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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Piney Run Park, Sykesville, Maryland, USA

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Piney Run Park, Sykesville, Maryland, USA
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Registered: July 2010
City/Town/Province: Sykesville
Posts: 1
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Piney Run Park is a local park in Eldersburg, Maryland with a lake, trails, and a nature center full of information about the local wildlife. There are two sides to the park. One side is well known and usually full of people enjoying the outdoors whether it be fishing, boating, having a picnic, or taking a small hike. The other side was known only to local fishermen, an equestrian group, and the local wildlife.
Before my project was carried out, unsuspecting hikers could get lost in a jungle of neglected, eroded, and unmarked trails. Even with a map, the whole area was a maze because erosion, deer paths, and lazy pedestrians all made rather convincing trails that were not on the map. The official trails were eroded and not at all suitable for walking or hiking.

Why this project:

I am a Boy Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. A scout going towards the highest rank has to perform an Eagle Scout project and do an extensive report on the project. This was my Eagle Scout project.
To best describe why I chose to fix the trials at Piney Run Park, I first need to give a brief outline of the adventures Ive been on with the Troop. I have backpacked and hiked probably over 300 miles in many places with and without my troop. I have been on trails including the Appalachian Trail in Maryland (a 2175 mile trail that spans from Maine to Georgia), the Black Forest Trail in Pennsylvania, the Laurel Highlands in Pennsylvania, and trails in the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Some trails were maintained better than others, but all of the trails featured great views of the land that they snaked through. Especially while hiking in the Grand Canyon, I realized that this world that every single human being lives on is fragile yet forgiving, and it is the responsibly of every human being to take care of the world and everything on it. The reason that I fixed up these trails is simple: I want people to go out, take a hike, enjoy the scenery, and realize that they are a speck on the world and they need to do their part to protect the world they are currently trekking on.

Project Details:
My project involved fixing up and preventing further soil erosion on the trails of the undeveloped part of Piney Run Park. We first identified the correct trails and marked trees with ribbon to be later marked permanently via spray painted blazes. After that, we leveled out the trail to get rid of the ruts caused by the soil erosion that had occurred.
Some of the dirt to level the trails out came from the mud covering the bridges, but the majority of the trails were leveled just by redistributing the soil already on the trail and then compressing it. To prevent further soil erosion damage, my group of volunteer Boy Scouts collected tree limbs that had fallen and used them as natural water diverters on the trail. There were just a handful of such diverters already on the trail but they were not enough. After some research, I found that the placement and angle of the water diverters depends on the gradient of the trail. The gradient can be found by measuring the rise of the trail over a distance or run of about 10 feet. For example, a 1 foot rise over 10 feet run is a 10% gradient or a 1 foot rise over 8 feet run is a 12.5% gradient. The water diverters were placed 100 feet apart at 25o angle (from perpendicular of the trail) on a 5% gradient hill, 50 feet apart at a 35o angle on a 10% gradient hill, and 25 feet apart at a 45o angle on a 15% gradient hill.

The tree limbs that we collected were at least 4 inches in diameter and cut 6 inches longer than the trail was wide. We then dug a small trench to stick a tree limb into. Once the tree limb is in the rut, stakes about 1 square inch and about 8 inches long were pounded into the ground to keep the water diverters secure. Dirt was then placed around the water diverter to fill in any holes in the area and to further secure the limbs in the ground.

A hitching post for horses, 3 benches for people, and a small kiosk/map was designed, built, and placed on the trail including in one area where three trails and two creeks meet. The benches, hitching post, and kiosk were made of scrap 2x 6 and 4x4 treated lumber that Piney Run Park was going to discard. The benches were made at my house and then moved to the site they were to be placed at. We then secured them into the ground by digging two holes about a foot deep and placed the bench posts in them and filled in the space with cement. The kiosks map will be placed between two sheets of Plexiglas and put on a piece of wood that will go on a 4x4 post.

The only cost for the project was $6.64 for plexiglass to protect the map on one of the benches. The wood for the benches, kiosk, and hitching post was usable scraps from Piney Run Park. The cement was paid for by a former parent in the troop who owns a cement contracting business. Wood stakes for the water diverters were cut by another parent who had a lot of scrap wood. All the dirt was found on the bridges and the trails, and water diverters.

My project will be of benefit to the group because:
My project benefited any person, pet, horse, and animal that will walk, hike, or ride the undeveloped part of Piney Run Park for any reason. These people, not necessarily the Piney Run Park staff, can now walk on a much improved trail and not get lost because there is less erosion on the trails and the trails are marked so they wont get lost.
Soil erosion causes a problem to the environment because soil is displaced from where it originally lay. When this soil was originally on a walking trail and the when soil erosion is advanced enough, pedestrians that travel the trail will be forced off the trail and onto grass and other vegetation that may die from being walked on. If the trail side vegetation dies, then the trail becomes wider, plant roots will no longer hold onto the soil, and as a result the wider trail will be subject to more soil erosion. This presents a circle of hazardous trail erosion.
Piney Run Park is a great local park that needs to be preserved because of its natural beauty. The Piney Run Lake is great fishing spot and the trails on the undeveloped side of the park is often neglected by the park staff because it is difficult for the staff to go from one side to the other quickly because there is no direct road from one side to another nor are their connecting trails. The undeveloped side of the park is used often by the fishermen and an equestrian group who need safe trails to travel.
I have found that it is rewarding to work hard and see a noticeable difference in the quality of the trail. Not only is the work we do good for the environment but it is also great exercise. Recently, my brother and I had walked down to the reservoir not too far from my house and noticed that the trails were overgrown and full of trash. Instinctively, we came back the next day with my dad and brought hedge clippers to clear the path and we picked up the trash. Again, the feeling of accomplishment came about, and another trail was cleared for others to enjoy.
Date: July 9, 2010 Views: 3007 File size: 47.5kb, 1288.0kb : 1600 x 1200
Hours Volunteered: 468
Volunteers: 40
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 10 to 60
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 72
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tads kema

Registered: August 2010
City/Town/Province: kampala
Posts: 1
August 27, 2010 4:48am

This is real good

Registered: September 2010
City/Town/Province: Ghaziabad
Posts: 1
September 2, 2010 6:14am

Hey Aarnat you are doing a great job... and I encourage your work!!!