Sequim trio earn Eagle Scout honor

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It was about a year after Tristan Tosland had built and installed a kiosk along the Little River Trail when a tree fell on it, demolishing the roof beyond repair.


Undeterred, Tosland decided to rebuild the kiosk using a metal roof.


“Hopefully, if a tree hits it, it’ll bounce off,” he told a crowd gathered at the Sequim Elks Lodge No. 2642 Saturday afternoon.


Tosland joined fellow Sequim High students Derek Chamblin and Matthew Kowitz in accepting The Eagle Award, the highest recognition offered by the National Council of Boy Scouts of America.


Eagle Scouts earn that honor only after earning at least 21 merit badges in fields such as first aid, citizenship, emergency preparedness, environmental science and personal fitness.


The trio are part of Troop 1491; Scoutmasters include Kevin Phillips, Bill Campbell, Troy Tosland and Peter Craig.


Earning the award, local Scout leaders say, takes a five-year commitment and individual projects require between 100 and 150 hours to complete.


Chamblin, a senior at Sequim High, installed a sign and landscaped the dog-walking trails at the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society.


“The trails get really muddy so volunteers don’t want to help out,” he said. “It makes less people want to volunteer.”


Chamblin took 50 cubic yards of bark donated by the Hermann Brothers for the trails and supervised the landscaping; Miller Sign donated the new humane society information sign.


A junior at SHS, Kowitz chose a project that involved remounting a Sequim School District bell, making a concrete pad and installing a viewing bench outside the school district office.


“Scouting has taught me many key life-saving skills and strong communication skills,” Kowitz wrote for a pamphlet for Saturday’s presentation. “These will serve me throughout my education and life journeys.”

Tosland, a senior, said his project took on new importance when he learned that the Department of Natural Resources had just one trail crew member for that section of DNR land.


Tosland gathered trees from Jake Way Farm, stripped them of bark and used them to build the original, all-wood kiosk, then transported all the materials a quarter of a mile down the trail. He estimated his project took 350 hours.


Tosland said his experience in Scouting has had a significant, positive impact on his life.

“I wouldn’t have had these friends,” he told the crowd Saturday. “Coming back from each hike, I felt like a bigger person … more complete.”


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