LAKE WYLIE — Nathan Boepple and his dad, Matthew Boepple, have been hiking and biking local trails for years.
When Nathan, a Life Scout at age 16, began pursuing his Eagle Scout rank, he decided to make the Seven Oaks Preserve Trail on New Hope Road in Belmont inviting and educational.
His project brought in more than 40 volunteers to clear an area of 50 yards by 400 yards along the path and shoreline of Lake Wylie. The volunteers worked four hours May 10. In addition, the volunteers cleared an invasive species called Autumn Olive, which chokes out soil nutrients and other plants in the area. The Autumn Olive was so thick, it blocked the shoreline view from the path. While clearing the area, they also found 50 feet of barbed wire fence posing a threat to hikers.
The group also cleaned about 1/2 mile of Lake Wylie shoreline, and filled 17 extra-large black bags with rubbish. They built an 8-foot long bench, with the help of Nathan’s grandfather, Harold Fisher, which was placed mid-way on the Seven Oaks Persevere Trail. Nathan also collaborated with Bartlett Tree Co. and Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens to permanently affix 20 signs to native tree species with their common and Latin names.
“We actually tripled our scope of work range to 250 feet of shoreline and a couple acres of land,” Nathan Boepple said. “I was happy to help out the community by increasing the basic knowledge of nature and improve the environmental appearance for hikers to enjoy.”
He raised close to $1,000 for materials, labels, lumber, drinks and lunch for the volunteers. Money left over is being donated to Catawba Lands Conservancy and York County Humane Society.
Nathan credits his dad and mom Kendra, and Scout leaders for support.