CLINTON — How often do you visit Weldon Springs State Park? Have you ever noticed updates to the park?
Did you know that a lot of the projects at the park are completed by local BSA Boy Scout Troop 1142?
There are seven ranks a Scout can achieve, with the highest being Eagle. Achieving the Eagle rank is no easy task. It requires the scout to demonstrate scout spirit by living the scout oath and law.
They must earn a total of 21 merit badges, including First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communication, Cooking, Personal Fitness, Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving, Environmental Science or Sustainability, Personal Management, Swimming or Hiking or Cycling, Camping and Family Life.
The scout must serve in a roll of responsibility within the troop.
For many years, Troop 1142 has been completing its Eagle projects at the Weldon Springs State Park. The scouts have rebuilt a stairway, put in culverts and rehabbed trails, roofed the amphitheater near the campground, worked on fencing and erosion control, rebuilt an amphitheater stage and benches, laid out a compass course to be used with the interpreter center, rebuilt horseshoe pits, rebuilt the handicap accessible picnic deck near the spillway and more.
In addition to all the Eagle projects, the troop has led the efforts with the assistance of Cub Scout Pack 4142 and Venture Crew 2142 in completing other projects throughout the park.
They have on numerous occasions cleaned at Veteran’s Point. They wash the granite stones as well as pick up brush in the area to ease in mowing. They have also done trash pickup, ran the annual fishing derby, and picked up brush throughout the park.
The biggest project they have undertaken was the opening of the Black Locust group camp. Black Locust had been shuttered by the state for nearly two decades due to budget cuts.
With the supervision of former Boy Scout Troop 1142 Scoutmaster, Don Husted, current Scoutmaster Ron Armstrong, and site superintendent, Charlie Montgomery, the scouts are slowly making Black Locust a usable group camping site.
The scouts have spent countless hours at the park in hopes of opening the camp for public use. They have re-roofed and repaired the pavilion, graveled the area under and around the pavilion, and have done significant cleanup of the area including tree and brush removal. The area is slowing becoming usable again.
They have held flag retirement ceremonies at the camp with local veterans, as well as hosting a Boy Scout Spring Camporee there in 2018.
Thanks to a generous donor and fundraising efforts by the scouts, having a restroom that meets state specs and matches others in the park is now an achievable goal.
After the restroom project is completed, the scouts’ next project is to have power run to lights above the restrooms, as well as to the pavilion.
The scouts also will work on other projects at the group camp to improve the site. Opening a shuttered group camp is a major undertaking. It takes lots of time and resources. Boy Scout Troop 1142 is partnering with the Weldon Springs Foundation for fundraising efforts.
Anyone interested in donating to the continued scout efforts at the Black Locust group camp may make a donation by mailing it to:
P.O. Box 323
Clinton, IL 61727
Be sure to designate “Black Locust” in the memo field of your check.
Questions or for further information, email or phone Kim Pakidis at [email protected] or (217) 201-8622.