Thursday, June 30, 2022

Grand Opening for the new Shelton Trails Barn.

We're having a party.  And this time there's no work involved (well maybe set up and clean up, but no brush cutting, except for Teresa, who was working on the Indian Well relo earlier today).

We're finally able to have a Grand Opening Celebration for the New Shelton Trails Barn on a warm summer evening.  The Trails Committee and Conservation Commission hosted various volunteers, City staff and officials, and others who worked or helped with the Barn.

People got to see the inside of the beautiful barn when it wasn't looking like a discombobulated work zone.

Folks were having a good time.

The inside of the barn was cleared out.

There were photos of the people who helped on the Trails Barn; The Barn Yard crews from  Ellington and Bethel, Northeast Excavating (foundation & site work), Shelton crews from Parks & Recreation, Highways and Bridges, Building Maintenance, Conservation Commission, Trails Committee volunteers, Garden volunteers, etc. Click on the montage above and zoom in to see them all.   It was a wonderful job by everyone involved; a true example of a local community project where many hands get a lot done, and save the town some money by doing things in-house or with volunteers.  We are Frugal Yankees after all.

Ellen, Val, Sheri, Bill and Mark started the party. Bill Dyer oversaw all the bidding, construction and contractors, along with coordinating with all the City Departments, buying parts, coordinating volunteers, purveying snack plates, etc.  He did a lot of Construction Administration work as a volunteer.  Mark Vollaro was instrumental in looking at sample barns, design, construction observation, and then working on the fit-up items like layout, staining, landscaping, etc. etc. etc. etc.

Susan, Allison, Sheri, Ellen, and Val were doing a group shot representing Gardens, Conservation, and Trails Committees.  Allison and a number of other garden volunteers did a lot of work with the landscaping along the Dog Park slope and with the adjacent shade garden.  The barn looks like it was dropped in place like it was always there.  It'll be fun to see how things grow in over time.  The gardens at the Shelton Lakes Greenway on Nells Rock Road and Rt. 108 are a great asset for our town if you haven't visited them yet.  Swing by and enjoy them.

Did I mention that The Barn Yard did a wonderful job with design and construction of the Shelton Trails Barn?

The Barn Yard did a Wonderful Job.  If you ever need a barn you should give them a call.

Mayor Mark Lauretti, right center, had a lot of nice things to say about the Trails Volunteers, and what they mean to the City of Shelton.  Particularly during the Covid Epidemic, when trail use skyrocketed for some reason.   The Mayor was a strong proponent for getting a solid trail barn that would last a long time, and would be low maintenance.  Terry Jones, left center , former Co-chair of the Shelton Conservation Commission, spoke eloquently about the history of how Shelton got to this point, the people involved (some of which sadly are no longer with us, but whose efforts we remember), and he brought some tasty strawberries from Jones Farm.  Ellen Cramp and Bob Wood from the Trails Committee are on either side of Terry & Mark.

There was a nice woodsy sign, painted by Emma Gallagher, over one of the windows.  We are working on our Trails Barn Fung Schway decorating motif as we are fitting out the barn.  The goal is to create a fun and inviting space for trails volunteers to meet, work, and plan for the future to improve Shelton's open spaces and trails.

The Mayor had graciously donated a table and chairs for meetings upstairs. They seem too nice for such a humble barn.  Fans, heating and a T-1 link may make this a year-round flex space.  The Jacuzzi, disco ball, jumbo flat scree TV and leather couch might be down the road.  Or probably just a bench and a boom box.

Workbenches, pegboards, shelves, and storage racks for hanging tools are in progress.  Now that electric outlets, lighting, and interior finishes are done, it's easier to do all the fit-up work.

Luis did a lot of work sanding, painting, and landscaping around the Barn.  Teresa helped at various times while coordinating City efforts with Bill Dyer, while overseeing Shelton's 2000 acres of Open Space Property.  Tom Harbinson (center); Conservation Commission Chair, also spoke about the work of volunteers creating and maintaining trails in Shelton's Open Spaces & Greenways as a key role in making the City's open space accessible and inviting for the public.

Everyone who was there had a good time.  There were a lot of folks who were instrumental in getting this done.  We'd like to thank the Mayor, Aldermen, Conservation Commission, taxpayers, and volunteers for their support.  Thanks to Jim Tate for help with the bid documents and for the Hank The Hiker weather vane.  There were a number of people who didn't get a chance to make it tonight who were instrumental in getting all this done.  We greatly appreciate for all their hard work .  We will try to list some more photos in the future, but it was a good job by everyone involved, and  the Trails Committee deeply appreciates your hard work.

With all the above team work, Shelton just might have the best Trails Barn in all of Southern Connecticut.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

It's June - Time for a Paugusett Trail Clearing at Sinsabaugh

 It's June, again.  Time to cut brush along the trails.

This week it's the Paugussett Trail from Mayflower Drive down to Rt. 110 by Indian Well S.P.

We met a Sinsabaugh Heights off Meadow St.  Notice how clean and dry everyone is at the start of the work party.

This is a "Before" photo with Graham tackling the briars and mugwort going downhill.  The areas that get a lot of sun always explode in June.

Further down Brooklyn, Ellen, Val, and the others cut back the jungle by the detention basin.  Once they got downhill into the woods it got better.  Just a sea of barberry.

"After"  All clear down to Rt. 110.  Luis and Nick drove down there and worked uphill.  Bill and Terry cut out to Mayflower Lane at the cul-de-sac.

Would the Mayflower neighbors and their landscapers PLEASE stop dumping their yard waste in the trail entrance.  How hard is it to have a little compost pile in the corner of your yard or pay someone to haul grass, leaves, and brush to the City yards, rather than dump it in public open space?  

Thanks to everyone who came out on a sauna-like Saturday morning.  Thanks to Annie, Brooklyn, Nick, Luis, Graham, Val, Ellen, Bill, & Terry for getting the Paugussett Trail in less bushy condition.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Shelton 2020 Trails Day, in 2022, Finally

The Shelton Trails Committee celebrated 2020 Trails Day finally on June 4, 2022.  The series of trail improvements and re-routes along the Paugussett Trail at Indian Well State Park along with the Tahmore Trail on the Shelton Land Trust Preserve were completed in 2020, but all the public hikes were cancelled due to Covid and the resulting shutdowns.

There have been a lot of hiking on the trails during Covid, but not a lot of organized public hikes in groups, for obvious reasons.

 So today, under perfect sunny skies, in 2022, a public hike finally took place to enjoy all the improvements as part of the National Trails Day celebrations.

Two dozen happy hikers and 3 more-so happy dogs came together at Indian Well State Park to enjoy a great Saturday morning outside.

Teresa Gallagher gave a run down of the hike route, along with the trail improvements that were done before and during Covid.

We made it up the stairs and worked our way toward the trail junction.  The woodlands were amazing well lit due to the leaf wilt blight hitting the beech trees along the hillside.  It may be a forerunner of another massive die-off of an native tree due to invasive pests.

The view of the Housatonic River from the overlook was fine, if a little hazy.  You could see all the way to downtown Shelton.

Folks enjoyed the view of the river.

We then hiked up to the high point on Tahmore Trail the Shelton Land Trust property.  The views are better here in the Fall when the leaves are down.

The Mountain Laurel were starting to bloom in places.

There were multiple groups depending on your hiking speed.  Some took the trip to the waterfalls, and others came back to the parking lot on the blue/red trail.

Everyone made it back successfully, and all had a good time.  Thanks to everyone one who helped out: Val, Ellen, Luis, Teresa, Bob, & Terry.  And thanks to everyone who came out to help us celebrate our 2020 hike, rebooted, so to speak.