Scouting Farmington’s trailsFarmington has an extensive trail system, which is great, as long as you know your way around it.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Farmington has an extensive trail system, which is great, as long as you know your way around it.
16-year-old Jesse Cardinal wants to help residents — and emergency personnel — learn that system.
While the trails wind through scenic, calming wooded areas, describing any one location along those trails is a bit difficult — “near the big bush” or “next to the pond” does not cut it in Farmington.
As he works toward his Eagle Scout rank, Cardinal has a plan to make the Farmington trail system just a little bit better. In the next few weeks, Cardinal plans to mark off a section of the trail system, then place mile marker signs along the trails.
A scout member since he was in second grade, Cardinal started looking for an Eagle Scout project last year. One day, he and his father talked with Farmington Parks and Recreation Commission member Karen Neal, who suggested the trail marking project. She had read an article about a scout doing such a project in another community, and knew Farmington could benefit from the same type of program.
What struck Neal about the idea was that not only would mile markers help trail users gauge how far they were going on the trails, but, more important, those mile markers can be valuable in case of an emergency. She put Cardinal in touch with Farmington police chief Brian Lindquist, who agreed.
The section of trail Cardinal will work on — in the area of Autumn Glen, Meadow Creek and North Creek, between 195th Street and 180th Street — is a heavily wooded area with very few discernible landmarks along the trails. If someone were to have a medical emergency, emergency personnel would have a difficult time finding that individual along the trails.
But with Cardinal’s project, things will become a whole lot easier.
“They’ll have an idea of where they are on the trail, and we’ll be able to get to them easier,” Lindquist said.
Cardinal is ready to get this project started, and hopes to have it completed in the next few weeks. He’s met with Lindquist a couple of times to select a section of trail, then to map out the area he would tackle for his project. Because the trails belong to the city of Farmington, Cardinal had to get permission from the city council, first. Lindquist helped Cardinal with that, too.
“He called and was like, ‘You’re scheduled for Monday’ and I was like, ‘Yes,’” Cardinal said. “I got to go before the council right away.”
Council members gave Cardinal the nod of approval. In the time since, he’s been tying up a few loose ends on the Boy Scout side — he’s gotten support from his Scout leader, but the project still needs approval from the Boy Scout Council. But his leader says the proposal should be easily accepted.
“He thought it was such a great idea, he couldn’t believe the city had put it off for so long,” Cardinal said.
As soon as he gets the final OK, Cardinal will borrow a counter to help identify where the mile markers should be placed. His plan is to identify each section of the trail in tenths — .1 mile, .2 mile and so on. At sections where the trail splits, the trails will be identified by using the alphabet, as well, such as .1a, .2a, .3a or .1b, .2b, .3b.
He figures the process will go quickly, especially if he gets help from five or 10 of his fellow Troop 119 members. Cardinal plans to walk with the counter, mark off each tenth, then have the others follow behind and either place a wooden stake in the ground to mark it off. If the signs are ready, they will simply pound those signs into the ground at that time. He hopes to get the signs installed in August.
To pay for the signs, which Lindquist estimated cost $5 to $10 each, Cardinal is applying for a grant from his mother’s place of employment. He’d also like to get a couple of larger signs to identify trail sections, maybe with a trail name or something of that nature.
Farmington parks and recreation director Randy Distad is pleased Cardinal is trying to help improve the community’s trail system. It is something the city has always wanted to do, “but we’ve just not had the time or the funding to do that,” Distad said.
Neal, too, is thrilled Cardinal is going ahead with the project. And with so many miles of trails still unmarked in the city, there is opportunity for similar projects in the future, she added.
“I’m hoping other boys would like to continue and do some of the other parks and trails,” she said. “I just thought it was a really good project. I’m glad he went with it.”