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More than a dozen Boy Scouts are helping to beautify Emmet County-owned McGulpin Point Lighthouse, through trail improvements and by building a new gazebo at the Mackinaw City historic site.
Over recent weekends, Ann Arbor-area Boy Scouts under the leadership of Eagle Scout Michael Saunders, of Ann Arbor, have labored to construct an authentic covered shelter on the shoreline, similar in appearance to a structure that stood there decades ago.
The Boy Scouts’ work was organized by Dick Moehl, president of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association in Mackinaw City. Moehl has been instrumental in working to restore and preserve McGulpin Point Lighthouse. While he now lives in Northern Michigan, he has long ties from his career in the Ann Arbor area.
“It’s an absolutely terrific partnership,” said Moehl.
He said Saunders is working toward the highly regarded Hornaday Silver Award with the scouts. In essence, it requires the work of four Eagle Scout-caliber service projects plus environmental Merit Badges.
The gazebo will be completed before next May, when Saunders turns 18. It will have a slab wooded roof and benches inside. Much of the structure is already completed.
While in Northern Michigan, the Boy Scouts also defined and mulched 700 feet of pathway that leads from the lighthouse down the hill to the shoreline at the Straits of Mackinac. The scouts used 120 cubic yards of mulch.
In total, 30 scouts, their leaders and others like Moehl and county staff have worked weekends to complete the projects.
“These are the Boy Scouts who have done 26 Eagle projects at St. Helena Island Lighthouse and three on the icebreaker Mackinaw, and now they ‘re doing this,” Moehl said. “They’re just an outstanding group of young people.”
The scouts’ efforts landed the attention of Governor Snyder’s office, who asked them to walk with the governor during the annual Mackinac Bridge walk on Labor Day Monday, Sept. 5. Moehl said several of the group members will try to attend.
“I’m trying to get the people in the state of Michigan to understand that in Emmet, Cheboygan and Mackinac counties is where it’s happening in the state of Michigan,” Moehl said. “This is ‘America’s Water Wonderland’ and we’re doing some super stuff. Everybody wins with this kind of stuff.”
Laurie Gaetano, Emmet County’s Parks and Recreation Director, said the Boy Scouts’ work is a tremendous benefit to the county.
“Without the help of groups like the Boy Scouts, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish these types of unique projects,” Gaetano said. “Plus, it gives them an opportunity to hone their skills and learn things they may not otherwise learn. And they go home and spread the word about Emmet County and promote the area. It benefits us all.”
McGulpin Point Lighthouse is open daily through September 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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