SHELTON — The rubber hit the dumpster Saturday as volunteers removed nearly 200 old tires from the wooded area beside Little Pond Trail.

This clean-up job was organized by the Shelton Trails Committee, which helps in maintaining some 30 miles of trails throughout the city. The committee regularly holds work parties to clean up city trailways, but committee member Val Gosset said this job called for more heavy lifting.

“It was amazing … the amount of work done in such a short period of time to spruce this area up,” said Gosset.

Little Pond Trail is in a little-known open space in White Hills, one of the Out and About Challenge spots. The short trail to the pond has recently been cleared and spruced up, but there was still a mound of used tires that needed to be removed.

Gosset said the tires were once used for the base of an elaborate wrestling ring built by neighborhood teenagers about 20 years ago. The ring has long since been removed, but the tires remained.

“We were pleasantly surprised by the turnout,” said Gosset about the volunteers who came to the trail to help. “It was a hot day. We really got a lot done.”

Shelton Trails Committee member Mark Vollaro hatched the plan last week when he learned that Highway Department employee Nancy McMonagle knew the homeowner on Pine Tree Hill Road who lived closest to the tire pile. McMonagle secured the homeowner’s agreement to use his yard to get to the tires and made arrangements for a dumpster to hold them.

More than 20 volunteers gathered to tackle the job, dislodging the tires, removing water from them, hauling them out of the woods and stacking them on the trailer platform Trails Vollaro created to transport the tires across the yard. McMonagle and her husband and son loaded the dumpster.

Gosset also credited longtime Shelton resident and retired Police Officer David Eldridge, who was unable to go by Saturday so went to the site Friday and moved some 90 tires from the trail to next to the dumpster.

“I knew the area, and the large task they had,” said Eldridge. “The homeowners’ daughter said I had permission to walk through their yard, so I went and spent a couple hours.

“During these times, families need a release valve and places to go. So now we can see how important our open space and trails are and how they directly benefit the community,” said Eldridge. “The Open Space Commission Trails Committee are our unsung heroes in our community. The trails they made have never seen the level of usage until COVID-19.”

Shelton Trails work parties are usually held the second and forth Saturday morning of each month. To receive notifications of future work parties, email sheltontrailscommittee@gmail.com.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com