For his Eagle Scout project, Boy Scout Josh Kreitler has worked on extending the Paugussett Trail in Shelton from the John Dominic parking area to Buddington Road.
The half-mile extension through recently acquired 12-acre open space involved selecting a route through rugged terrain to avoid steep climbs and wet areas, and the crossing of a 30-foot-wide swamp and pond area.
Previously-used short telephone poles were used as the support for a boardwalk to cross the swamp. Josh and the Shelton Trails Committee designed a method to build two platforms to be installed in the swamp to support the poles.
Re-routing the Paugussett through Shelton
A major goal of the Shelton Trails Committee is to restore the Paugussett Trail from Webb Mountain in Monroe through Shelton to the Stratford border. Due to development in Shelton, the original trail has to be re-routed through a series of open space acquisitions.
Josh presented his project to the Trails Committee, Conservation Commission and Inland Wetlands Commission, receiving all approvals required from Shelton boards.
He had several work sessions with Scouts and friends to clear the trail using hand tools and to prepare both ends of the boardwalk.
Moving the poles, building the boardwalk
Josh developed a method for 10 Scouts to move the heavy old telephone poles on to a trailer to bring them to the site, and then from the trailer to the swamp.
He was able to get materials donated by Home Depot and Lowe’s, including the pressure-treated support posts and decking.
Using tools developed by the Trails Committee in building the Lane Street boardwalk, Josh and crew pounded two groups of three posts about six feet into the swamp. These were cut 8 inches above the water level, a platform attached, the posts attached to the platforms, and the decking attached to the poles.
“The end result is a significant extension to Paugussett Trails through difficult terrain,” according to publicity material. “Josh demonstrated excellent management skills in getting the required approvals and construction teams on site to rapidly complete his project.”
Parking area and side trail added
Trail volunteers created a parking area where the power lines cross Buddington Road and also created a side trail to the boardwalk.
Once across the boardwalk, the cacophony of bird calls makes one think of a rain forest. Heading up the hill requires a steady climb over some rocky outcrops before crossing the power line corridor.
Back in the woods, the Paugussett Extension Trail eventually connects to the John Dominic Trail, with several side trails leading to overlooks of mountain laurel along the power line corridor.
Hikers may return via a loop leading to the trail back to the parking lot.