Clearing the trail path
July, 28, 2005 - Eleven-year-old Mikael Zaccaglin was surrounded by a cloud of dirt as he shoveled sand to the bottom of a steep hill. Below him the rest of Boy Scout Troop 647 leveled the dirt for a nature trail.
"It was covered in weeds and tire tracks from ATVs," Mikael said. "You could barely even walk down."
Mikael and the rest the troop have been building a trail at the Feather River Lodge and Marina in Yuba City since June 11. They hope to complete the project by mid-August.
"It was just weeds and fallen-down trees. It was just a mess, pretty much overgrowth," said Kevin Heimburger, the owner of the marina.
The project began when the troop offered to help the new owner revamp the marina. Heimburger told them about wanting to make a nature trail for people in the area to enjoy.
From then "they just took over, we just supplied the tools. They cleared all the dirt and lined the trail with logs," Heimburger said.
Chad Lavender, 11, said he likes working on the quarter-mile trail that runs from the campgrounds to the river.
"It's really fun having accomplished something," Chad said. "I want to show everyone what I can accomplish and show them that teamwork helps a lot."
While working on the trail, Chad learned that repetition is the key.
"It doesn't take just once, you have to do it several times to accomplish something," Chad said.
As part of the project, the troop will put in a bridge at the bottom of the steepest portion of the trail. It's going to be more work, but "it's going to be pretty cool," said 14-year-old Andrew Lavender. "It feels really good to make something out of nothing," he said.
The troop is doing something for the community and becoming closer at the same time, said Senior Patrol Leader Ben Jackson, 15.
"It's taught us teamwork," Ben said while he took a break from shoveling dirt. "We can deal with each other when it gets hard."
Ben's brother, James Jackson, 12, was also hard at work as he and other scouts cleared away logs and weeds. He preferred getting rid of the weeds, though, "because you can see what (the trail) actually looks like," he said.
So far the troop has spent about 12 hours on trail repairs that are almost done. Over the next six months, the troop will post signs identifying different plants and animal tracks.
Assistant Scout Leader Frank Amaya is proud of the job the boys have done, he said.
"I'm very impressed with the work and the enthusiasm they put into it, the attention to detail," said Assistant Scout Leader Frank Amaya. "It's a pride thing for them."
But for Assistant Senior Patrol Leader Tyler McGuirk, 12, working on outdoor projects is only one reason why he joined the Boy Scouts.
"It's a good time to get closer to kids and you get to do more stuff than if you (weren't part of the Boy Scouts)," Tyler said.
Tyler said his favorite part of the project is hearing compliments about their work. One of those compliments came from Diane Battaglia, the marina owner's daughter.
"It's the coolest nature trail I have ever seen," she said.
Appeal-Democrat intern Olga Muñoz can be reached at 741-2400. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.