Mike Portelli of the Trenton Boy Scout Troop completed his Eagle Scout project at the Nature area in the fall of 2004.

1. Project Description

The project is to cut/rehabilitate a hiking trail at the Grosse Ile Nature and Land Conservancy. The trail is about 250 feet long. This is an existing trail that is in great need of repair. Undergrowth must be cleared, tree stumps must be removed, trees must be trimmed, the trail needs some leveling and also needs a mulch/woodchip topcoat.

2. Community Benefit

The hiking trail is in the Conservancy Nature Area, which is home to much wildlife. The trail will connect with another existing trail which leads to a viewing platform where rare birds can be viewed. The Nature Area is easily accessible, so the entire Downriver community will be able to benefit from the rejuvenation of this hiking trail project.

3. Project Details

The trail is currently in very bad condition. There are many fallen branches and a lot of plant overgrowth on the trail. There is very little headroom due to low-hanging branches. Several tree stumps and small trees block the trail. The trail is also uneven in several spots due to erosion. These spots need to be raked out and leveled.

The trail is roughly 250 feet long, much of which was cleared years ago. In its present condition, this trail is difficult to walk. It is in great need of a woodchip/mulch topcoat to assist in water drainage and to prevent erosion, and also to make the trail easier to walk on.

Additionally, the trail is too narrow in spots, and the trail will need to be widened at these points. The project will require about 100 to 120 man-hours. The project will have 2 phases, or parts. Phase One is clearing and leveling the trail. Adults and older Scouts will be asked to participate in Phase One. A small chain saw along with eight rakes and four shovels, plus two wheelbarrows are the tools needed for the Project. In Phase One, the branches and debris will be left at the Conservancy near the trail head to be removed by the Conservancy. Other Conservancy volunteers will dispose of the weeds and other debris from the cleared trail. Phase One will be the most difficult of the two Phases, and will take the majority of the time (80 to 100 man hours).

Phase Two will be spreading woodchips along the cleared trail. Younger Scouts will be able to help with this part of the Project, since it is not as dangerous or strenuous. The woodchips will be provided by the conservancy. Phase Two will require 10 to 15 man-hours.

Afterwards Mike expressed his appreciation to the GINLC for the opportunity to re-create the trail at the Nature Area.

Mike says:

"In all, 23 people helped me complete this project during a total of 87 hours. The majority of the time was spent spreading the woodchips. We used 40 cubic yards of woodchips, provided at no charge by the Trenton DPW. The clearing of the trees and the grinding of the stumps was made easier by the use of power tools. We used chain saws and a stump grinder to make quick work of that part of the project. Thankfully, many of my fellow scouts and their parents came to help spread the woodchips and that was completed in one evening. It really helped that we had great weather that whole week. I would like to especially thank the Plischke family for their help and guidance throughout the project and for the use of their chainsaw."