Eagle scout fixes trail blazed by father

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A decorative log at Riggs Lake in the Cascade Mountain range marks the efforts of Eagle Scout Sam Elder. (Submitted)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Samuel Elder, a senior at McNary High School, recently completed the requirements to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.

To become an Eagle Scout, a scout must complete a culminating project which involves planning, leading, and carrying out a service project that will benefit a community, religious institute, or school. Elder followed in his father’s footsteps by restoring two hiking trails in the Santiam Pass working under the direction of the Detroit Forestry Department.

Sam Elder, a McNary senior, recently achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. (Submitted)

Twenty-five years ago, Elder’s father restored the trail head for Riggs Lake, and then surveyed and created the Don Lake trail for his Eagle project. After more than two decades, the trails needed maintenance. Don Lake trail had gotten so bad, the forestry department had trouble believing it ever existed.

Thankfully, his father was able to retrieve paperwork showing the work he had done.  It took another three months of reading over regulations and having multiple meetings with Detroit Forest rangers to make sure correct specifications were met.

From April, 2015 to December 2015, Sam planned the project and organized and trained a group of people to restore the Don and Riggs lake trails. The group contributed 422 total hours, 78 hours were Elder’s alone, into clearing and restoring the two trails.

Restoration began in July. It took three Saturdays to cut away limbs extruding into or trees lying on the trail, dig water runoffs, remove brush, and rebuild parts of the trail.

Coordinating with members from his church, other Boy Scouts, and family resulted in a successful project.

“Everyone that participated in the project and took time out of their schedule to help me accomplish this task, did more than I could ever ask for,” Elder said.

The forestry department finalized Sam’s Eagle project in December and complemented the work and service that had been provided.

During his time with the Boy Scouts, Elder has also been part of the Varsity Team, which competes in sporting and camping challenges, and the Venturing Crew 167 sponsored by Fairgrounds Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

“The Scout Oath is ‘On my honor, I will do my best, To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight,’ and I have taken it upon myself to abide by the precepts of the Scout Oath, Law, and Slogan. I do my best to ‘do a good turn daily’ and to ‘be prepared.’  These Boy Scout practices have prepared me to become an Eagle Scout,” Elder said.

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