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Please hold off from sawing any more big trees

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Work Zones

I have identified 8 major areas requiring the most work and parts of the trail (yellow) that will require clearing:
  1. Benching between climbs. A long bench cut on the side of this hill will be necessary. It's probably 30 to 40 yards. On the southern end there will be a wide hairpin curve that I want to crib, as well.
  2. Stonewall Breach. There are two existing breaches that need to be adjusted. The southern one will be for the horses and bikers/hikers who want an easy way through the wall. North of that breach by 10 yards will be a more technical "up-and-over" through the wall. A portion of the wall is mostly down, so we'll just have to find a way to ramp up to the wall and then ramp down the other side.
  3. The Tunnel of Love. Rather than exit State land onto town land and then back into State Land again, I think it's best to leave the Tunnel of Love alone. It will be good a deterrent against any motorized users from gaining access to main part of the trail. Of course that will mean blocking off the stone wall cut by the opening of the tunnel but that's an acceptable trade off, I think. What this means is the rest of the tree trunk has to be cut in order to allow users to pass through.
    Immediately following will be another stonewall breach and then cutting another downed tree. We could just breach the stonewall onto the ROW and bypass trying to go through the tree, which would save some effort.
  4. A bench cut and some cribbing will be necessary here. This part of the trail may be subject to change, depending on the final walk through with DEP. If this had to be straightened out it would make quite a climb that I don't want to have on the trail because it will erode quickly and be a constant problem.
  5. Two intermittent streams come together here and the question is whether to cross two little streams with armoring or cross one stream, that is wider, but has a more accessible crossing point? If we go through the bigger portion of the stream then some downed trees will have to be cleared. I think these also came down during the tornado last spring. Also, in this area is a hunter's tree stand that will have to come down. According to the DEP, permanent structures such as these are not allowed.
  6. Another stream armoring is required at this point. We might also want to do some benching nearby.
  7. Another downed tree will have to be cut here and we may want to do some benching along this stretch, too. Some additional benching will probably be required in this loop out section as well.
  8. This is where the big downed pine tree is located. I also want to figure out a way to make it extremely difficult for a motorized vehicle to get past this point. Granted the two up and overs may accomplish that but we may have to have some go arounds for our four legged friends and I don't want those routes compromised, either.
  9. Not shown will be the bench cut at the Pond Brook Trail Head. This is discussed in a previous post.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Trail Building Workshop, Saturday March 29, Newtown, CT.

Work on the The Upper Gussy Trail. Topics covered include designing, building, and maintaining a sustainable multi-use trail. Other topics covered will be working with the land manager, other volunteers, also tools, and safety issues. This course qualifies you as a Trail Boss. Learn what you will need to know to help build a great trail.

The workshop will have a morning classroom session at Edmon Town Hall and afternoon fieldwork on the trail . 8:45am registration, start at 9am sharp, finish at 3pm. Space is limited. Bring work gloves, lots of liquids, and dress for the outdoors. A continental breakfast and catered lunch will be served.

Pre-registration is required, contact me via email eatsleepfish [at] gmail dot com. Edmon Town Hall is located on Route 25 in Newtown, CT, 100 yards north of the flagpole.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Finished marking the trail

On a ride to day with Tren and a friend of his I finished marking the trail. There was a half inch of snow on the ground and it made the trail really easy to follow.

Below is the stream crossing section that I think is better to cross just one stream than two. Also I like the idea of coming around the hill top and making sweeping hairpin turn and heading straight down to the stream crossing. There is a mess of fallen trees that will have to be cleaned up but it makes for nice trail. I foresee, however, a shortcut being developed, that I shown below with a purple dashed line.

Now that the marking is done, I am waiting to hear back from the DEP on the final approved trail proposal. From what hear, there might be more than one recommendation besides doing something about the connector trail. I hope I get it soon. I think I have to walk the final proposed trail with DEP before any work can be done. I hope to have all this done before March 29th because that is when I am holding Trail Design and Building class for area mountain bikers and Newtown Bridal Lands Association.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Pond Brook Connector Trail

I rode the Upper Gussy later in the day and you can read more about what I did there in terms of more trail marking adjustments in the post Rode the 'Horse hard, put away wet in my ride blog.

Took my son Elliot down to Pond Brook this morning and met with Tom to look at alternatives for crossing the stream and doing something about bank that DEP has suggested remedied. The Blue Trail crossing on the map above, it's not entirely accurate on this map, it's actually further up the trail. The course of the stream is just representative, too, because the actual course is much more serpentine. The map above shows the entire trail and below is the detail of the crossing.

The red trail is my suggestion and the orange is Tom's alternative. There is no easy way to address this section but I think a bridge coming down from the top of the bank and spanning the stream is out of the question, if that is what DEP has in mind. I would prefer to armor the crossing and create a sloping climb up to the top of the knoll and connecting back into the existing trail.

Here is the existing trail as seen from the parking area along side Hanover Road.

And after the trail crosses the stream it climbs up the bank on the other side and it's just a big ugly scar that gets wider and wider. From this angle it doesn't like steep but it is.

This image overlays the existing route.

And this profile view gives a better impression on the steepness. It's probably somewhere between a 10 and 15% grade.

Looking straight on. You can see the rutting taking place.

Here is the first proposed route. It goes over the existing stream crossing which would be armored to prevent further erosion. It takes a more sweeping approach and sets up for a nice crossing.

The second proposal changes the stream crossing in order to make a switchback turn to climb the other side of the slope.

While I like the second proposal because it makes a shorter climb on the embankment trail users might make an alternative crossing of the stream at the instead of making the hairpin turn.