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Salida benefits from Boy Scouts Eagle Scout Projects

Two new benches installed in areas managed by the Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW), a cover completed over a bench, the building of a fence and trails at Mimi’s Corner and installment of agility equipment at Loyal Dukes Dog Park — these are all Eagle Scout projects chosen and completed by the Boy Scout Troop 60 in 2019 and 2020.

Last year Donna Rhoads, President of the Salida Area Parks Open Space and Trail (SPOT) met the Boy Scouts to discuss several project concepts envisioned by SPOT.  Rhoads asked if the Boy Scouts could help complete some of the projects SPOT had on their list. The Boy Scouts did not let SPOT, or the community down.

Four young men from Troop 60, all candidates for Eagle Scout, stepped up and chose four of the SPOT projects for their Eagle Scout Project, two for Mimi’s Corner, one for Franz Lake, and one for Loyal Duke’s Dog Park.

  • Talmage Trujillo chose to build two new benches at Franz Lake and along the river near Sands Lake.
  • Jackson Karls elected to build a cover over the bench at Mimi’s Corner, at the corner of County Road 144 and 160.
  • Ellis Haas chose to install agility equipment and a trail at Loyal Duke’s Dog Park.
  • Luke Johnson completed a perimeter buck and rail fence around Mimi’s Corner and delineated the internal trails/paths at the park.

Each had some help from their fellow Scouts and from SPOT volunteers for construction, but each Eagle Scout applicant planned and led his own project.

According to the website, the purpose of the Eagle Scout project is to give the Scout an opportunity to “plan, develop, and give leadership to others.” As noted in the requirements, Eagle Scout projects are evaluated on the benefit to the organization being served and on the leadership provided by the candidate.

Benches Add to Beauty of Frantz Lake 

In 2019, two families (the Donavan and the Chupko families) each purchased a bench with the desire of having them installed within the CPW State Wildlife Area.  Talmage chose this project to complete, installing one bench along the east side of Frantz Lake and the other one along the Arkansas River, close to Sands Lake.

As part of the planning, Talmage met with Salida Public Works to learn about installation techniques and requirements, spent time with the Wildlife Managers to determine the bench location, organized the necessary materials, and scheduled for the scout workday.

Jackson Karls and members of troop 60 working on cover for a bench at Mimi’s Corner. Photo by Donna Rhoads.

Mimi’s Corner Gets a Shaded Resting Spot and Fencing

Karls and Johnson worked on the project at Mimi’s Corner and were both involved in the design, securing funds and construction.  Each attended several Chaffee County Commissioner meetings, where they received approval and $1,500 in funding.  They were also responsible for ordering and purchasing materials for their projects.

Rhoads explained that back in the ’90s, the corner property was given to the County by Arthur and Mimi Wong and for years it was vacant, with only a memorial bench for Garry Lewis sitting in the back corner.  in 2004, the bench was donated by his parents, with help from SPOT and originally it was placed at the top of Mesa Lane, close to their home.  Later it was moved to the present location.  SPOT wanted to improve the property and was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Scouts to create a small usable, comfortable park.

In addition to the meeting with the Commissioners, Karls met with construction professionals, made a CAD drawing of the bench cover, compiled the materials list, and made a work schedule.

Luke Johnson working on the fence at Mimi’s Corner. Photo by Donna Rhoads.

Johnson researched buck and rail fencing, coordinated with the supplier for log delivery, planned out the fence location and assembly prior to the actual Scout workday.  “I think it’s definitely a nice area to hang out”, noted Johnson.  “From what is used be —  a dry dusty corner — mine and Jackson’s projects transformed it.”

Dog Agility Equipment Enhances Loyal Duke Dog Park

Haas worked with the Loyal Duke Club members to research the installation of the agility equipment, design the placement, schedule city assistance, and plan for the Dog Park closure. Haas also scheduled the Scout workday where he and his fellow scouts poured concrete, assembled, and set the equipment, and built out a distinct trail.

Boy Scout Troop 60 at Loyal Duke’s Dog Park, Photo by Donna Rhoads.

Loyal Duke Club Members had purchased the dog agility equipment and then looked for help to install the equipment.  They also hoped to make a distinct trail within the park where they plan to place their fundraiser memorial bricks in the future. Visit  for information on how to purchase a memorial brick.

“The boys worked on planning, organization, leadership, and teamwork.  I can’t thank Troop 60, their fathers, their families, and the Salida BSA leaders enough without starting to cry. It’s been a wonderful learning and teamwork experience,” noted Rhoads.

Regarding the resources to complete the projects, Rhoades pointed out that these were cooperative efforts. SPOT worked alongside the boys on the projects, providing manpower.  The City of Salida donated the concrete and the Dog Club paid for the agility equipment for Loyal Duke’s Dog Park.  The County donated the items needed for the work at Mimi’s Corner, etc..

At the conclusion of these youth-managed projects, one thing appears eminently clear. The projects represent a great example, of not just how the Chaffee County community can work together, but that the training of a future generation of leadership is well underway.