Sunday, September 20, 2015

Find a Way

We've had a lot of problems in the past with the Paugussett Trail at Mayflower Lane; probably more problems in this one spot than in the rest of the trail combined.  Signs torn down, painted blazes on trees removed, city open space landscaped like it's part of someone's yard to confuse hikers, bush and yard waste dumped directly in the trail bed, trees cut down, athletic equipment parked directly in the trailhead so people don't know where to go.  And it's been going on for years.

We're just volunteers trying to help out our town and frankly, we have better things to do with our weekends than keep cleaning up this nonsense.  So after last weeks work party to clean up the Mayflower Trailhead, yet again.  I, along with my daughter Emma, added a nice sign at the trailhead, so that trail users could easily find the trail entrance behind the basketball hoop, and continue their walk through City Open Space at the appropriate location.  This wound up costing me close to $20 in ice cream between Emma and Tyler (who took the picture) at Wells Hollow Farm after our little work party.

The trail marker posts were installed by the Trails Committee the previous week as part of our clean up work party, and after they were up it was just apparent that a small sign would fit nicely when viewed from the cul-de-sac.  It has a little City of Shelton open space sign, and a small Connecticut Forest and Parks Association sign to note who the property owner is that gave permission to put the trail there, and who takes care of the trail.  It didn't seem like a big deal at the time.

Well, some of the neighbors had a major hissyfit about the sign attracting all the riffraff hikers to their neighborhood, contacted one of the aldermen, who rather than fact checking, shot off a scathing and stunningly inaccurate e-mail to the Mayor, who after some back and forth with various Trails Committee members, most of whom liked the sign, decided to take the sign down and remove the neighbor's athletic equipment from the public Right of Way.  Who knew hiking trails could get this dramatic!

So, enjoy your walk, be nice, smile and wave at the neighbors on Mayflower Lane, pick up a little trash along the way, and send in your pictures at the the Shelton Trails Blog.

Switching gears, Sunday was a nice day so why not spend part of it cleaning graffiti of the sign kiosk at the entry to the Shelton Lakes Recreation Path on Lane Street?  Somebody though the kiosk built by Eagle Scouts could be embellished by their initials.  Idiots.  But a little Goof Off and a lot of elbow grease later it was gone.  Somebody also spray painted the Lane Street Boardwalk, and Harriet Wilber's Memorial Bench at the Land Trust Meadow.   It only took some more Goof Off and a wire wheel to clean up that mess.

The Bench is probably a lost cause at this point, but that's up to the Shelton Land Conservation Trust.  They were doing a nice job that morning planting an oak tree supplied by the Olde Ripton Garden Club at the far end of the meadow along the RecPath.  It seems that there's always an arms war between those that want to make their communities better places to live and those who would make them worse places.  This Sunday it was the nice people, who are stubborn and persistent, who came out on top.  And a hundred years from now I hope that peoples grand kids enjoy the oak tree that they planted.

The End.  Courtesy of Rich S. and his camera that knows no restraint when trying to capture someones good side.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Dig We Must!

A small section of the Paugussett Trail in Shelton strays from the natural wooded path onto Mayflower Lane, returning to the wild at the Wiacek farm fields. To keep hikers aware of the correct trail entrance at the end of the cul-de-sac and avoid straying onto adjacent neighbor's properties, it was decided to erect posts clearly visible from the road. Shelton Trail Committee members Bill, Terry, Jim, and Richard were joined by volunteers Joyce and Harry on this work party.

click on photos to enlarge

Jim scouts the area for a place to erect the posts. The trail entrance is barely visible behind him

One hole dug,  Jim pounds rebar into the sides to reinforce the concrete to be added

Harry takes a turn with the post-hole digger. 
Bill tries to keep the post level while Terry adds concrete
Bill uses a special level to keep the post straight on all sides
Richard stands idly by while Harry tops off the post hole
Joyce joins Bill, Richard, Harry, and Jim after working back on the trail
The finished posts. Blazes, and possibly signs, will be added later.

Since we finished erecting the posts sooner than we expected, we turned our attention to the trail itself, trimming wayward branches and weeds, and removing exposed roots and "trippers", small tree stumps that had been missed during previous clearing.

Terry cuts a dead tree that blocks a view of the trail ahead
Joyce goes after some wayward roots
Clearing the way
Unfortunately, where there are people, there is trash, and possibly a lost golfer!
This work party accomplished its goal, increasing the visibility of the trail entrance as well as cleaning up a bit of the trail itself. Come to our next work party!