Donors team up with Eagle Scout candidate to build benches for popular trail

Improvements, like recent bridge building projects, continue on the Collins Pine Nature Trail.  This time it will be benches for resting and viewing nature.

The Nature Trail in Chester consists of about 2 miles of natural trail surfacing with 12 informational Observation Posts and a map that prompts users with forestry and geographic questions about nature and the surroundings.

Increased usage and recognition of the beauty and solitude along the trail is growing.  Trail entrances can be found at the north end of Chester Park and behind the Community Center building at the Almanor Recreation Center. 

Two Chester donors (Don Ramsey and Kathleen Harrington, residents of Wildwood Village) are providing funds for one bench each at Observation Posts #1 and #3.  Planning, fabrication, and installation have been offered by Life Scout member of the Boy Scouts of America, James Cooper Harris of Troop 29 in Rocklin, CA.  Cooper has selected “benches building” as an Eagle Scout Service Project on his way to earning his Eagle Scout rank.  His project is scheduled to be completed by the fall.

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Cooper lives in Rocklin but he and his family spend summers in the Almanor Basin. “I feel the Chester area could benefit from this volunteer effort and I think the project would be fun during my summer time off,” Cooper said.

Under the Eagle Scout Service Project requirements, Cooper has to establish a Project Beneficiary that has formal access to the project site. Almanor Recreation and Park District (ARPD) has a Memo of Understanding with the Collins Pine Company to access the site and create improvements and maintenance on the Nature Trail property and will serve as the Project Beneficiary.

ARPD’s Trails Committee has been maintaining and upgrading the Trail since 2015 with the guidance of Terry Collins who with one of his sons built the trial in the 1990’s.  Carlos España, ARPD’s Trails Coordinator adds: “Terry Collins and ARPD will team up to provide Cooper with site assistance and additional funding, if the first two donations need supplementing.”

“All operating activities conducted by ARPD,” said Board Director Charlie Plopper, “are done by a volunteer Board of Directors and a super group of other community volunteers interested in youth recreation and trail building.”

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No county funding is received and funding for all da- to-day operations is raised by ARPD’s annually sponsored events conducted by volunteers. “More community members are realizing they can provide tax deductible donations to government Districts like ARPD for adding recreational and trail improvements to their community,” said España.

“Covid-19 in 2020 resulted in no operating revenue from events,” Plopper continued, “So ARPD is hoping to reactivate as many 2021 events as possible.”  Normal annual events include: the June 19 Mile High 100 bike tours, the 4thof July Chester Fun Run, and the July 25 Lake Almanor Poker Paddle.

ARPD has a master plan for recreation improvements on its 3-acre parcel in Chester and a State Park Per Capita grant will allow Phase 1A summer construction of covered picnic tables, a children’s rock garden area, game tables, and a community garden.  The grant is sizeable, but not all Phase 1A planned facilities will be built until added funding can be obtained.

“Local donors have the opportunity to add features to the site (like benches, ping pong paddles or added game tables), or to donate labor or materials to provide fencing, large rocks or tree rounds, concrete slabs, or gardening materials,” España added. Phase 1A will add features to allow family members using the adjacent soccer and baseball field to have fun activities as well as provide all community members a gathering place for added recreation uses.

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