Friday, October 8, 2010

TM Report: West Rock State Park

The fishing pond at West Rock off Mountain Road.
Condition of Trail: Good
Trail Walked: Red Trail between Mountain Road
How did you use the trail: Walked for trail maintenance
What was the time of day: 5 to 7 p.m.
Hours: 2

Trail Ambassador Name: Tom Ebersold
Encounters and Observations: Despite the recent rains, the trail surface was solid and dry. I saw two dog walkers, a mountain biker, and a hiker.

Work Performed: On a ride in September I noticed the Red Trail between Mountain Road was getting a bit overgrown. I walked the section between Mountain Road and pruned back the overhanging growth, including the ever lethal multi-flora rose with thorns that will leave long scratches in you flesh if you get caught in it. I also cut down several autumn olive bushes, an invasive shrub that will completely take over an area if left unchecked. I also cut back the autumn olive shrubs that I had cut down last year that resprouted. By continuing to cut it, the roots will eventually die. In the meantime, the bushes are not creating berries that will lead to even more autumn olive. Near the northern end of Mountain Road is an area abpout 100 feet long where the invasives can completely cover the trail. I cut it back heavily last year, and again attacked the autumn olive and multi-flora rose to keep the trail passable. With the native species, I took off only what I needed to cut to keep the trail corridor visible and open to a width of about two feet. I cut down a big autumn olive right at the northern end of Mountain Road and walked back the road in the darkness. A patch of poison ivy has completely covered the Red blaze I painted on a tree at the trailhead three years ago. At the time, I had a friend helping me and since he is not affected by poison ivy, he cut it back. Anyone who wants to cut back the poison ivy on that tree has my blessing to do so.

I armored this section of the Red Trail three years ago, filling in a low spot where the tree fell and left a muddy hole. Since that time, dirt has filled the gaps between the stones, creating a smoother surface to cross.

Town: Hamden
Location: West Rock Ridge State Park
Distance: 1 mile

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