Saturday, January 19, 2019

Pre-Storm Paugussett Perusal

On Saturday, a small band of hardy trail maintainers walked the Paugussett Trail from Meadow St to Eklund Garden to check of issues and plan future improvements.

We encountered a large pile of brush blocking part of the trail from a road construction project, not good, but maybe there project wasn't finished.

Shelton's Highways & Bridges Department just finished putting in drainage along Meadow Street to control icing, and cut back the brush for better sightlines when crossing the road, which is a good improvement.  Now we just got to get the brush pile cleared.  We pushed on thru the Wiacek Woods and noted wet areas where we need more stones and a possible re-route to avoid some wet meadow areas.

Beyond the powerlines we came across the first of some smaller blowdowns and large branches across the trail.  Wonder how many more blowdowns there are after the storm?

South of Wellington Court there was a small stream where we noted it would be good to add a small footbridge.

There are three other bridges built by Eagle Scouts that are holding up well. 

Sometimes you find unexpected things when you go to clean out a partially clogged culvert.  Like this wood frog hibernating inside the culvert under a rock.  At Polly's request we re-covered the frog for the colder weather soon to arrive.

But many other trail users were not hibernating this day.  Here's a warm puppy having a great time out walking his humans by Silent Waters before the storm.

Continuing south, we crossed Rt. 108, around the Dog Park, admired the new wood chips placed by the Parks and Recreation Department and came toward Hope Lake, where more people were out enjoying the trails.

These younger hikers were having a great time.  A little cold wasn't stopping them out enjoying Hope Lake and the Paugussett Trail.  Who knows, we may have a future trail manager somewhere in this photo.

Hope Lake - frozen.   In the coming days the ice will thicken and let us work on some planned improvements.  We ended at Oak Valley Road and looked at some recent repairs to the Eklund deer fence.

So even during the colder days of winter; people hike, dogs walk, frogs sleep, and trail work is planned for the coming year.  Keep checking the Trails Blog for upcoming events or shoot us an e-mail if you'd like to be notified.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Pearmain Planning Parade

Winter is a good time for trail planning, leaves are down so you can see in the woods.  So to take advantage of the new open space grant that Shelton won in December members of the Trails Committee were reviewing alternative routes for the Pearmain Path off Pearmain Road.

This is the northern end of the existing path at the Shelton Land Conservation's Nicholdale Farm property.  We were looking at better routes to take advantage of natural features and create a better loop hike for the neighborhood.

One good point about bitter cold is that people stop talking and start walking sooner.  Bill Dyer, Mike Flament, and Val Gosset started walking up the existing Pearmain Path across Guy Beardsley's property.  Gotta get that blood flowing.

We looked at woods roads, swamps, icy stream crossings, deer stands, evergreens, sightlines to nearby developments, lumpy ground, mushy spots (technical terms), and verified property lines along road Right of Ways.  Not all property lines fall right on the stone walls.

We finished up back at Pearmain Road where a second crew was getting ready to walk potential trail routes on part of the Jones Farm property with the owners.  It was a good day to have a warm hat.

The Trails Committee left to find warmer locations, while Terry, Jamie, and Jackson Jones along with Joe Welsh and Teresa Gallagher walk the "Little Knoll" property for the best trail routes.  The net result of all this planning and grants is that more open space will be preserved and made accessible in and around the farms in the White Hills.  Thanks to the Beardsley and Jones families for working with the Shelton Land Trust, City and State to make this possible.  Now if it could be just a little less windy...

Thursday, January 10, 2019

2018 Summary and 2019 Goals

Here's our summary of 2018 and some goals for 2019. 

Total Hours and Value: The Trails Committee recorded 1200 volunteer hours for 2018. This does not include meetings, events, trail monitors, or anonymous volunteers. The value of this volunteer labor is $36,288 (based on $30.24/hr value for Connecticut volunteers per Independent Sector.) There were 23 formal work parties held along with numerous smaller ad hoc work parties.

Events: There were six public guided hikes, including the National Trails Day hike held in June, a full moon hike, spring wildflower hike, and a marshmallow march.

2018 Accomplishments: 
  • Volunteers maintained 28 miles of trails during the 2nd wettest year in Bridgeport history.
  • Stockmal and Willis Trails were created
  • Cleared extensive tree damage from February storms (7 hrs/mile)
  • Implemented a Trails Monitoring programs
  • Kept vegetation at bay throughout a very wet summer
  • Cleared more fallen trees after a severe storm in May
  • Installed routered trail signs at Nicholdale Farm and Willis Woods
  • Repaired erosion damage after a 7" rainfall in September
  • Rerouted steep sections of the Paugussett Trail at Birchbank, Indian Well, and Thoreau Drive
  • Constructed steps for the Paugussett Trail at Princess Wenonah drive
  • Installed artwork along the Poet Path (Paugussett Trail) at Princess Wenonah Drive
  • Installed a trailside fence along the property line south of Thoreau Drive
  • Installed a Birchbank entry side at the border of Indian Well and "roadwalk ahead" signs at Birchbank and the Poet Path. 
  • Rerouted a section of Turkey Trot trail to bypass a wet section
Scout Projects
  • Josh Andes constructed benches along the Rec Path
2019 Trail Goals 
  • Create a new Pearmain Path loop, making use of the new Pearmain Preserve open space
  • Begin the "Big Loop" trail connecting Nicholdale to Indian Well. Also, rename the trail.
  • Address wet area on Paugussett Tr. north of Independence Drive and add a bridge. 
  • Fix up all traihead kiosks and landscape trailheads
  • Encourage the City to beautify the Rec Path entrance at Pine Lake (including gate house and filtration house)
  • Install additional signage at Rec Path trail junctions
  • Secure a contractor to provide more routine Rec Path mainenance during the growing season.
  • Promote a pedestrian bridge across Means Brook to connect Stockmal Trail to the Trombetta Woods open space (currently not accessible)
  • Create new trail map and brochure for Shelton Lakes
  • Support extension of the Paugussett Trail south of Buddington Road, which would require a significant redesign of the Shelter Ridge proposal.