Greenwich High School junior Günther Krieg, a member of Boy Scout Troop 5, speaks with such enthusiasm about tackling merit badges and spending time outdoors, it’s no wonder he undertook a sizeable Eagle Scout project.
“It’s really fun to be able to do these merit badges and learn things you wouldn’t in school, like how to make a basket or the more practical things like rope tying and first aid,” Günther said. “At summer camp two years ago I did the Indian Lore badge where we learned about native American history. We arrived at 8:00 and there was a great tepee set up.”
After connecting with Darrin Wigglesworth in the Town’s Parks and Trees Division through Pat Carino and Troop Leader Tim Peck, Günther rounded up about 20 members of Troop 5, which is based out of the Sound Beach Volunteer Fire Dept, to get started.
While many Boy Scouts initiate improvements to the town’s parks and trails, Günther blazed a .45 mile trail along Mianus Pond.
“There was already a makeshift trail and but it hadn’t been kept up,” Günther explained. “The town wanted to make it accessible.”
As Günther guided a visitor along the newly completed trail, he explained that the town-owned property, North Mianus Pond Park, is 6.7 acres.
“It was underutilized and the town welcomed the idea of cleaning it up and creating a trail,” he said.
Greenwich First Selectman commended Günther.
“As a boy who grew up in Cos Cob and swam in that river and walked those trails, to see it cleaned up and beautified in this manner is terrific,” Camillo said. “This is just one of many beautiful areas in town that residents have enjoyed for decades. Now they can do so here in a cleaner and even more beautiful venue.”
Günther detailed the effort, which started with clearing clearing the brush straddling the guardrails along a good stretch of Westview Place, leading to the trail entrance.
At the trail entrance the town installed a post with a QR code containing information on the trail and wooded park along the water.
Günther explained that initially, Mr. Wigglesworth and his team came in with chain saws to cut the fallen trees and larger branches that had fallen across the trail.
From there, Troop 5 worked for two full days alongside Scout leaders and a few parent volunteers removing weeds and vines.
Not only did they collect a dumpster’s worth of litter including bottles, cans and hundreds of pop tops dating back to the 80s, they even retrieved a bed frame abandoned well into the woods.
Another task was removing an old expanse of chain link fence that ran parallel to the water almost the entire length of the trail.
And then there were the pricker bushes, which had flourished in the area of the loop at the end of the trail. Those were all removed by hand.
To make the trail more inviting they planted about 80 daffodils near the trail entrance.
To aid erosion control, they cleared a slope of invasives and planted about 40 pine tree seedlings.
Günther said the blue markers on the trees along the trail were painted six or seven feet up the tree, and on both sides, so the next marker is always in view in either direction.
“A blaze is a color indicator on your tree. You always want to be able to see the next marking,” he said at the first tree. “The idea is you can see your trail at all times so that you don’t get lost.”
The end of the trail offers either a u-turn or a larger loop that returns closer to the pond and a clearing featuring a legendary rope swing by a mature tree with a skull painted black, white and yellow.
The trail, with its water views, is a true pleasure to walk. There is limited parking on Westview Place, but it is a short walk from the municipal lot by River House just over the Dave Theis bridge on East Putnam Ave.