Sunday, October 24, 2010

TM report: West Rock Ridge State Park

Date of Activity: Oct. 24, 2010
Condition of Trails(s): Good
Observations: Despite the recent rains, West Rock continues to show signs of how truly dry it has become as a result of this summer's lack of rain. About one-third of a mile north of Lake Wintergreen on the White Trail is a section of armoring and drainage work that I did. The section consists of a two-foot wide section of armoring on the right side of the trail as you are heading north with a channel to drain off water from the trail. The lower area to the left of the armoring is traditionally muddy year-round, but still remains dry. Other seasonal watercourses, such as at the junction of the White and Purple Trails that can have a steady six-inch deep water flow are also dry. Puddles have started to appear along the White Trail where users have created by-passes, indicating that some water is starting to accumulate again. The White and Red Trails were generally dry.
The state has published an updated trails map on the website, which reflects much of the blazing and reblazing I did over the past three years. The new map makes it clear that mountain bikes are limited to the Red and White Trails. Although Purple and Yellow (in particular) are traditionally popular with mountain bikers, they are officially closed to bikes. Biking on these and other hiking-only trails can only serve to mar the reputation of mountain bikers. The map may be downloaded at
The phone number for the park office (based at Sleeping Giant State Park) has changed. The new number is 203-287-5658.
In speaking with Lori Lindquist, the park supervisor, regarding crime at West Rock, she said there were several smash and grabs at the South Overlook parking lot and at the main entrance near the Rt. 15 overpass. She said there were no incidents at Lake Wintergreen, so plan your parking accordingly.
I have a blog on West Rock that provides a great deal of trail information. The blog may be read at

Trail Ambassador Name: Tom Ebersold
Trail Ambassador Email: bikehikekayak {at} sbcglobal {dot} net
Town: Hamden
Trail(s) Walked: White, Purple, Red
How did you use the trail: Walk/Trail maintenance
What was the time of day: 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Duration (Hours): 1.5 hours
Distance (Miles): 1.3 miles
Work Performed: I walked the White Trail north from Lake Wintergreen. There were many small branches across the trail that I tossed to the side. I also cut some overhanging branches and small downed trees that were partially hanging over the trails. At the Purple Trail (hiking only), I headed to the Red Trail and walked back to Lake Wintegreen, pulling out some bittersweet vines and cutting some multi-flora rose bushes along the way. Of all the invasives to combat, multi-flora rose is truly the nastiest. It is an intelligent and malevolent plant that attacks those who seek to cut it down. The canes (as they are called) bend down at an angle and aim in all directions, just waiting to snare unsuspecting trail users. As I was cutting one cane, another reached around and dug a thorn quite deeply under my skin. I never return from battling multi-flora rose without a few long scratches on my arm and this skirmish was no exception. With pigskin gloves, a saw, and jeans, most of my body was reasonably protected. For a biker in Lycra shorts and thin jersey, there is no protection. During my work I saw a couple of dog walkers and one mountain biker.

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