Saturday, October 30, 2010

Shelton Dog Park

The Shelton Dog Park is almost open! The fencing is complete except for the gates. The Park is located at the corner of Nells Rock Road and Shelton Ave. (Rt 108) behind the little white house there, which you can see in the photo above.

There are two sections, one for small dogs and one for large dogs. The part for large dogs is really large, as you can see in the photo above.

Girl Scout Troop 363 painted this trash container last year for the dog park and it was nice to finally set it out.

Here's a nice old oak in the middle of the park.

There is a mountain of road millings that needs to be screened and spread for parking. There will be parking not only for the dog park, but also for the Shelton Lakes Recreation Path that will be extended this fall.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Mas Property Behind Perry Hill School, Shelton

A large chunk of "Transitory Open Space" lies behind Perry Hill School in Shelton, featuring several ponds and an Indian cave. The pond in the photo above is called Walnut Avenue Pond on the open space map. I saw a wood duck, snapping turtle, frogs, and fish in my brief visit there.

Here's a substantial Indian Cave located near the pond. The 57-acre property is listed as "Transitory" open space because it was purchased back in the mid-1990s for the eventual extension of Constitution Blvd North and other possible uses, including economic development.

Walnut Avenue Extension runs north-south through the property, although vehicles are blocked off with Jersey barriers.

This pond is located at the end of the drivable portion of Walnut Avenue Extension and is called "D'Onofrio Pond" on the open space map. It's located on private property, but can be seen from the open space.

Near the D'Onofrio Pond is some unexpected artwork, somehow color coordinated with the changing leaves.

There's really no easy access to the property, which is shown in orange on the map above. The adventurous might find their way onto the property via Perry Hill School (when school is closed) by walking behind the rear fields to the right and turning onto an ATV path there. The path takes a left across a small stream, and then you are on the Mas property. Walnut Ave Extension is another possibility. Nothing is marked, so a gps or a good sense of direction are necessary. Note on the map above that the white "roads" going through the orange open space have not been built.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Salmon River Trail, Colchester

The CT Blue-Blazed Salmon River Trail is located in Day Pond State Park, right across the street from Salmon River State Forest. I was looking forward to seeing the Comstock Covered Bridge, located at the trailhead, but turns out it's been dismantled for restoration. I wasn't sure how to get myself across the river with no bridge, but I got back in my car and managed to find a spot to park at the end of Bridge Street next to the bridge on the opposite side of the river.

The Salmon River was gorgeous.

The trail climbed pretty quickly, but the footing was good and it wasn't too steep. After a bit there's this nice lookout.

After walking along a ridge top for maybe two miles, and following the loop junction to the right, the trail came out at Day Pond, which was deserted. This is why I love hiking on Fridays, especially in Fall. I did finally see one person walking a dog at the pond and a man fishing, but that was it.

I was admiring the pond and its trickling little waterfall, when I was distracted by a large bird circling over the water nearby. Through the trees it looked like maybe an Osprey...

...and it suddenly plunged into the water to grab a fish.

Gotta love the October colors, especially that purplish red you get from the oaks.

Here's an attractive little centerpiece growing out of a rotting stump.

It's a seven mile hike if you park at the Comstock Bridge and do the entire "lollipop" loop, which I did. The trail was well-blazed, the footing pretty good, and there were ups and downs, but nothing really steep. A very enjoyable hike.

Funny trail sign. But effective.

A spur trail leads to a "campsite" overlooking a stunning series of cascades and falls.

Returning along the Salmon River after a great day looking for treasure.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mile-A-Minute Vine in Newtown

Here's some Mile-A-Minute (MAM) Vine, "Kudzu of the North", festering in Newtown, Connecticut, where it appears to be spreading. That's because of the berries. The vine can grow up to 6" a DAY. Bad. Very bad. Extremely bad. Climbing-up-the-trees-and-killing-them bad.

These bags are filled with MAM but there's lots more growing around them (with growth at 6" a day, what do you expect?). They need a small army of volunteers to pull this stuff before it spreads to the rest of the city, but instead they've had only a couple of people pulling it at the most, and they're losing the battle. Seriously?? The vine is spreading from the original location like spot fires in front of a wildfire. Too bad, since a small effort now would prevent HUGE efforts and damage later on. Just wait until homeowners have to start protecting their trees from being killed by the vine. And they'll wonder how it ever was allowed to spread like that.

Here's a video of the spot. Sorry about the quality, I messed up on the camera settings.

The leave are extremely triangular, and some of the leaves, including the final leaves before the berries, are joined to form a sort of cup that's fused around the stem (see the very first picture in this post).

All the stems have annoying barbs, similar to Tear-Thumb plants, which it is mostly likely to be confused with.

Everyone, please keep your eye out for this plant, and report it here. And if you live in Newtown, please contact the town Conservation Official Ann Astarita (see here), and offer to help pull the weed, because they can't do it alone, not at 6" a day, but they can't seem to find any volunteers. Otherwise, before you know it, we'll all be pulling it out of our yards to keep them from looking like THIS.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Knotweed Update

It's been ten days since I injected most of this patch of Japanese Knotweed with Round-Up concentrate. The photo above was taken September 23, and the photo below was taken today...

It's autumn, of course, so all the leaves are yellowing, but the Knotweed has lost most of it's leaves, with the remaining leaves very yellow. Of course, the real question is, will it come back next year? Supposedly, using the injection system this time of year and low on the stalk, it will not come back.

The above picture was taken September 23, and the picture below was taken today (the remaining green blob in the center is actually an Autumn Olive shrub).