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Chandler Kienitz receives Eagle Scout honor

By Staff | Apr 17, 2016

Chandler Kienitz after his Eagle Scout ceremony.

Chandler Kienitz, a Blue Earth Area High School senior, is celebrating in a big way. Kienitz has recently celebrated his Eagle Court of Honor at a ceremony at Trinity Lutheran Church on April 9. This means that Kienitz has completed all rankings of Boy Scouts and became an Eagle Scout.

But there is more to it than that. Kienitz, as a part of becoming an Eagle Scout, has restored a forgotten trail in Blue Earth.

In order to attain this honor, Kienitz had to create an Eagle Scout project. And it was a big one. He took a portion, 3/10ths of a mile to be exact, of a bike trail near I-90 and restored it to its former glory.

That trail was originally named Schwen Woods Trail, and maintained by Marvel Schwen who now lives in Bemidji and is retired. Kienitz was able to meet with Schwen after the majority of the project was finished.

“I think he was really happy,” says Kienitz. “The place where he lives now also has a nature preservation trail that he made.”

Kienitz looking at his work ahead of him for his trail restoration project to become an Eagle Scout.

The original trail was meant to preserve and show off the native plants and animals of Minnesota. The old trail even had a netted, four postered area that looked like a gigantic chicken coop.

“It was made so no one could touch it and the plants in the enclosure would grow unharmed,” says Kienitz. He photographed some of the flora and fauna in the trail area to show what naturally grows near the trail.

So, what does it take to turn an overgrown trail into a usable trail once again? Kienitz says it takes dedication, a good team, and lots of support.

In order to have his Eagle Scout project approved, Kienitz first had to talk to a board of review for his project. Once that was okayed, Kienitz had to talk with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), as the trail was on land that was legally owned by the state of Minnesota.

Then, after MnDOT?gave their approval, Kienitz and his fellow scouts of Troop 49 set out to make Kienitz’s project become a reality.

“We had a great amount of help and donations from our community,” says Kienitz. “Lamperts in Blue Earth helped with the lumber, Thates of Fairmont helped with the mulch for the trail, Blue Earth Landscape helped us and Blue Earth Monument helped us with our signs. It was definitely a group effort and we were all very thankful for their help.”

Kienitz shared that his Boy Scout troop also played a big part in helping. Troop 49 spent many a Saturday working on the trail.

“It was hard work, but it was fun, too,” says Kienitz whose project took five months to complete. “And I think that is what being a Boy Scout is about. We always have fun, but we have a purpose to what we do. We go on special trips and earn merit badges, and it really is a lot of fun.”

Kienitz said he chose the project because he and his family are fans of biking. While out biking the trails near 1-90, he came across the trail and looked into the history of the Schwen Woods Trail and decided then to initiate his project.

There were also two other people that Kienitz says he could not have finished his project without his parents.

“My mom and dad, Rachel and Joel Kienitz, helped me out a lot. They continued to push me to keep working at things and they put a lot of hours in with me on this project,” he said.

For Kienitz, scouting has been a life-long commitment so far in his life, and he is excited to become an Eagle Scout. But, he says, it takes a lot of dedication. He shared some advice for future Eagle Scouts.

“Don’t give up. There may be times where you may not feel as dedicated to completing merit badges or continuing in Boy Scouts, but it is worth it in the end,” he says. “There are lots of benefits to being a Boy Scout and an Eagle Scout. There are a lot of opportunities out there