When it came time for Tyler Giblin of Boy Scout Troop 855 to choose a location for his Eagle Scout project, he didn't have to look very far. At the end of Holly Avenue, near his home in Severna Park, is a footpath that leads to the Severn River. It had become overgrown and severely eroded. Although he had the option of restoring a trail in Sandy Point State Park, he decided that the trail close to his home needed immediate attention.
On a recent afternoon, Tyler, a senior at Severna Park High School and avid outdoors man, gave me a tour of his project. He said that some years ago, a drainage riprap had been installed adjacent to the trail entrance.
Unfortunately, trash and debris built up in front of the drainage area and stormwater was being directed onto the path. Over time, stormwater eroded the path and the resulting sediment-laden runoff flowed into the Severn River, degrading the quality of the water.
In order to begin restoring the trail, Tyler had to spend nearly nine months planning the project, obtaining permission from three property owners—and securing the necessary permits to do a project in the critical area. He also had to prepare a detailed, 40-page report to document his efforts and provide instructions so that his project could be replicated.
He accomplished all of these tasks in order to meet the project deadline by his 18th birthday in April. Local watershed steward Ann Jackson served as an information resource for Tyler as he worked through the planning stages on his project that would be one of the largest done by a scout in his troop.
Once all the planning was complete, it was time to begin construction. Members of Troop 855 and members of the Olde Severna Park Improvement Association volunteered to help restore the trail. Originally, Tyler scheduled the work for a weekend in mid-February. However, rain was forecast for that Sunday so all 49 volunteers showed up the day before and cleared brush, removed a large dead tree that had fallen along the path, and filled in the eroded areas.
To help prevent soil erosion in the future, the group spread 47 cubic yards of wood chips donated by Richard's Tree Care on the path to a depth of about 4 inches.
Tyler credits the leadership and organizational skills that he learned in scouting with helping him plan and install the project. His skills proved valuable as the narrow, overgrown and eroded footpath was transformed into a 6-foot-wide, gently sloping, mulch-covered path leading to the Severn River in just seven hours.
To complete the project, native trees and shrubs will soon be planted in several areas along the path which will help absorb rain water, provide habitat for wildlife and stabilize the soil.