Friday, May 28, 2021

Helpful Highways & Bridges

Thanks to the Shelton Highways and Bridges Department for constructing new drainage and crushed stone at the new Trails Barn and parking lot at the Dog Park on Nells Rock Road.


The City crew added drainage pipes and crushed stone to dry out some chronically wet areas between the existing barn and the new barn.  Water coming off the hillside was running on top of the ledge and breaking out on the surface near the parking lot.  People going to the Dog Park during wet weather would park in the muddy spots during peak times and churn the area up into a muddy mess.  The new crushed stone mat and pipes should improve that considerably.

The Barn Yard's contractor's had finish graded the area around the barn the week before.  The City H&B crew then came in and connected the existing lot with the Barn area.

It looks good.

The Shade Garden looks really good next to the Barn.  I didn't fully appreciate that end of the gardens until I started walking around the temporary fence at the Barn site.  It's a great feature to explore if you're walking up the Dog Paw Path.

So, once again, Thank You Shelton Highways and Bridges for a nice job.  We on the Shelton Trails Committee appreciate it.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Saturday along the RecPath

 Saturday was a good morning along the RecPath.  We met at Shelton Intermediate School, discussed cutting brush and invasive species and headed out.  Some went down to Pine Lake and worked W..  Some headed East from Constitution Boulevard.  The trails were very busy and we ran into a lot of very happy customers.

These guys were great and obviously having a lot of fun.  I think we might have some future trails volunteers here by the look of their checking out the power tools.  There were a lot, lot, lot of families out enjoying the RecPath on Saturday.  It was nice to see.

There was a big patch of Japanese knotweed growing along the East side of Meadow Street that was crowding the RecPath.  Above is a photo near the start of the work party.  I say "was" because it's not there anymore.

It's a lot clearing now.  Trouble is, Japanese knotweed is a VERY persistent invasive species, and it can only be controlled with a lot of repeated cutting and/or herbicide.  We cut what we can, but the City should probably put a bounty on the stuff.  

Along with other invasives like garlic mustard, mugwort, and burning bush.  We could really use neighbors to try to cut this stuff along roadsides where they see it.

One reason the invasive species need to be cut back is to allow native species like Jack-in-the-pulpet, or Cinnamon fern to survive.


The Wheeler St. access by the Senior Center & Police Station was cleared out, as was the RecPath to Constitution Blvd., and the Shelton Intermediate School trail. 

All in all it was a productive, and surprisingly hot morning.  It got up to 90 degrees later in the day.  Much too early in the year for that stuff.

So thanks from the Shelton Trails Committee to all our volunteers: Ellen, Betsey, Ralph, Ralph, Bob, Terry, Mark, & Bill.




Saturday, May 8, 2021

Spring Brush Cutting

 Ah Spring, the time when everything is flowering and green along the trails.  Including all the invasive species and briars that crowd out native plants and clog the trails.  Time to start cutting things back.  Volunteers started this year's Spring cutting Saturday along the Turkey Trot Trail north of Rt. 108.

About 11 volunteers armed with loppers, hedge trimmers, and brushcutters worked north along the trail taking out briars, burning bush, Russian olive, and other trouble plants along the trails.  Best to take them out now before they start really growing out into the trails.  We left some of the slower growing native plants that don't cause a problem, like Highbush blueberry, for birds and other wildlife.

Ralph and Ellen cutting briars near the junction with Turkey Trot & powerline trails.

 There were thick briars near some of the trail junctions.

A "Before" picture of one stretch of trail going to a small footbridge.  The combination of open canopy along the powerlines and wet areas makes a fertile growing area for some species.

"During" - Matt and other volunteers cut high and low in locations.

The "After" picture has a much clearer trail and we'll be ready for some growth in the coming months without the trail being blocked.

Andrew was using long-handled loppers in many thorny areas.

Ralph was using one other hedge trimmers in other areas.

We also cleared out beech branches and saplings on the Paugussett Trail from the RecPath to the powerlines and along the Turkey Trot Trail.  One area that was focused on was making sure the trail blazes were visible, and that you could see around the inside of curves so the trails were easier to follow.

It was a productive morning and thanks to Ralph, Ralph, Bill, Andrew, Matt, Ellen, Graham, Luis, Bob, Mark, and Terry for helping out.