Tuesday, April 16, 2024
HomeCommunityBoy Scout Enlists Mule Team for Community Service Project on Public Land

Boy Scout Enlists Mule Team for Community Service Project on Public Land

Bryce Holloway leads the mule string along a single track trail on Coyote Bluff.
Bryce Holloway leads the mule string along a single track trail on Coyote Bluff.

by Jeff Fontana
Public Affairs Officer
BLM Northern California District

When Lassen County Eagle Scout candidate Misha Babichenko decided to build scenic overlook benches along trails in the Coyote Bluff area of the Susanville Ranch Park, he faced a daunting challenge.

The only way into his community service project sites was a mile-and-a-half-long, single track trail inaccessible to vehicles. He needed to haul in three-quarters of a ton of materials and tools, a big challenge even for his enthusiastic team of physically-fit Boy Scouts.

What to do? The answer was tried and true: pack mules, a draft horse and an experienced handler.

From left, Colton Keith, Robert Pelfrey, Pete Justus and Dennis Palmatier mount a backrest to complete a new bench along Lazy Lizard Loop on Coyote Bluff in the Susanville Ranch Park.
From left, Colton Keith, Robert Pelfrey, Pete Justus and Dennis Palmatier mount a backrest to complete a new bench along Lazy Lizard Loop on Coyote Bluff in the Susanville Ranch Park.

Rain loomed to the west and a rainbow formed over Coyote Bluff as the mule team and Scouts set to work early on a blustery Saturday morning, Oct. 25, their second day of work. As dusk fell, the team departed, leaving three handsome, sturdy benches perched at shady trail pullouts with jaw-dropping views for mountain bikers, hikers and horseback riders.

Misha is well on his way to earning coveted recognition as an Eagle Scout.

“Misha and his team of nine Scouts worked a long, hard day through wind and rain to get these benches in place,” said Stan Bales, an outdoor recreation planner with the Bureau of Land Management Eagle Lake Field Office in Susanville. “Thanks to their effort we now have resting places where people can enjoy vistas over the city of Susanville and out 60 miles across the Honey Lake Valley to the surrounding mountains.”

Like many other Eagle Scout candidates in the area, Misha liked the idea of providing resting spots for those who enjoy the region’s recreational trails. He enlisted help from BLM firefighters Joe Johnson and Ed Merrill, who on their days off felled bug-killed trees and milled them into six-foot-long, three-inch thick boards.

Like the other Eagle Scout candidates, he got help from Lassen Community College’s welding instructor Kory Konkol and support from the BLM which helped plan the bench locations.

From left, Scouts Colton Keith, Austin Sturges, Robert Pelfrey and Dennis Palmatier enjoy the view from their completed project on Lazy Lizard Loop.
From left, Scouts Colton Keith, Austin Sturges, Robert Pelfrey and Dennis Palmatier enjoy the view from their completed project on Lazy Lizard Loop.

Scouts and parents from Susanville Troops 405 and 159 and neighboring Janesville Troop 78 helped with the entire project, all under the direction of Troop 405 Scoutmaster Pete Justus.

Use of pack mules was a first, and added a slightly different twist to this project. Susanville resident Bryce Holloway donated his time and use of the mules and a pack horse to help complete the work.

Holloway, a former professional packer in the Sierras, coordinated an impressive haul for the Scouting project. In four, 3-mile round trips over two days, the team hauled a half-dozen six-foot bench planks, six log bases for the benches, heavy steel frames for the bench back rests, a dozen 60-pound sacks of cement, buckets of gravel, five gallon jugs of water, a generator and fuel, a hammer drill, wheelbarrows, construction tools and trail tools.

Coyote Bluff is an 80-acre BLM-managed parcel within the 1,500-acre Susanville Ranch Park which offers 28 miles of mountain biking trails for all riding abilities. There are about three miles of trails at Coyote Bluff, all designed to offer challenging rides and spectacular views.

Tired and happy, the Scouts try out the final bench constructed in their Coyote Bluff project.  From left are Dennis Palmatier, Eagle Scout candidate Misha Babichenko, Robert Pelfrey (standing), Colton Keith and Austin Sturges.
Tired and happy, the Scouts try out the final bench constructed in their Coyote Bluff project. From left are Dennis Palmatier, Eagle Scout candidate Misha Babichenko, Robert Pelfrey (standing), Colton Keith and Austin Sturges.
Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso
SusanvilleStuff.com Publisher/Editor
RELATED ARTICLES
Susanville
clear sky
51.6 ° F
51.6 °
44.8 °
54 %
1.9mph
0 %
Wed
63 °
Thu
64 °
Fri
70 °
Sat
71 °
Sun
69 °
- Advertisment -

Most Popular

- Advertisement -