lots of fallen trees and debris had to be moved out of the way. Jacob muscles a log aside

Richard cuts through one of many fallen trees across the trail

Luis kept busy cutting away at stray branches

Work was interrupted by the appearance of a water-breathing dragon!

Whew! It was only the fire-fighting rig from Echo Hose, practicing on what they thought was an empty patch of forest, unaware of our work party. Fortunately, their target was not close to our trail and no one got soaked

 Sometimes the chainsaw was coupled with brute force

 Dave and Bill get down to earth to cut off small tree stubs

Sam, Steele and Cameron stroll down the newly finished trail

Many thanks to volunteers Steele, Sam, Cameron, Dave, Luis and Jacob for helping Trails Committee members Lynn, Jim, Richard and Bill and our photographer Sandie.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New Open Space - The Kassheimer Property

Map showing the new property relative to the Rec Path
On October 9,  The Board of Aldermen approved the purchase of 7.3 acres of land owned by the Kassheimer family for $70,000.  The Conservation Commission had pursued the property for many years because it is almost completely surround by public and private open space, and impacts the view along the    Rec Path.  The property features an impressive cliff face along a ridge known as "Great Ledge."

Scenic cliffs. The "gap" is in the right center of the photo.
The conservation land to the west is owned by Aspetuck Village (private). To the north and east is City of Shelton Public Open Space. To the south is the ongoing Huntington Woods development, and the Conservation Commission had some concerns over the years that the development might be extended into the Kassheimer property via Crab Apple Circle, and disrupt the view along the Rec Path.  With this purchase, the entire Great Ledge ridge will be protected from development. (Read about the previous purchase Great Ledge Purchase).

Kassheimer property at the bottom of the ridge
The area is challenging but rewarding to bushwhack across.  From the Rec Path, the easiest way to access the property is probably at the hair-pin turn just south of the powerlines.  From this point, you can head straight towards the cliff through pepperbush. It looks swampy, but I was able to walk through without my feet getting wet. Turn left at the base of the cliff and you are entering the Kassheimer property.  There is a gap between cliffs on the Kassheimer property where one can climb up to the top of the ridge. The top of the cliff is fairly open and there are game trails that are easy to walk along, and in places you can see the Rec Path through the trees.  

Impressive rock face

View from a gap in the cliffs

At the top of the cliff

Looking down the gap between cliffs
You could also try your luck by climbing up the ridge from the north at the powerlines.  There is lose rock and plenty of mountain laurel, but the occasional random path as well. Maybe some day there will be a trail in there, but the Trails Committee is stretched pretty thin just now.

The Great Ledge ridge extends northeast and end at the powerlines

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Moonlight Meander

A high turnout made our annual moonlight hike a notable success this month. Our group consisted of 33 adults, one 3rd Grader, and 11 dogs of assorted breeds (this count did not include any chipmunks or black bears that may have discreetly followed).

Click on photos to enlarge

We gathered just before dark at the Real Estate Two parking lot and were pleasantly surprised at the large turnout. Many of the hikers were first-timers to any of our trail events
Posing for a group photo was a challenge, what with the diminishing daylight and the cheap camera
Terry, our cruise director, led the way along the Rec Path, through the meadow and woods to the turn-around point at the power lines. Fortunately, he also knew the way back

The main attraction
Somehow, we made it back without loosing anyone (at least no "missing persons" reports were filed!)
The route. The round trip, start to finish, was 3.5 miles, slightly uphill on the way out, but of course downhill on the return

We concluded that this year's moonlight hike was a notable success, judging from the positive feedback by many of the participants. Your Trails Committee members guiding this outing were chairman Bill, Lynn, Sandie, Terry, and Richard. Check the "Hikes and Special Events" page on the left of this blog for upcoming neat stuff. And we won't turn away anyone volunteering to help us maintain these trails, either. Our work parties are listed under "Work Parties & Meetings" in the same area.

Friday, October 10, 2014

New Paugussett Kiosk on Buddington Rd

The Paugussett trailhead on Buddington Road
Here is the 25th Eagle Scout project for our trails, courtesy of Mark Sullivan: a new kiosk for the Paugussett Trail on Buddington Road. That trailhead has been difficult to find for many people, but it should be pretty easy to spot now. This location marks the southern terminus of the trail, which extends north through Shelton Lakes, Indian Well State Park, Birchbank Mountain, and Webb Mountain before heading up to an overlook of Lake Zoar, then turning south to follow Monroe's Boys Halfway River down to East Village Road. The total journey is about 13 miles.   Here's the trailhead location on Google Maps

Mark also somehow managed to breakup a pile of solidified road millings and spread it around the parking area. We aren't sure how this was accomplished, because the pile was like a rock, having partly melted in the hot sun. 

Installing the kiosk roof
 Unlike our other kiosks, the contents will be determined by the Connecticut Forest and Park Association (CFPA), who manages the Connecticut Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail System.  The Paugussett extension/restoration project completed by city volunteers was accepted by CFPA just last year, and now shows up on CFPA interactive trail map

Mark Sullivan
  We especially like the routered sign placed across the top of the kiosk with the name of the trail. Nice job!

Routered sign at the top

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Shelton Day 2014

It turned out to be a pleasant day for a street fair, and the Shelton Trails Committee was ready with our handouts, trails-wise attendants, Pedro the Jackalope, and a Piñata raffle.

Click on photos to enlarge

Sandie sets up our displays and handouts while Bill checks out the butterfly piñata to be raffled  
Lynn, Terry, Jim, and Bill await the throngs. We started early! 

New for us this year was a raffle. The butterfly pictured was filled with almost 7 lbs. of candy! For the record, the lucky winner was Sue
Pedro, our resident jackalope, was a hit with the kids and curious adults

 Lynn's mini-pooches were on hand to provide cuddling practice for many of the kids that passed by. Lynn also provided rub-on tattoos for the children

Sheri answered questions and provided directions to the many people that stopped by
Bill and Richard take their turns minding the store

We had a great time, met and hopefully assisted lots of folks, and added an impressive number of names to our list of those interested in our activities and work parties.