Scouts Extend Chatham Trail with New Bridges
Chatham Boy Scouts Jonathan Field and Jared Simonetti have completed Eagle Projects by building bridges over streams to allow greater public access to one of Chatham's beautiful open spaces.
Formerly an out-and-back hiking trail, the Green Village Conservation Trail is now a full loop thanks to the bridges that Field and Simonetti planned, built and installed with teams of Scouts over tributaries of Black Brook, one of the five streams feeding the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.
The trail's entrance is on Green Village Road very near the intersection of Shunpike Avenue, next to the Oak Knoll School fields and directly across the street from Melrose Lane. A small entrance kiosk is visible just off the road, and visitors enjoy a pond, streams, woods, and diverse wildlife along the trail. At one point, walkers look across a meadow expanse at the northern end of Chatham Township.
The scouts, both members of Troop 121, carefully designed and constructed each new bridge for stability and durability, and made other significant improvements to the trail as well.
"When I set out on this project, I didn't know just how much engineering would need to go into it," said Field. "But seeing how the new bridge makes a full hiking loop possible, I'm so glad I chose this project."
Simonetti constructed a bridge and also moved a two-hundred-yard section of the trail away from a pipeline and into an interesting section of the woods. "It's very satisfying to know that more people will be able to enjoy this beautiful public land as a result," he said.
Field and Simonetti's projects built on previous volunteer trail work that was led by members of the Chatham Township Environmental Commission and Open Space Advisory Committee. Land preservation there is thanks to the Chatham Township Committee and the residents of Chatham Township and Morris County.
Township Committee Member Mike Kelly, who has volunteered at the trail site for several years, said, "It's great to see the Boy Scouts and the community continue to take such a major interest in this unique open space parcel. Everyone who visits the site is sure to appreciate the high quality of the new bridges that the Scouts have constructed."
The Green Village Conservation Trail is open during daylight hours. Walkers should wear hiking boots and remain on the marked trail.