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Pulling stunts: Scout builds ramp for Noquemanon Trail Network

Alex Gooch, a junior at Marquette Senior High School, leads a crew focused on building a ramp for a planned skills and play area at the Noquemanon Trail Network’s Forestville Trailhead. The ramp is for Gooch’s Eagle Scout project. (Journal photo by Christie Mastric)

MARQUETTE — The Noquemanon Trail Network is getting a new addition that should add a little flair to the trail system.

For his Eagle Scout project, Marquette Senior High School junior Alex Gooch, a member of Troop 309, is leading the effort to build a “stunt” station for a planned skills and play area at the Forestville Trailhead.

Gooch said his contribution to the area is a ramp that will go “up and down” and be about 40 feet long.

Not every teen is an expert with a hammer, but fortunately for Gooch, his dad, Andrew, helped with the layout and construction of the project.

“My dad’s a carpenter, so I’ve kind of been working on things with him my whole life,” Gooch said.

Alex Gooch, a junior at Marquette Senior High School, works on building a ramp for a planned skills and play area at the Noquemanon Trail Network’s Forestville Trailhead. The ramp is for Gooch’s Eagle Scout project. (Journal photo by Christie Mastric)

NTN contributed the lumber, he said.

Scoutmaster Al Feldhauser helped Gooch and other Scouts on Saturday, although teen took the initiative.

“I’m just helping out,” Feldhauser said. “The whole goal here is to teach the Scouts some leadership, do a little bit of planning, get everything assembled.”

Gooch’s mom, Barb, said her son was a Cub Scout before moving up to the Boy Scout level.

“I think it works out that, like, for every 50 that start in Cub Scouts, that two actually get their Eagle,” Feldhauser said.

He said a district Eagle coordinator checks Eagle projects to make sure they’re not for-profit.

NTN’s mission, according to its website at noquetrails.org, is to “secure, develop, maintain and promote” the use of a non-motorized trail network through the central Upper Peninsula. Here people can take part in hiking, trail running, mountain biking, cross country skiing, skijoring, snowshoeing or simply enjoying nature.

However, just because they are relatively passive recreational pursuits doesn’t mean the trails can’t be made more interesting while keeping with the natural character of the trails.

NTN board member Lyle Vanderschaaf said Forestville is one of the main NTN trailheads where the skills and play area for mountain bikes will have features of different types for riders to practice skills. Ten stations are planned, with Gooch’s ramp the fifth station to be built.

Vanderschaaf said NTN organizers were “really excited” when Gooch contacted them about the project, noting it will be a huge benefit for the NTN.

“Our trails are almost done entirely by volunteers, and having completely organized crews like this helps the NTN provide new recreation opportunties for the community,” Vanderschaaf said.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net

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