We’re fortunate to have a great team of folks who work to keep the James River Park System beautiful. Some of them are direct employees of the Park, but many of them are volunteers. They help with cleanups, invasive plant removal, trail-building, and more. They are really our stars.

One such star is Colin Owens.

Several years ago, Colin (then a teenager) was working towards earning an Eagle Scout badge as a part of his journey with the Boy Scouts. One requirement was a work project with a non-profit. He contacted then-Superintendent Ralph White and Nathan Burrell (later a Superintendent) who supplied him with a list of Park needs.

  • There’s some litter that needs removal.
  • We need some new signage for a trail.
  • We have too much ivy on this bank.

But Colin had bigger ideas.

One thing that Ralph and Nathan (and most of us!) really wanted was a suitable bridge to cross Reedy Creek. During low water times, folks could hike, run, or bike across a trickling stream with little problem. After heavy rains, however, the trail became impassable.

Ralph and Nathan arranged to deliver a load of telephone poles to the Reedy Creek site. Colin and his fellow scouts got to work, and over the course of 6 months, constructed a wonderful bridge that kept trail-users dry, even in wet weather!

Colin earned his Eagle Scout badge, and thousands enjoyed his bridge.

Flash forward to nine years later, and Colin learned that disaster had struck. During a hurricane, his bridge over Reedy Creek had been washed away.

Colin went to visit with Michael Burton, our Trails and Greenway Supervisor, and asked what could be done. The short answer was, “not much.” There were a million things to be done in the Park, and funding for a new Reedy Creek bridge was not on that list.

Colin, however, worked a deal with Michael. If the Park would put up the materials, Colin and his company (Post 2 Post Construction) would donate the man-hours to get it rebuilt. Watch the video below to see how Colin and his friends created a newer, more sustainable Reedy Creek Bridge.

They’ve since gone on to work on other public-use projects in the Park.

It seems Colin’s college classes in Natural Asset Valuation taught him what the James River Park System brings to Virginia, and his time as a Scout taught him how to become a Park Star.