Thursday, October 15, 2015

Beating the Briers

This work party involved cutting back thick briers and weeds that were a potential hazard to hikers on a section of the Paugussett Trail in Shelton. 

Click on photos to enlarge

Heavy growth doesn't take long to overpower the trails if left untouched

 Because we do use some power equipment, we make hikers and runners aware that we are working here

Hunter and Hope use loppers and clippers to hack away at the overgrowth, the old fashioned way

While Jim goes modern and uses power hedge-trimmers to speed through the process
As does Richard with a hybrid weed-whacker/hedge trimmer combo

Mary, Hope, and Hunter take a break in the jungle
 Bob extended a lot of effort in freeing some of the desirable trees of choking vines

  John hacks away at the stubborn vines and briers

Eva risks thorns and briers making the trail easier to navigate

Many thanks to Eva, John, Mary, Bob, Hunter and Hope for giving of their time to help us out on this work party. Trail Committee members present were Jim, Richard , and Terrance (sorry, Terry, no photo!)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

More Notes from the Trails

In an effort to make using Shelton's Trails more interesting, the Trails Committee added a series of map boxes to a number of the entry kiosks this year.  In addition to maps there were small notebooks in the boxes so trail users could jot down their thoughts, wildlife observations, trail conditions, sketches, fishing catches, whatever they felt was interesting.

This was an experiment because we didn't know what people would write, or if they would write anything at all.  Some of the notes from the Hope Lake Kiosk were:

"4/17 THANK YOU!!! You are all GREAT, we have been fishing + hiking here + other lakes... ware are on Meadow St. + my oldest kids are now 17 + 15 - been doing it since they were toddlers + still do - have a 10 yr old too.  My son said there was info on Salmon in the area? But not here anymore.  He DID catch a 14" trout here last Sat. "

"It was quite plesint . I came her with my Dad! ME"

Nice, we have to fix up the Hope Lake Kiosk and will try to add some fishing info.

"5/31/15 Alex I was here very nice lake."

"June 22, 2015 I just moved to Shelton and who knew there was this lovely, peaceful oasis! Very nice! I will bring my husband by as he loves to fish... and my son. Jen  P.S. I left the pen for others to use."

It looks like we have to talk to the local realtors about Shelton's open spaces.  They may be able to sell a few more homes by pitching the town's greenways.  Bring the whole family and enjoy.

"6/30/15 Cool dude, we found you.  Tony & Sal  9:58 AM Nice place to hike & Mountain Bike - Dude"

"7/10/15 Great fishing spot & hiking trails D, R, V"

"Just hiked around some of your trails woods were excellent, was here before - Mark W from Ansonia"

"Loved the view and serenity, God bless"

We're glad that everyone had a good time.  Oak Valley Trail around Hope Lake was one of the earliest trails in Shelton.  And one of the prettiest too.  So whether you're a first-time explorer, long-time veteran, or tourist checking out the area - Enjoy Shelton's Open Spaces.

Keep those notes coming and we'll try to keep the map boxes stocked.  (and please leave the notebooks in the map boxes - Thanks S.T.C.)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Shelton Day, Eh

A raw and gnarly Saturday that felt like we were headed to northern Canada turned into a beautiful Fall Sunday for Shelton Day on October 4, 2015, and that brought out the crowds.

What had been forecast for possible showers turned into a warm afternoon when the sun was out and we might have had our biggest turn-out ever for Shelton Day.

Our booth was strategically positioned again between Dunkin' Doughnuts and Bricks and Barley Tavern thanks to Sheri's planning.  Bill noted that there seemed to be a number of new folks who just moved into town and were really interested in what we had to offer.  We had a record number of people who signed up to be on our e-mail list for upcoming hikes, events, and work parties.

We had a good time talking to all our friends and neighbors, trail volunteers and curious newcomers, tourists and local politicians stumping for office.   Thanks to Officer Wooden for coming up and letting us know about keeping the Pine Lake Kiosk filled with maps. We probably hit a record number of maps and other trail and open space literature that we handed out.

Rich had a display of all the fun activities of the past year and was giving away information on the websites and Trails Blog. Some of things people wanted to know about were which trails were handicapped accessible or bikeable (Riverwalk, Shelton Lakes Recreation Path).  Which were good for pets (Paw Path by the Dog Park, Nells Loop Trail, others).  Where you could go fishing (Silent Waters, Hope Lake, Gristmill Trail on Mill Street, Boehm Pond Trail).  Where was a rugged trail (Paugussett Trail).

One of the topics of discussion was how safe are the trails given the article yesterday about the flasher that the Shelton Police caught back in May.  Long Story Short : the trails are very safe and enjoyable, and we had a fun time coming up with different ways to describe the chase when the Police arrested the idiot.

We also talked about The Adventures of the Shelton Bear, bobcats, coyotes, turkeys, Eklund Garden, Birchbank Mountain, our farms, and all the other open space features that Shelton is known for.   

Here's Bill, Rich, Sheri and Jim working the booth.  It's tough taking good photos from bright sunlight into shadow, one of the downsides to the nice Fall afternoon.

We got to sample some of the food and beverages offered by all the booths and local businesses.  At times the Trails Committee was forced to go into "Executive Session" to check on the progress of the Giants game.

Rich was trying to make sure everybody got all the maps they needed and letting them know about the hikes.  Jim was willing to trade some of his sure-fire, can't-miss fishing tips in exchange for signing up for volunteer work parties.

Our trails are all maintained by volunteers, so if you enjoy using them consider coming out to help maintain them at one of our trail work parties; they can be a lot of fun.

It was a great day, and we were very successful in reaching out to a lot of local residents; some new and some old-timers, about Shelton's trails and greenways.  Thanks to the Derby-Shelton Rotary Club for letting us participate in another Shelton Day.