Along the Air Line... 2018-2019 - Winter, Part 4
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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January 9th.  Just a little color...



...on the north side, away from the dawn.



Dawn side.








Culverts under Old Colchester Road, running free... is water over the natural (or man made?) boulder dam upstream.



January 10th.  A mistaken report of potential flooding at Old Colchester Road, led (in part) to DEEP encouraging a trapper to target Raymond Brook's American Beaver (Castor canadensis) population. The story is more complicated than this, but if the trapper succeeds the chances for trail users to see their first beaver here will be diminished for years.  Note: The trapper is well within his rights, trapping legally.  If you have concerns and meet him, please don't cause a confrontation.  Instead, if you have concerns, please contact DEEP's Ann Kilpatrick (860-424-4144).  Ann welcomes this.



Still December 10th.  Sunset.





















Not so dramatic from a distance...



...but increasingly intense as I walked west towards it.


















January 11th.  I walked the marsh this morning with DEEP's David Buckley (as well as Ann Kilpatrick).  David is responsible for State Parks in our portion of Connecticut, and The Air Line Trail South (as our section of the Air Line is called) is one of his responsibilities.  David recognizes the need for the trail through Raymond Brook Marsh to be renovated.  I concur, especially with regard to sections where the trail bed is depressed and holds water after rains.  In winter, these same areas thaw and refreeze, forming slicks.  However, David's approach is far more comprehensive:  The trail will be elevated about a foot on a firmer base, and in places widened to the 10 foot standard width.  Long-clogged culverts may be opened, potentially lowering water levels on the wide southeast side of the marsh, an area already filling in in many places to become a wet meadow.  (A natural succession, but do we want to speed it up, increasing the invasion of phragmites while diminishing habitat for fish, turtles, herons and other waterfowl?)  Most trees, shrubs, and other vegetation along the trail edges will be sacrificed.  Fine if it takes out some of the many invasive plants, especially Tick Trefoil.  But I fear for the many birds that nest along this stretch of trail, and for the native wildflowers such as Canada Lily, Blue Flag Iris, Closed Gentian, and even the incredibly scarce Nodding Lady's-tresses Orchid.