|Carter Murray on Long Branch trail.|
Murray, a senior at Woodson High School and member to Boy Scout Troop 1965, started planning the project in May with his friend Scott Thaxton. They decided to make use of five large piles of gravel left in the woods by the Fairfax County Park Authority for volunteers to use for trail improvements.
The Park Authority has no funding for labor, so a volunteer group of residents, the Friends of Long Branch Stream Valley started laying the gravel on the trail and suggested Murray organize a group to finish the project.
To reach the Eagle level, a Boy Scout has to plan and carry out a project, recruit helpers, create a budget, and obtain supplies. Murray did all that – gathering rakes, shovels, and wheelbarrows – and recruited other Scouts, parents, school friends, and neighbors, about 20 people in all, to work on the trail near where it crosses Woodland Way on Aug. 22. Murray lives in the Bradfield subdivision, so he reached out to the Bradfield Homeowners Association to join the project.
They encountered an obstacle – a ground hornet nest, and several volunteers were stung – so they skipped that part of the trail and moved a bit further down. They repaved sections of the trail, filled in holes that form puddles when it rains, and cleared out a small culvert to improve drainage.
“A lot of Scouts quit after they reach the Eagle level,” Murray says. “I always thought that was the wrong thing to do.” He plans to stay involved with the younger scouts in Troop 1965, which meets at the Lake Braddock Community Center in Burke.
To become an Eagle Scout, Murray still has a lot of work do to. He has to write a reflection on his project and present it to the troop’s adult leadership, complete two of the 21 required badges (in cooking and personal management), give a presentation at an Eagle Court of Honor hosted by the Capital Area Council. After all that, he will take part in his troop’s Eagle Ceremony.