SOUTHLAKE (CBS 11 NEWS) – Vandals took just one day to tear apart an Eagle Scout project a Southlake teen spent months putting together.
Log dams to stop trail erosion were broken. Stakes to hold up fencing were bent. Newly planted grass was trampled.
The 13-year-old, who recruited two dozen friends to help him build it, stood Thursday with fencing in his hand still not sure what happened.
Colton Williams planned the project over several months.
Two spurs off a main trail near Bob Jones Nature Center in Southlake turned into heavily traveled horse paths. As the natural runoff spots were worn down, erosion advanced to the point they were becoming difficult to navigate. Williams got permission from the city and the Army Corps of Engineers for a plan to even out the dirt, use natural wood dams to hold the soil, and fence off access to the trails. The plan was to monitor the trails for several months to measure erosion and hopefully see it stop.
Williams mowed lawns and asked for donations to purchase fencing, stakes and signage.
The last weekend in September, he and 25 Boy Scouts closed down the trails. Eight adult volunteers helped complete the project and put up signs by last Saturday. Monday, when he got home from school, his mother told him she had some bad news.
“When she showed me the pictures I was like, whoa, how did they do that?” he said.
His mother Patricia said the only explanation was that someone had used horses to help move all the wood reinforcement, and destroy the fencing. Half of it had been moved, some tossed 30 to 40 feet into the woods. They figured about $600 in damage was done.
“It’s depressing,” Colton said. “Because we spent a lot of money on all these materials now we have to get the same amount of money and more.”
Eager to still become an Eagle Scout however, Williams now plans to regroup, raise more funds and try again. He’ll be back at the trails Saturday morning, hoping he can recruit more volunteers, and build something vandals can’t remove again.
“We want to take care of nature, but they don’t want that,” he said. “They just want to be selfish.”