Eagle Projects - Completed
Eagle Scout Project in Blydenburgh County Park - 2021
During the beginning of the COVID pandemic many more people began using the trails in the park and without any readily available or current trail map either on the Suffolk County Parks website or at the park, people getting lost seemed to become a regular occurrence. Jacob Gaio, a Scout in Troop 888 in Smithtown who lives steps from the park, came up with the idea of making a QR Code Trail Map system with a “You are Here” feature. The plan was to identify or help produce a reliable current trail map for the park and to install uniquely numbered posts around the park that would be correspondingly identified on the map, each post to have a QR code link to the map on it. This would allow all hikers and other park users to easily access a trail map and quickly know where in the park they are and enjoy the park without getting lost.
After proposing and obtaining the approval for his project idea from Nick Gibbons and Christine Boelke of the Suffolk County Parks Department, Ms. Boelke, an Environmental Technician for the Parks Department collaborated and worked with Jacob to make his project idea happen. As a necessary beginning point, Jacob took on the assignment to GPS all the trails to allow Ms. Boelke to use the data (with Jacob’s various recommendations) to develop a current (and first ever) official trail map for the park. Jacob developed the QR Code and came up with a design for the posts as well as the needed QR “Scan Code for Map” Instructional Sign for the posts (that the Parks Department’s own sign-maker used to make the weatherproof QR Code Instructional signs that Jacob’s project required). Jacob constructed and installed a total of 19 4 x 4 pressure treated wood posts at locations agreed to by the Parks Department (with the help of his Dad, a number of troop mates and leaders, and some transport assistance from Park management). Post 1 of Jacob’s trail map system is at the New Mill Rd parking lot and Posts 2 – 19 were installed in a counterclockwise manner around the park. Ms. Boelke also asked Jacob to install non-reflective Blue and White aluminum trail blaze arrows, some hundreds of them, along the main 5.5 mile Blue/ White Loop at the Park, mainly at intersections, which Jacob also happily completed with his Troop and family’s help.
The trail map that Ms. Boelke developed with Jacob’s help can be found on the Suffolk County Parks Department website at https://suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/Parks/Our-Parks/Blydenburgh-County-Park (and by scrolling to the bottom of the page) OR simply by scanning the QR Code atop any of the 19 posts that Jacob installed at the Park. Ms. Boelke has also since arranged that the new ‘digital’ map may be used in conjunction with the Avenza map app.
Thanks to Jacob, you can now hike the loop trail without getting lost. Hopefully other scouts can develop similar projects in parks and follow in Jacob’s footsteps.
Massapequa Preserve - Troop 660
Troop 660 of Massapequa continues to construct raised walkway in the Massapequa Preserve. In 2019 Scott Frisk’s Eagle project was to construct elevated walkways north of Clark Ave. The walkways would add new structures, replace, and repair some of the old walkways, and end up connecting with the new walkway that the LIGTC Monday Crew put in. That project covered most of the Nassau-Suffolk trail from Clark Ave north to the pond.
For those of you that know the trail, there are extensive areas of mud north of that section, all the way to Walker Park. Some areas have old walkways constructed by Monday crew years ago but most areas still remain muddy for long periods after a rain.
After Scott finished his project, I asked if there were other scouts in the troop that would be interested in continuing the project. That lead to Matt Rossi connecting with me to develop his Eagle project, installing walkways further north.
In August Scout Matt Rossi from Troop 660 in Massapequa added additional raised walkways in the preserve north of Pittsburgh Ave entrance. The additional 140 feet of walkways covers an additional 1/3 mile of trail. Combined with the previous Eagle project you can now avoid most mud from Clark Ave north for one mile. Troop 660 is a large and very active troop with many Eagle scouts with more on the way. Each of these projects requires months of preparation. The project must meet strict requirements set up by the National BSA organization. Detailed description of the project, costs, benefits, and approval by all other organizations involved. The Project workbook is 35 pages long!
As of this issue, there is another scout in Troop 660 continuing the project. He will continue the construction and repair of walkways north of where Matt left off.
Our LIGTC Monday Crew has also been working within the preserve repairing some of the old walkways. In October we raised and reinforced sections in an area with the deepest mud. The water in that area would be above the level of the boards. This was a temporary fix adding landscape lumber under the current 4X4’s and adding additional 4X4’s for support. The next Eagle project will continue to fix this section and move further north.