• Eagle Scout Candidate Cleans Up Pacific Grove Park

    by Skyler Lewis

    arboristMichael Johnson, a scout in Monterey’s Troop 43 entering his senior year at Pacific Grove High School, is coordinating a service project this summer to restore, make accessible, and beautify Pacific Grove’s Esplanade Park.

    The 1.2-acre plot on Ocean View Boulevard between Lovers Point and Asilomar, notable for its Monterey Cypress grove, has been relatively underused despite its oceanfront location, possibly because it lacked many benches or other infrastructure, and the ground was covered with weeds. The park was overrun by iceplant, specifically the aggressive South African “highway” variety, widely recognized as an invasive plant and targeted for removal by the groups including the City of Pacific Grove, the Pebble Beach Company, and the State Parks system.

    “I thought that if all the weeds were removed and the park cleaned up by adding wood chips, benches, and a table, it would be a perfect place for tourists and residents to further enjoy the beautiful area in which we live,” said Johnson.

    To start on his service project, Johnson approached the city of Pacific Grove with his idea of renovating Esplanade Park.Once a member of Forest Grove Elementary’s Cub Scout Pack 126, Johnson is now a Life Scout in Troop 43, which meets at the Presidio of Monterey near the Private Bolio Road and Lighthouse Avenue entrance. Scouting is a major part of Michael Johnson’s life — and a family affair. His brother Matthew is a Troop 43 Eagle Scout, and his stepfather Duncan McCarter, an Eagle Scout himself, is an assistant scoutmaster. All scouts must complete a capstone project such as this to obtain the rank of Eagle Scout; these projects must be organized and led by the scout, and for the benefit of the community.

    Following the guidelines and suggestions of City Arborist Al Weifuss, Johnson began work in mid-June. Over the course of three weekends, volunteers pulled out the weeds — mostly iceplant and wild spinach — and spread wood chips. The volunteers were mostly members of Johnson’s scout troop, family, and friends. Johnson also contracted Tope’s Tree Service to cut down the dead tree branches hanging over the park.

    Johnson is currently renovating the park’s sign, with new posts and a fresh coat of paint. The next step will be installing city memorial benches and a picnic table. After taking a couple weeks’ break, he hopes to finish the project before he returns to school on August 7.

    Johnson says he thanks a number of helpful neighbors and generous donors. John Gauss of PG Public Works helped in coordinating the use of a city backhoe for piling the iceplant, and provided a number of necessary tools like wheelbarrows and rakes. Johnson’s new neighbor, David Armas, helped move additional iceplant with his small tractor, and came out to “save the work day” when not enough other volunteers showed up. Tope’s Tree Service, contracted by Johnson to take down dead branches hanging over the park, also donated seven piles of wood chips to the project. Finally, Dan Tubridy, owner of Tubridy Construction and a close family friend of Johnson’s, hauled away all of the ice plant and weeds at no charge — “a massive donation to my project and of great help,” said Johnson.


    posted to Cedar Street Times on July 19, 2013

    Topics: Your Achievements: Peeps


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