As solid as ground: Hesler builds bridge to last at town park

— Photo by Don Hesler

Bridge builders: Scouts in Guilderland’s Troop 50 pose on a bridge at Tawasentha Park that they helped Matt Hesler construct for his Eagle project. From left are: Eric Motler, Sam Dikeman, Quang Tran, James Plummer, Kyle Dikeman, Hesler, Brian Muller, Robert Fitzpatrick, Alan Fitzpatrick, Devin Bulla, Minh Tran, Trang Tran, and Devin BiBianco.

GUILDERLAND — One of the special things that a Boy Scout troop can do is help one of their own with his Eagle Scout project.  The rewards are two-fold for the participants.  First, you are doing a community service project, which is integral to Boy Scout training, and, secondly, you are helping one of your friends achieve the highest award given by the Boy Scout organization.

Such was the case on April 23, when Matt Hesler from Troop 50 was able to complete his project at Tawasentha Park in Guilderland.  Many runners in the area are very familiar with "Suicide Hill" at the park.

At the upper section of that trail, there is a bridge that spans a wet-weather stream.  Over the years, the original bridge had begun to deteriorate and would eventually need to be replaced.  The bridge had sunk down into the ground enough that now water and leaves were no longer passing under it but were caught on the bridge and backing up.

With the help of the Guilderland Parks and Recreation Department, this project was identified to Matt as something that should be rectified and would be a great Eagle project.  So Matt began the planning of this bridge replacement.  The new bridge would be longer to make it higher over the stream and would be reinforced to help take the punishment of runners crossing over it for many years.

On April 10, Matt and five Scouts worked on cutting the wood for the bridge and assembling the substructure in anticipation of the final build at the park.  On April 23, Matt with 13 scouts from Troop 50 and many adults and friends met at the park to finish this project.

First, the team removed the old bridge and cleaned out the stream bed. Dirt was removed at the ends where the new bridge would be placed to make the transition from ground to bridge as smooth as possible.

Crushed stone was placed under the ends to keep the wood from lying in water and dirt, and to allow for good drainage.  The boys also installed a new railing on the upper side of the bridge for safety.

Soon enough, the substructure was in place and the decking was installed.  The new bridge feels as solid as walking on the ground and will be used for many years into the future.

Troop 50 would like to thank the Guilderland Parks and Recreation Department and especially C.J. Gallup, for assistance with this project as well as the numerous projects that have been identified over the years and used as Eagle projects for our Scouts.  We truly enjoy giving back to this community and look forward to many more projects in the future.

Editor’s note: Sam Dikeman is an assistant scoutmaster of Guilderland’s Troop 50.

More Community news

  • Cornell Cooperative Extension is offering video conferences on raising poultery and on raising sheep or goats.

    Both courses will cover acquiring your animals, breeds, feeding, and basic health care. Questions are encouraged.

  • ALBANY COUNTY — Cornell Cooperative Extension is offering free courses on parenting through videoconferencing.

  • GUILDERLAND — With the start of summer, Guilderhaven wants to remind all pet owners that, when it seems warm to us, it feels even warmer to our furry, four-legged friends. When out walking, they are also closer to the ground, receiving more reflected heat from sidewalks and pavement.

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.