The Trumbull Trails Coalition & CT NEMBA held a Trails Advocacy Coffee Klatch on Saturday morning, November 20th to air issues in the Pequonnock River Valley amongst the predominant mountain bike riders that use the park. All this stemmed from work the TTC did over the summer that was dismantled or destroyed and then someone, without permission, went in and created a bootleg trail (rake and scrape) and then spray painted arrows and tagged rocks that lead to heated forum discussions. It's uncertain whether the Mr Rake and Scrape did the spray painting or it was done by someone else.
|Rich Coffey, talks to Trumbull Park Ranger Mark Ceneri (l) and |
CT DEP Land Manager James Beschele (r) about
critical areas in the park that need addressing
Ironically, as the heated discussions over the Rake and Scrape trail flared tempers across the Interwebs, Dmitri Paris, the Trumbull Parks Commissioner, contacted CT NEMBA from out of the blue wanting to form a trails partnership. While it seemed his main concern was cyclists on the rail trail whizzing by joggers and walkers on the rail trail, he did acknowledge that he could use some trail help in his other parks, like Old Mine and Twin Brooks where Mountain Biker usage is steadily increasing. Dmitri sent Trumbull Parks Ranger Mark Ceneri to the meeting. Also in attendance was CT DEP's State Park Supervisor (for Sherwood Island, Mianus River State Park, and of course The Pequonnock River Valley State Park) James Beschle. There seems to be a grey area when it comes to jurisdiction over managing P-Valley SP. The State owns the land but the town has some sort of jurisdiction over it as well and that works to our advantage because we can get both local and state support for improving the park.
|Steve McAllister (l) speaks with long time park rider Bob, who rides|
a red, rigid Karate Monkey
From the Coalition we had founder Rich Coffey, Steve McAllister, Alex Bijanada, Robert Rickman, Nick Hague, and Rich Stinchcomb. Representing CT NEMBA were Paula Burton and myself. Also in attendence were other mountain bikers who live in the area and passionately ride the Pequonnock River Valley. The dialog revolved around issues on the red trail that the TTC tried to change over the summer and that the free riding community felt destroyed character of that particular trail. They were right and the TTC acknowledges the mistake and wants to work with them to fix it. Stemming from that discussion was the idea that in order to make the Red Trail descents more sustainable, they are turning into washed out gullies, we could work together to create two, well thought out downhill runs, using natural features, that could rival Diablo and The Highlands while improving the sustainability of the trails.
|During the trail walk, Nick Hague took off on his|
bike for ride in the Valley
Some more immediate concerns were also discussed, like the water run-off on the White/Red/Yellow trail that makes the initial ascent into the main part of the park after you cross the stream from Park Street. By the way, the TTC has been doing little fixes here and there, like armoring this water crossing and all the other water crossing in the park. However, in the pictures below you can see what the run-off is doing here. All the water coming down the trail is carrying with it additional soil that collects at the bottom and makes this intersection always muddy. In fact, the only time it's dry is during the height of summer.
The solution here is simple. Create a nic or channel further up the trail that will draw the water off before it hits final descent. The key to making this effective is finding the right area so that the water will easily exit the trail and there is such a spot before the bend of the trail. It slopes down and away from the trail and if you were to put in a nic in the picture below all the water that formed the channel within the leaves would have flowed off the trail at this point.
At the bottom of the last descent another nic is key to keeping the water out of the trail intersection. As you can see the land slopes away from the trail here so it will easily draw the water off at this point.
While these two easy fixes should draw the majority of this stream off the rest of trail it won't be 100% and we might have to think about building a turnpike (raising the trail up a few inches) to keep the trail out of the mud that you see there now.
From here, Rich led the group over to the old Reservoir Basin to look take a look at some of the other water issues effecting the trails. The Reservoir Basin is often referred as the Serengeti due to the open grasslands reminding some of the plains of Africa. There are two main problem areas, one is on the south end and the other where the Blue and White trails come into the basin from the north. Both the Town and State representatives felt that some major improvements are needed here and that we would work with them to facilitate them.