Eagle Scout trails project starts to take shape
Eagle River's Nordic ski trails are slowly getting a facelift thanks to the efforts of Boy Scouts like Eric Guinn, who recently completed his Eagle project – with a little help from his friends.
"This was two weeks of work, 306 man hours," said Guinn, 16, while surveying his handiwork.
Guinn's project was to beautify the entrance to the trails located behind Eagle River High. When he was finished, there were two new benches and 12 lilac bushes added to what's becoming a focal point for the system. Also, Guinn and company cleared out an overgrown drainage reservoir and took out deadfall to help improve wintertime views of the surrounding mountains.
"It was getting overgrown and all filled up," Guinn said.
Guinn's mom, Susan, said the main entrance to the trails – which are used for hiking and disc golf in the summer – wasn't a very inviting area.
"It looked really bad," she said.
The family lives within walking distance of the trails and uses them year round. So with Eric needing a project to work on, he figured it would be a natural place to work.
"It was a good area to do it," Eric said.
Eric knew previous Eagle Scouts had worked on the trails, so he contacted Lora Reinbold with the Eagle River Nordic Ski Club and asked if there was something he could do.
"I knew she had lots of projects," Guinn said.
She does. In addition to Guinn's work, another Eagle Scout candidate, Isaac Lammers, is installing a ski rack in the same area as Guinn's project.
Reinbold said the scouts are doing a great job helping to help improve the trails, which have only been open for a couple years.
"They've all been fantastic," Reinbold said.
The project wasn't a walk in the park. That's because the ground beneath the area is extremely rocky, meaning the holes needed for the benches and bushes weren't the easiest part of the job.
"We spent eight hours digging four holes," he said.
And because Eagle projects can't be done with power tools, all the digging and building had to be done by hand.
"Eagle projects are pretty demanding," said Jeff Guinn, Eric's dad. "And the scouts learn a lot from doing them."
Guinn has just one badge left to achieve before he sends off his Eagle Scout application, and said that one, camping, is as good as done. As a member of Troop 230, Eric's not lacking for experience in that department, Susan Guinn said.
"At least once a month they're camping – all year long," she said.
Contact Matt Tunseth at 694-2727 or [email protected]
This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, July 20, 2011.