With the weather warming, and with more people available to take walks while home from work and school (maintaining social distancing, of course), one local Boy Scout’s Eagle Scout Service Project has made a lasting impact.
Port Jefferson resident Cole Swensen, a member of Miller Place Boy Scout Troop 204, installed a bench, along with concrete pads on the Setauket-Port Jefferson Station Greenway Trail earlier this month.
“I’m happy with the finished product,” Swensen said.
Swensen, a senior at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School in Port Jefferson, said he and his dad use the trail often for running and biking and saw there was a need for a new bench, made from wood composite, at the top of the hill just after the westernmost trail entrance in Setauket. The young man also installed three concrete pads on the trail, one at his new bench and two more at existing benches.
“These pads not only clean up the look of the benches and trail, but they also prevent the area in front of the benches from getting muddy,” Swensen said. “It also is a place for strollers to easily get off the main trail.”
Charlie McAteer, the chair of the Friends of the Greenway, said Troop 204 has been a huge boon to the trail, having done five projects with the Greenway, with one more still in the planning phase. This new project comes just as the Greenway is getting increased usage thanks to more people looking to spend time outdoors while maintaining a distance from others.
“This is a remarkable commitment to the Setauket to Port Jeff Station Greenway Trail,” McAteer said. “The community will be enjoying these for decades.”
The high school senior said he had been working on the project since before last summer but had to put it on pause after a severe bike accident led to a concussion. He conducted his fundraising last month, just as things with the coronavirus crisis were starting to close in. Still, he managed to raise about $1,000 toward the project. The build was over a three-day period with the bulk of the work centered on installing the new bench and making sure the concrete pads were leveled against the slope of the hill.
Swensen said he is still waiting on the finalized paperwork for his Eagle Scout application, since all offices are closed everything now has to be mailed.
After graduating high school, Swensen expects to attend SUNY Maritime to study naval architecture, involved in designing the hulls of boats and ships.
Swensen’s father, Eric, said his son has been interested in boats and sailing since he was young.