The Forest Park and the City of Jacksonville have been the beneficiaries of two Eagle Scout projects this year. An Eagle Scout project is one of many requirements a scout must complete to achieve this highly-respected rank. As defined by the Boy Scouts of America, the project purpose is “To learn leadership skills, or to improve or demonstrate leadership skills…and important lessons in project management and taking responsibility for a significant accomplishment. A project…While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community.”

Projects involve the scout, the scout’s parents and family members, scoutmaster, members of the scout troop, and the beneficiary representatives. Since all projects require approvals from government organizations, the scouts had to submit a project description to the Jacksonville Parks Committee and the City Administrator along with a certificate of liability insurance from the Boy Scouts. The final project report, written by the scout, provides more information including the total amount of hours worked by the scout and all other involved volunteers.

Rest Shelter at Forest Park in Jacksonville Oregon

Rest shelter at Forest Park in Jacksonville, Oregon built by Eagle Scout, Jarek Lindholm

In this year’s first Forest Park project which involved constructing a rest shelter, over 200 total hours were expended. The rest shelter was built on the Twin Peaks Trail by Jarek Lindholm, from Layton, Utah. He was assisted by Jacksonville Troop 61 and the Forest Park Volunteers. Jarek is the grandson of Forest Park volunteer Tony Hess, considered one of the founders of the park. Since Jarek had spent many summer vacations hiking in the Forest Park with his grandfather, he was well aware of the need and chose this park project. The shelter sits on the edge of Twin Peaks Trail at the Cascade Crest Vista viewpoint. The base of the shelter is 8 x 10 feet, with the eaves of the roof extending two feet on all four sides, providing ample shade on sunny days, and a place to stay dry if caught in a rain shower. The view looks straight down the mountain on downtown Jacksonville, and across the Rogue Valley to the Cascade Range.

This year’s second Eagle Scout project was completed by Reed Hungerford from Jacksonville. While Reed and his father were volunteering to assist Jarek Lindholm build his rest shelter, the idea for another project in the Forest Park led to Reed’s Eagle Scout project. The timing was perfect since construction of a footbridge across Jackson Creek just above the reservoir had been on-hold pending the completion of the dam rehabilitation. With the dam project complete, the bridge project was turned over to Reed to construct. The 18-foot bridge spans the creek at a spot on Norling Trail previously crossed by hikers walking on a wide flat log just above the stream bed, or by fording the stream. The bridge design is the standard ODF design found in the Forest Park, with materials provided by the city. Support came from Reed’s family, Troop 61 scoutmaster and scouts, city public works crews, and the Forest Park Volunteers. This bridge earned the nickname “The Recycle Bridge,” as three-fourths of the bridge planks and railings were salvaged from replacement of another bridge in the Jacksonville Woodlands trail system.

Not only do these projects greatly benefit the Forest Park, they provide Boy Scouts a fantastic opportunity to complete a project while on a path to earn the Eagle Scout rank. For anyone using the Forest Park trails, these projects also represent an outstanding addition to the park’s infrastructure that greatly enhance one’s overall hiking experience! Thanks Eagle Scouts on projects well done!

Featured image above is of Jacksonville’s Mayor Paul Becker and Reed Hungerford.