On the trail with this spring’s Community Projects….
As we continue our series about the good things that students at Friday Harbor High are up to, here’s a report from two FHHS girls who are helping in the woods on the westside – here’s their report:
FHHS Girls Find Community Spirit Strong Especially for Improving Multi-Use Trails With NPS!
by Julia Bevens and Robyn Roberts
Juniors at Friday Harbor High School Julia Bevens and Robyn Roberts have recently completed a Community Service Project in conjunction with the National Park Service. Every student at FHHS is required to create and complete a project that will benefit our San Juan Island community.
As equestrians the girls have enjoyed riding the former DNR, (now National Park Service) multi-use trails for several years and felt that helping to trim and clear the trails as they become overgrown with new life each spring would be a worthy project. This year however, spring did not arrive in a timely manner and the girls were left wondering how to complete the trimming project with nothing yet to trim!
The dilemma was short-lived, as Theresa Simendinger, Robyn and Julia’s mentor extraordinaire, expanded the girls’ project to duplicate a puncheon developed by Mark Hetrick and installed in a different location last fall. A puncheon, in less technical terms is a long, low, removable bridge. Mark, a member of the mountain biking community and Rik Karon, a member of the equestrian community had seen the need for this puncheon in this location for several years and signed on to the project as construction mentors. Julia and Robyn also embraced the project with greater enthusiasm than for the original trimming project.
The placement of this new puncheon on one of the few multi-use trails would alleviate damage to a seasonal water crossing. The new puncheon would replace an old worn out makeshift structure that was beginning to fail and would improve the crossing safety while protecting the natural resources in a sensitive area. The old crossing had created a mud-hole that was altering the natural watercourse. These factors were instrumental in securing the approval and funding necessary for the project.
Theresa, as mentor introduced the girls to Sue Husari, Acting Park Superintendent, Jerald Weaver, Chief of Integrated Resources, Ken Arzarian, Head of Park Maintenance and David Harsh of the National Park Service. David served as the liaison for the group. The San Juan Trails Committee was then approached, as was Island Rec who both gave generously to the project. Other outstanding donors were a local bike shop, several horse ranches and individual equestrians and hikers.
Rik Karon and Mark Hetrick were also instrumental in securing the materials graciously discounted by Browne’s Lumber.
The work crew was comprised of the Park Service crew of Harsh, Weaver and Arzarian, Rik Karon, Mark Hetrick, Samuel McMain, Blair Powers, Theresa Simendinger, Robyn Roberts, Julia Bevens and assorted parents. The puncheon was installed on site and functioning well in a matter of hours due to the intense pre-planning and preparation of all those involved.
Thank you, all!!!