Sunday, October 17, 2010

TM Report: West Rock

Trail Ambassador Name: Tom Ebersold
Dates of Activity: Oct. 15, 16, and 17, 2010
Location: West Rock Ridge State Park
Condition of Trails(s): Good
Observations: Despite the recent heavy rains, the trails at West Rock are mostly dry. There are a couple of spots along the White Trail between Lake Wintergreen and the junction of the Purple Trail where there are bypasses around low areas where water settles and stays. Before the rains, these were dry, and now they have a couple of inches of standing water. The seasonal watercourse at the junction of Purple and White is still dry, as is an area of the White Trail about one-third of a mile north of Lake Wintergreen where I did an armoring project two years ago that includes a channel for the water. These areas normally have some water much of the year. The White Trail along Lake Wintergreen is completely dry and the drainage channels that lead down toward the lake and under the trail have minimal water in them.

Work Performed: On Oct. 15 I used the late afternoon to unwind from work by doing invasive species removal. I pulled out many bittersweet vines and cut down several autumn olive shrubs by the fence near the Lake Wintergreen parking area.
Left unchecked, the vines will strangle and kill trees, while the autumn olive will choke out everything else. The state hired a contractor in 2008 to remove autumn olive in the field by the parking lot, but the contractor did not get under the pine trees, which is where I did my work.
On Oct. 16 I did a hike, which revealed some problems on the White Trail near Lake Wintergreen. There are numerous dead hemlocks along the White Trail in this area. At times, I try to cut down the dead hemlocks near the trail, figuring they are going to fall onto the trail. While hiking, I noticed a couple of hemlocks that were partially blocking the trail. There is also a stand of dying red pine trees along the trail. One had fallen across the trail and almost completely blocked it, other than a "doorway" under the branches.
I returned on Oct. 17 with my handsaw and removed the dead hemlocks, plus cut down some other small dead trees (2 inch diameter and 15 feet tall). My big project was cutting up the red pine, which I did in sections, and had some help from three different kindly passersby in moving some of the wood off the trail. Regrettably, the pine destroyed a healthy and beautiful mountain laurel shrub and also a cedar tree.

If anyone sees a problem with a blocked trail, please email me so I can get to it. It's helpful to know both the trail color and the approximate location.

Trail Ambassador Email: bikehikekayak {at} sbcglobal {dot} net
Town: Hamden
Trail(s) Walked: White and Red
How did you use the trail: Hike and trail work
What was the time of day: Oct. 15, 4:30 to 6:00 p.m.; Oct. 16, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Oct. 17, 4:15 to 6:30 p.m.
Duration (Hours): 5.75
Distance (Miles): 2.5

Picture captions:
Now you see the Red Pine…now you don't (sorry about the fuzzy picture, but it was dusk).
Bittersweet vine roots hang on the tree to make sure they are dead and don't resprout.

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