In order to meet Eagle Scout requirements by completing a community service project, Dylan Hartkopf, 17, chose to repair sections of the Connor Mill Trail. About 250 feet of the trail system was badly in need of bog bridging. Part of the success of the project was owing to the resourceful pooling of volunteers from four complementary groups: The Boy Scouts, the Friends of Unity Wetlands, Unity Barn Raisers’ CommUnity Trails, and Unity College.

FUW is the steward for the trail system, which follows the course of Sandy Stream. In 2009, the group worked with landowners Charlie and Arlene Schaefer and Don and Patricia Newell to secure permanent public access to the trail through donated trail easements. The trailhead is located on Route 202/9, nearly opposite the Quaker Hill Road entrance to Unity College.

The project was undertaken Dec. 5, just before a snowstorm hit the area and would have made any further effort for the rest of the season impossible. Twenty-four individuals showed up to help, and a caravan of people hauling six-foot sections of cedar headed for the project.

FUW and CommUnity Trails purchased planking for the project and H.L. Keays donated the spikes. The majority of the logs were provided by Hartkopf himself, cut from 24 cedars he had felled at home. CommUnity Trails provided the remaining logs.

Much of Hartkopf’s work involved the planning process. Initially, he walked the trails with FUW personnel, measuring and photographing the area in need of repair. He also ordered planking and hauled it from the lumber store to the location with a friend’s help.

Environmental projects come naturally to Hartkopf. He said the Boy Scouts’ practice of “leave no trace,” has become ingrained in him. Repairing the trail system and preventing any further damage by passing hikers was, for him, just one more step in the right direction.

Initially, it had been estimated that the project would take two days to complete. The group was done by noon the first day. The storm that blew in later that day, a storm that marked the end of any potential progress for the rest of the season, was irrelevant.

Now, when the snow melts in spring, it will unveil a more passable and ecologically beneficial pathway.