Mariton: Another Eagle’s Story

April 23, 2015

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager

Over the weekend Gunner Gallagher, a Boy Scout with Troop 31 – Williams Township, finished an extensive project at Mariton.  The project is part of Gunner’s path to the rank of Eagle Scout.  He assembled a crew to install erosion bars on the Squeeze and River Lookout Trails.

BSA Eagle project

Gunner on the far right.

We have been lucky since Hurricane Sandy that these two trails haven’t had more impact from heavy rains.  So, I was happy when Gunner approached me about the project.  We have been communicating for some time.  The winter closed in just as his project was approved by the Scouts, so we had to delay the project due to the snow pack.  He started working in early April to prepare for the “big push”.  He came out earlier in the month with another scout to mark locations, and think about logistics.  On another weekend, he brought a small crew to cut the logs for the water bars and lug them to where they would be used.  I like to use natural materials for water bars at Mariton, and we didn’t have much trouble finding storm throws in the woods for the purpose.

Water bars

This past weekend, Gunner assembled his big crew to come out to install the water bars on the trails.  Because Gunner had done the prep work with smaller groups earlier in the month, his crew made quick work of cutting the trenches and staking in the water bars.  There wasn’t a lot of down time for his crew once they arrived.  Groups of boys efficiently leap-frogged down the trail, because the trail was marked and materials were already in place.

The erosion, or water bars, divert rain water off of the trail.  Where the trail is worn below the surrounding ground level, water bars are placed perpendicularly across the trail to stop the water’s flow.  In most rain events, the water will be absorbed by the soil.  In the big storms, water will build up behind the bars until there is enough volume to go over the dam.  Even then it moves much slower, resulting in little erosion.  More water bars are placed to keep the run off flowing slowly.  Water bars also help rehab areas and help fill soil into eroded areas of the trail.  Gunner’s project also stabilized a section of the River Lookout Trail where it travels across the slope down to the River.

River Lookout stabilization

I get a kick out of working with young men like Gunner and his fellow scouts.  It is an honor and privilege to be small part of their journey.