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Boy Scout to set up bench along Alma Hiking Trail

An area Boy Scout plans to build and place a bench at a scenic location along the Alma Hiking Trail.

Alma City Council members approved Thursday a proposal by Richard Burrows, 15, with Boy Scout Troop 110 of Fort Smith to place a bench along Alma Hiking Trail on a peninsula on the west side of the lake.

Richard asked to be approved for the service project as a part of his efforts to become an Eagle Scout, he told the council members at the monthly meeting

Richard told council members that, with help if necessary, the bench would be set in concrete and some landscaping would be included in the project.

Council members were presented with a design for the bench and a map showing the proposed location, which several of them were quick to point out would be a difficult spot to place the bench.

Mayor John Ballentine noted that the spot is located on a steep offshoot of the main trail, and it would take several volunteers helping Richard to place the bench in that area.

Gregory Burrows, Richard’s father and vice president of physical resources with the Boy Scouts of America Westark Area Council, told council members that the area was suggested to them by Jim Warnock, who was involved in the development of the trail.

“I’ve hiked this trail a couple dozen times,” Gregory said. “It’s one of the most scenic spots.”

According to Richard’s proposal, the location of the bench will give hikers a chance to rest while enjoying a “great view of the lake.”

Ballentine agreed that Warnock, principal at Alma Intermediate School and an avid hiker, “knows where all the best places are” along the trail.

Gregory assured the council that they understood the difficulty, and would have volunteers helping to carry in supplies and concrete for the project. They will likely start the project when cooler weather moves in, he said.

Also during the meeting, aldermen approved a new planning boundary map that sets the perimeter at one mile, as required by a recent state law.

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