BROADALBIN - A local Boy Scout spent nearly 1,000 hours of his free time over the last year planning and clearing brush to bring a nature trail back to life on Broadalbin-Perth school district property.
Fifteen-year-old Andrew Meashaw of Troop 5051 mapped out, cleared and improved the half-mile trail in woods behind the athletic fields for a project that will help him obtain the honor of Eagle Scout.
During a tour of the trail Monday, the Broadalbin-Perth 10th-grader said the idea came to him after speaking with district officials about the needs of the community and school.
A map made by Andrew Meashaw shows the different routes of the nature trail on Broadalbin-Perth school district property.
The Leader-Herald/Levi Pascher
"The trail was always here, but no one ever knew it," Meashaw said. "I was talking to my guidance counselor about doing things around the school because I really wanted to help my school. She mentioned the trails back here, so I came back to look at it and it was horrendous. I can't believe it looks like what it does now compared to what it looked like before."
Meashaw and others who offered to help cleared fallen trees that blocked the paths. He carried out the pieces by hand or with a wheelbarrow and had them chipped down to be reused on the trail's pathways.
Meashaw built five bridges and two benches for those who want to take a break at the halfway point of the trail.
Meashaw also helped the local Cub Scouts at Broadalbin-Perth build about 20 birdhouses, which he later placed on the nature trail.
In addition to the physical labor he and approximately 60 friends, family and peers put in to bring the trail back to life, Meashaw had to do a lot of planning.
"I coordinated it all, but I was able to get a bunch of people to help me," he said. "I'm pretty sure most of the kids in my troop no longer want to be a landscaper or logger."
Despite the trail's existence since the 1990s, there were no maps, signs or trail markers. Meashaw surveyed the trail and mapped it out on wooden signs, which can be found at the entrance and exit of the trail.
"There were no chips, no sign, a bunch of down trees and areas that were impassable," Meashaw said. "We cut down a bunch of the trees, hauled it all out, chipped it down and then brought it back in and lined the trails."
He also installed dozens of red trail markers.
The cost of the trail restoration was about $2,000. Meashaw raised the money by selling candy bars and gathering community donations.
He said businesses such as Kingsboro Lumber and Tanner Lumber provided equipment and supplies for the project.
School district Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson, who took a tour of the restored trail with members of the Board of Education on Monday, said members of the community and athletic teams already are using the trail for training.
"Andrew did such a great job planning it out and envisioning exactly what he wanted to do," Tomlinson said. "It's remarkable for a young man his age to do something like that. It's embarrassing we let it get that way, but for Andrew to step up and take it upon himself to recognize the need is great. I don't think he fully understands what he has just done for the Broadalbin-Perth community."
Meashaw and Tomlinson said the district will have local Boy Scouts and people helping with district community service projects maintain the improved trail.
Meashaw said he learned several things from this project, including leadership skills, construction skills and outdoor skills.
He said this work and what he has already learned from Scouting since he was 6 years old are helping him prepare for his future. He said he ultimately would like to attend college for environmental science.