Scout plans access trail, bridges for Pennsbury nature preserve

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Two bridges, 1,500-foot trail will open up access to Johnson Wood Preserve

By Mike McGann, Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com

Marshall Lane of Troop 31 presents his plan to build a trail and a pair of bridges in the Johnson Woods Preserve to the Pennsbury Board of Supervisors.

PENNSBURY — Thanks to the efforts of a local Boy Scout, township residents will be able to enjoy a new path and a bridge in a township nature preserve.

The township’s Board of Supervisors approved a plan by Marshall Lane, a member of Scout Troop 31, to clear a path and construct a pair of bridges over a small stream, allowing better hiking access to the Johnson Wood Preserve. Lane plans to undertake the project as part of his Eagle Scout community Leadership Service project.

Lane said that his plan is to clear debris from the trail — a fairly extensive 1,500-yard walking loop — but allow a layer of leaves to remain, keeping the trail in something of a natural state. Logs — likely found on site during the clearing process — will be used as boundary markers for the trail. Lane said he wanted to build the path because, as yet there were no paths and by creating one, it would help to keep hikers off of sensitive areas — while at the same time making the preserve more accessible.

The Scout, a junior at Unionville High School, said he expects the total cost of the project to be $1,000. He told the supervisors that a donor was willing to pay half, but that he needed the township to match the $500.

The plan for the new trail and bridges as presented by Marshall Lane for the Johnson Woods Preserve.

The two bridges may offer additional benefit: they are planned to be strong enough for small utility vehicles to cross (side-by-side all terrain vehicles, akin to the Polaris Ranger), offering the township better access for maintenance and emergencies. The bridges are designed to handle 2,500 pounds and will be four feet wide, with handrails on either side.

Lane told the supervisors that he was able to enlist a local architect to help him design the bridges, which will feature decking and be anchored with rebar.

The supervisors asked a few questions about widening the bridges to allow biggest vehicle access, but upon a brief discussion, it was decided to keep the plan as presented. The Supervisors agreed to fund the remaining $500.

Construction should start in the coming weeks, but Lane noted that the streams need to be fairly dry to allow building to start, and that would be the final determinate of when the project would start.

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