Lawrence residents soon will have a cleaned-up outdoor trail suitable for walking and bike riding because of two Boy Scouts who wanted to open up a seldom-used portion of a local park.
Fritz Keel and Jon Holmberg, members of Lawrence Boy Scout Troop No. 60, wanted to do a cleaning, clearing and building project for the community as part of their requirement toward becoming Eagle Scouts.
"We wanted to do something that a lot of people could use and I think this will do that," Fritz said.
The boys on Friday were working on a mile-long strech of a dirt trail running along the Kansas River in North Lawrence.
The trail is located about an eighth of a mile east of North Eighth and Oak streets, in a seldom-used, eastern portion of Riverfront Park.
FRED DEVICTOR, director of parks and recreation, said the boys contacted him several weeks ago about a possible community project.
"It's neat to have something like this," DeVictor said. "The boys provide a community service and it helps them with their requirements."
The boys' work included clearing trash, putting up quarter-mile marker posts, and building a small bridge and steps along the first half-mile of the trail.
Each boy was in charge of about one-half mile of the trail, and received help from about eight other Scouts.
Saturday's rainy weather prevented the boys from completing work on the second half-mile of the trail, but Fritz said they would complete the job this Saturday.
Jon, a 16-year-old junior at Lawrence High School, said he wanted to do an outdoor project.
"It just seems like you can get a lot more accomplished than with doing something inside," he said.
"AND IT SEEMS like a lot more people could use something like this," he said.
Fritz, a 14-year-old ninth-grader at Central Junior High, said the toughest part of the project on Friday was picking up trash in the area and building a small bridge over a water runoff area.
The boys said that although no motorized vehicles were allowed on the trail, it was probably created years ago by motorcycle riders.
"Now, it will just be nice a place where you can go bike riding or walking," Fritz said.
DeVictor said the trail has no formal name.
He said the cleanup project could be the first toward revitalizing the eastern area of Riverfront Park.
"There's some really nice areas in there that just need some cleaning up," he said.