Saturday, May 26, 2018

Sycamore Dr Access - Storm Clean Up

There are a number of neighborhood access trails to Shelton's trail system.  Sometimes these smaller trails don't get as much love and attention as they should because we're focusing on keeping the main trails in good shape; particularly after the nor'easters this spring.

We got a call from a good friend and volunteer that there were 3 blowdowns on the Sycamore Drive Access Trail, and we were able to schedule a mini-work party to clean up the blow downs.

A mini-work party is when more than 1 person shows up.  In this case it was Jim Taradine and Mark Vollaro.  I moved some light branches and offered helpful encouragement like "It looks like you've got that Jim".   Teamwork stuff like that.

Here's Mark and Jim at the end of the second blow down.  The three trees varied in size and difficulty.  The last was a good-sized red oak top that was across the trail. 

Here the guys are after finishing the third blow down. 

The trail is all cleared out and open to the public.  The Sycamore Access trail runs from the dead end of Sycamore Drive to the Recreation Path at Waymarker Post #8.  The Post is on The RecPath near the Hawley Meadow on Lane Street.  It makes a nice loop for people walking around their neighborhood, with open woodlands and gentle grades.

One off-shoot of the trail leads down to a beaver dam on the Far Mill River.  If you're quiet you may see some wildlife or fish rising to the surface.  It makes for a nice walk early in the morning.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Spring Cleaning at Riverview Park

The Bluff Walk at Riverview Park needed some attention this spring.  There were a thick layer of oak leaves on sections of the trail and some storm damage.  Overall though the trail had held up OK through the winter.

The north end of The Bluff Walk is at the Kids Playground.  The south end is by the southern baseball field.

The oak leaves were very thick on portions of the trail, and brush was encroaching in a number of places.

We attacked the trail with a variety of rakes, leaf blowers, chainsaws, hazel hoes, loppers, brushcutters, and other assorted tools.

We also removed some trash and cut out Japanese Knotweed behind the baseball field.  We had to leave early due to impending heavy rain storms.

The Bluff Walk is one of Shelton's Historic Trails with scenic views of the Housatonic River.  It's well worth exploring the next time you're near Riverview Park.

We managed to finish up just has the rain was hitting about 10:30.  Thanks to Jimmy, Jim, Bob, Bill, Mark, Mike, and Terry.  Enjoy The Bluff Walk the next time you're downtown.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Along the "New" Poet Path

The new, easier climb up from Princess Wenonah Drive
Take a stroll along the new and improved Poet Path, a section of the Paugussett Trail. This section of trail was once so bad that at least one hiker said it would have been better to just walk down the road.

Trail benching!
Nothing can be done about the fact that the open space corridor is pretty narrow and that you're never far from houses, but hey, this IS Fairfield County. You've got to expect some of that along a 13-mile trail.

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What we could do was improve the footing and markings and clean up the place. A lot of people, including a couple crews of high school students, benched the trail into the side of the hill. And the steep trail going up the hill from Princess Wenonah was redesigned with some switchbacks and stairs so the hillside is much easier to going up and down.
A  poet station
And then to give the Poet Path a bit more interest, we installed painted slates with quotes from five poets who have nearby streets named after them.

There are painted rocks near the slates that relate to the poet's quote.

Robert Frost's famous quote

The blue blazes of the Paugussett Trail connect a series of local parks and trail systems, starting with Shelton Lakes to the south, then Indian Well, Birchbank, Webb Mountain, and the Boys Halfway River corridor in Monroe. Until now, the Poet Path section was the part hikers had to just slog through if they wanted to get from Birchbank to Webb Mtn, or if they wanted to hike the entire Paugussett. With the recent improvements, we're hoping that people who live in the neighborhood will start walking and enjoying the path.

Follow the blue blazes
And we hope this encourages more people to hike from Indian Well or Birchbank Mountain through to Webb Mountain Park. Our 2018 Trails Day Hike will be doing just that.

Words of wisdom