Austin’s Stone Steps

Project Overview

The purpose of my Eagle Project is to improve the John Witherspoon Trail in the Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve located in Princeton Township by placing stone steps on the slope that starts the trail and landscaping around the steps.  My project is on a popular nature trail, and so a primary purpose for these steps is to allow

a wide range of people easy and safe access onto and off the trail.  We will be working on the part of the trail that slopes down from the Mountain Lakes access road.

How the Project will affect the community:  The stairs will prevent erosion and provide a more level structured way to begin the trail.  This trail is widely used by people of many different ages and abilities from runners to dog walkers to just families going out fora stroll.

My first work session will be a planning session at the sight were we will rope off the designated areas and go into detail on when the stones will be delivered and the method for placing the stones.

Here are Photo’s of site before the steps are built.

Work Sessions 

We will be having work sessions within the next few weeks for the planning and construction of the steps. Details to follow very soon.

Planning Session:
Anyone is welcome to attend my planning session for my upcoming Work Sessions Sunday April 29th at 1:30pm at the start of the John Witherspoon trail.  We will be discussing more in detail for the first work session and give a basic overview of all the work sessions.  If you have any questions please contact me.
Work Session 1-1
Today 5/5/12 I met with 2 friends my dad and one leader and we prepared for the big work session tomorrow.
We decided to make the the length of the steps 19 feet instead of 13 because thats were the ground starts sloping up.  One of the first jobs was deciding which stones go in what order on the trail and placing them together.   Then we took care of the root and dug out and almost finished the first step.  I decided to do the first step so I would make sure I knew the method well and could better instruct the workers tomorrow.  We also cleared some of the brush near near the sign.  The first stones we chose different width one was 9″ the other 5″ down with them together the across they make 3′ 4″.  I looked back at my plans to see that we want the stones with 6″ rise.  Working with the dolly worked fairly well for moving the stones down the hill though actually placing them in the right position was hard work.  So the basic outline was gravel, filter fabric, gravel with stone dust on top to fill in the cracks.  We carted away the the top soil to the woods nearby because it was still good healthy soil.  Making sure that there was 2″ at the front part of the step was a challenge.  Can’t wait to see who shows up tomorrow.
 Name          Sign In  Sign Out  Job
 Austin B 10:00 am  2:15 pm Managed Scouts and helped dig out the step as well make sure the stones were safely  transported. took pictures,
organized tool and supplies drop off, made sure township approved changes, 
 Brad B 10:00 am 2:15 pm Cut overhanging vines, helped deliver tools and supplies to site made sure measurements were accurate.
 Jonathan S 10:00 am 2:15 pm Cleared away brush from the sign, chopped root,dumped gravel, dug hole for stone, helped transport stone, racked rocks off trail,cleared away brush
Paul R 10:30 am  12:30pm helped transport stones,dug hole for stone, racked stones, helped line up stones,
Rick R 10:40 am 12:30 pm  oversaw safety and kept two deep leadership
Here are the photos

WORK SESSION 1-2 5/6/12
Today was my largest work session yet.  We worked on clearing away the brush and placing the second stone.   Making sure the gravel before we place the stone length wise and width wise was a challenge. On measuring out the length of the stairs it came out to 20 ft 8″ and the drop from road level 4 ft 5″. For measuring how far to place the next stone we took into account three normal strides of 6 ft making sure they are all equally apart.  The team worked hard and we cleared away all the brush for several feet on either side of the trail.   To transport the stone safely we used an off road dolly which we rope the stone two and had several people including adults transporting it on the slope.   I also talked to D & R Greenway about supplying the plants and they have them set aside for us.  I hope to have another work session this weekend.
 Name          Sign In  Sign Out  Job
 Leo L 1:08 pm  4:02 pm Helped transport stone dust, gravel, and the stones for the step.  Also cleared away brush.
 Daniel G 1:10 pm  4:01 pm Helped clear away brush, dig out hole for stone, transport stone,transport gravel and stonedust
Sidhant S 1:15 pm  4:05 pm Helped clear away brush, dig out hole for stone, transport stone, transport gravel and stone dust
 Aaron G 1:40 pm  4:20 pm  managed and helped place the stones
 Charles C 1:50 pm   4:00 pm  cleared away brush, moved branches to the street
Yasin A  1:50 pm  2:35 pm  helped place stones, placed gravel, dug holes for stones
 Barb Brock  2:05 pm 3:10 pm  cleared away brush, refreshments deliverer, photo person
 Brad Brock  1:00 pm 4:20 pm  Supervised the placement of stones, helped level and rotate stones, transported tools and supplies 
Jonathan S 2:40 pm 4:00 pm  Cleared away brush
 Jonathan Z  2:52 pm  4:00 pm  trimmed thorn bush, cleared away brush
 Jack M  2:52 pm  4:00 pm  trimmed thorn bush, cleared away brush
 Andy P  1:40 pm  3:39 pm  supervised transporting stones, cleared away vines, move brush trimmings
 Shaun D Family (4)  1:45 pm  3:06 pm  placed gravel, trimmed brush, raked gravel, helped transport stones,
 Ben M  3:29 pm  4:29 pm  helped level and rotate stones, transported tools
Work Session 2-1  5/11/12
This work session we spent putting the puzzle pieces together.  We decided we needed more stones so we went over to the place
were they are kept but it was closed.   Then Mr. Lennon came by and made some comments that we need to make sure the steps are level
because some people walk the trail in the winter.  Also not to worry about about filling in the crevices because the steps need space for rain to drain off.   The last hour of the work session we spent leveling the first stone and sinking it in  3″ more.   It took a while to fit them perfectly next to each other an make sure they were absolutely level but the Mason said the first stone is the cornerstone so make sure you do it right.
 Name  Sign In  Sign Out  Job
 Jonathan S  2:05 PM  5:30 PM  Helped move stones, transport gravel, level stone dust, rotate stones, dig hole for stone,
 Barb Brock  2:05 PM  5:30 PM  Transport tools, rotate stones, remove gravel, place gravel, dig hole for stone
 Brad Brock  2:30 PM  3:30 PM
 Austin Brock  2:05 PM  5:30 PM  assigned jobs, fit the puzzle pieces together, lead the team, made sure measurements were correct,
Work Session 2-2  5/13/12
With Mothers Day happening and flowers blooming lots of scouts had to cancel.  I learned the important lesson always invite twice as many as
you need.  I was very honoured to have a few scouts and friends give up there afternoon to help.  We accomplished digging out the next hole for the next step up and decided my first step will be a platform instead of a step right away.  There was the suggestion to have after school work session which I will work more on.  Lets hope the weather holds up this week to make them possible.
 Name  Sign In  Sign Out  Job
 Yasin A  2:40 pm  4:05 pm  loosed dirt with pick axe, shoveled gravel
 Imtiaz A  2:40 pm  4:05 pm  Supervised safety and picture taking
 Dillian R  2:47 pm  2:47 pm  shoveled dirt and gravel
 Aaron B  2:48 pm  2:48 pm  shoveled dirt and gravel, helped measure
 Alec B  3:15 pm  3:45 pm  Helped supervise
 Scott B  3:15 pm  3:45 pm  Helped supervise
 Tim M  3:15 pm  3:45 pm  Supervisors assistant

Work Session 3 -1     5/16/12

Today I had my first after school session.  Though a lot of the scouts were away for the D.C trip I got two younger scouts.  I lowered the first two stones to my original ones so now I have a the start to my base. Hopefully I can have another one this friday.  I need to remember to invite adults.
   Name   Sign In   Sign Out   Job
 Charles C  4:30 pm  5:25 pm  helped shovel gravel
 Elian R  4:30 pm   5:25 pm  Helped shovel gravel and place stone dust.
 Austin B  4:30 pm  5:25 pm  organized jobs, moved stones
Mrs. C  4:30 pm  5:25 pm  supervised safety
Work Session 3-2  5/18/12
At this work session I rotated the stone that I had place before and placed a really thick stone.  This stone took forever to place because it was almost level so many times. It made a great start.
 Name  Sign In  Sign Out  Job
 Brad Brock  4:30 pm  6:00 pm  Helped rotate stones, dug gravel,
 Austin Brock  4:30 pm  6:00 pm decided which stones to use, determined levelness, helped manage the workers
 Jonathan S  4:30 pm  6:00 pm  leveled gravel, dug hole for stone, helped rotate stone

Work Session  4-1 5/19/12
At this early morning work session we are deciding which stone to place to curve the path.  Yesterday we finished the first platform which was a great accomplishment.  To judge which stone to use we made an impression on a piece of paper the compare it to the stones we had.   We moved a huge stone but it had the length we need.  We had to problem solve placing a long stone with not so long stone and used gravel and sham pieces to put it together to fit well.  Can’t wait for the back to back work session today.
 Name  Sign In  Sign Out  Job
 Brad Brock  7:30 am  10:15 am  Helped rotate stones,  helped move stones, supervised, measured to make sure measurements were correct,
 Austin Brock  7:30 am  10:15 am helped choose stones, deciding what step to add next, problem solved,
 Jonathan S  7:30 am  10 am  Helped moved stones, dig hole for step placed filter fabric, stone dust, rotated stone, pick axed to loosen dirt, offer great ideas for problem solving,level gravel

Work Session  4-1 5/19/12
The first afternoon work session has started.  I had a very large turn out which was great.  We moved stones from the pile and started
fitting them together too see which. We also dig out an place the first few steps.  Leveling off a little stone turned out to be harder then it seemed.
 Name  Sign In  Sign Out  Job
 Tim M  1:35 pm  5:00 pm  dug hole for stones, helped transport stones, helped level stones,
 Doug M  1:35 pm  5:00 pm  supervised transporting stones, leveling stones,
 Yasin A  1:40 pm  2:45 pm  helped transport and place stones
 Suveer  1:56 pm  2:30 pm
 Jackson G  1:45 pm  4:30 pm  helped dig hole for stones, transported dirt, measured and placed stones,
 Leo L  1:55 pm  4:11 pm  helped transport stones, move dirt,
 Shaun D  4:00 pm  5:00 pm  helped rotate stones

Work Session 4-2 5/19/12
After we made a lot of progress on our first work session a second crew showed up.   We worked and added a few more stones steps and place the next one for tomorrow’s work session.
 Name  Sign In  Sing Out  Job
 Stephen D  4:30Pm  7:00 Pm  supervised and moved stones,
 Shaun D  4:00 Pm  6:00 pm  helped transport stones and level stones,
 Paul D  4:30 Pm  7:00 Pm  helped place transport and place stones,
 Austin Brock  4:00 Pm  7:00 Pm  Decided were to place stones and move stones,
Work Session  5 5/20/12
Todays work session was more a leveling out and correcting some uneven stones. Though we did not make much progress forward I really like the way we leveled out the steps.  Looks like I am going to need a few more work sessions if I can only have 1 1/2 steps done per work session.  I am a little less then halfway done the weekend work sessions turned out to be most successful.  Hopefully with my after-school work session I can have the project finished my next saturday.

 Name  Sign In  Sign Out  Job
 Doug M  1:28 pm  4:00 pm  Helped level stones, rotate stones, place stones, fit stones together, dig hole for stones,
 Brad B  1: pm  4 pm  helped rotate stone, place gravel,
 Austin B  1 pm  4 pm  helped fit stones together, decide jobs,
 Tim M  1:28 pm  4:00 PM  helped transport stones, dig hole, place gravel, place filter fabric,
 Sid S  1:00 pm  2:11 pm  helped place gravel
 Jon Z 2:10 pm  4:00 pm  helped dig hole, place gravel, place filiter fabric

Work Session 5/25/12

Today we made a lot of progress with two back to back work session.  It started slow but picked up as the evening went on.
I made the mistake of curving the whole for the stone to much so we had to take out some gravel and reposition it.  Then we took a tape measure and lined it up with were we wanted the end to be and marked that so we had a line to go by.  Then it started to rain I was very impressed how the rain did not seem to affect my crew at all they were so concentrated on the task at hand.  I was a also happy that we found some nice looking logs to redirect the flowing water actively on the slope.  It did get a bit slipper at times but we got one step accomplished and a good start on the next one.

 Name  Sign In  Sign Out  Job
 Charles C  1:45 pm  4:15 pm  helped shovel gravel, transport dirt,
 Tom Z  1:45 pm  2:40 pm  Helped dig out hole for the stone, position stones,
 Brad B  2:30 pm  3:50 pm  Help supervise stone placement
 Rob O 3 pm  4:15 pm  Helped dig hole and supervise stone movement, place gravel
 Jon P  2 pm  4 pm  Helped place filter fabric, dig hole, place gravel, place stone dust,
 Austin B  1:30 pm  7 pm  Helped decided placement of jobs and assign jobs
 Elian R  3:37 pm  4:40 pm  Helped move dirt, place gravel
 Adrian R  3:37 pm  4:40 pm  Helped supervise safety
 Uttam Ra  4:15 pm  7 pm  Helped dig hole, place stones, level stones, place gravel, place filter fabric, find erosion logs
  Mr. Ra  4:15 pm  7 pm

 Helped dig hole, place stones, level stones, place gravel, place filter fabric, rotate stones

Nick B  4:25 pm  6:15 pm  helped level stone, place stones, loosen dirt for hole, position stones,
 Akil Si  4:25 pm  5:10 pm  Helped place stones, stone dust
 Jack S  4:25 pm  5:30 pm  Helped rotate stones, fit the stones together, level stones,
 Mr. Si
Nicks FriendSherry M

Barb B

 4:25 pm
4:254:15 pm


 5:10 pm
6:15 pm6:30 pm

7 pm

 helped rotate stones
helped find erosion log, dig hole for stone, level stones fit them together.
helped supervise safetydelivered tools supplies, photo person, helped fit the puzzle together, transported people to cars,

Another great back to back work session today.  I was lucky enough not to get rain until the last stone for the session had been place.  I got a very good turnout even though there was the opening of the new pool for free.   We completed another step and another platform also we picked out the logs to redirect water and placed them as well as dug the ditch.  From a rough estimate of measuring I came out with about 9 feet left of my project and 3 steps.  I am happy the project is moving so smoothly and chocolate chip cliff bars and fruit smoothie are a hit.  I was concerned that the ditch would be a tripping hazard so I found some nice flat stones to place on top.  I also talked to Mr. Lennon and he said just leave the ditch the way it is and he will check it Monday.  I thought I had run out of gravel so I called Mr. O’Neil and he said they were closed for the holiday so I called Mr. C ( a scout dad) and he had a supply of gravel he let me know.  This was a great relief cause I was concerned I would not be able to move forward with my project.  I hope to have the project finished my tuesday I will hopefully have the staircase done by monday.  I look forward to more progress tomorrow.
 Name  Sign In  Sign Out  Job
 Austin Brock  12:00 pm  6:27 pm  helped instruct scouts, deliver gravel, assign jobs
 Barb Brock  12:00 pm  1:50 pm  delivered materials,provided fresh smoothies,delivered tools,photo person
 Frank F  1:05 pm  2:30 pm  helped rotate stones, level stones,
 Giancanlo F  1:05 pm  2:30 pm  helped dig hole for stone, loosen dirt,
 Steve R  1:00 pm  4:18 pm  helped level stones, rotates stones, place stones, place gravel, measure distance of slope, instruct scouts,
 Mike R  1:00 pm  4:18 pm  helped find logs for erosion, chop logs, chop roots, dig ditch for erosion, move stones, place gravel, loosen dirt,
 Nate R  1:00 pm  3:37 pm  helped rotate stones, place stones, create ditch for erosion
 Paul R  1:00 Pm  3:37 pm  helped place gravel, rotate stones, dig hole for stone, place stones
 Arthur B  1:25 pm  5:45 pm  placed gravel, dug hole for stone, placed stone dust, helped level stones,
 Yasin A  1:50 pm  4:05 pm  helped place stones, cut logs, find logs for erosion, loosen dirt for hole
 Imtiaz A  1:50 pm  4:05 pm  Photoperson, safety supervisor,
 P.      Su  3:00 pm  4:00 pm  helped rotate stones, place stones, level stones
 Brad Brock  1:40 pm  6:27 pm  helped supervise, place stones, level stones, puzzle together stones, dig hole for stones, place stones
 Winston P  1:00 pm  3:27 pm  helped place gravel, dig erosion ditch, loosen dirt for hole for stone,
 Nick B  4:38 pm  6:27 pm  helped place stones rotate stones, find stones to go over ditch,
 Mike M  5:45 pm  6:27 pm  helped dig hole for stone
 Gerard M  5:45 pm  6:27 pm  helped rotate stones


Today we accomplished about 1 and a half stairs.   We measured that it will take about 3 more rises till we get to the top.  Fitting the pieces together is now very hard because we only have odd shaped stones.  Mr. R suggested I add some mounds of dirt to stop the water from directly flowing over my steps.  Hopefully  we will have a larger turnout tomorrow. Who turned up the humidity? 
 Name  Sign In  Sign Out  Job
 Austin Brock  1:00 pm  4:15 pm  helped assign jobs, take pictures, decide placement of stones
 Brad Brock  2:00 pm  4:15 pm  helped move stones, rotate stones, level stones
 Mike R
Arthur B
 1:00 pm
1:20 pm
 4:15 pm
3:00 pm
 helped dig hole, chop root,move gravel.

helped dig hole, move gravel, loosen dirt

Steve R  1:00 pm  4:15 pm  helped move stones, rotate stones, decide placement of stones, provide tools, provide new techniques, offer good advice
Today was the first blazing day of summer.  We were able to level out the stones we fit together from last session and dig a hole for the next stone.  We measured it out again and we are 16″ from the top we decided that we can only fit 2 more steps in and possibly platform.  We fitted together the two steps needed for the next work session.   Mr T commented that I needed to removed the dirt in the front part of the start of the staircase because it was acting like a dam.  We came across a large root which was annoying and placed packed dirt around the directing logs for the stream waters.  We dug out the place in front of the ditch but ran out of time before we can place gravel which will be saved for next session.   It looks like one more hard day of work and I will be contacting the township for approval to pick up the flowers and mulch.
 Name  Sign In  Sign Out  Job
 Austin Brock  1:00 pm  4:20 pm  Helped assign jobs, place stones, pack dirt around erosion logs, take pictures
 Brad Brock  1:00 pm  4:20 pm  helped rotate stones, level stones, place stones
 Hamze N  1:20 pm  4:00 pm  helped dig hole for stones, loosen dirt for stones, place dirt around erosion logs
 Mr. N  1:20 pm  4:00 pm  helped supervise safety
 Francis T  1:30 pm  4:00 pm  Helped donate tools, offer advice for erosion placement, collected logs for erosion placement, helped rotate stones
 Mike T  1:30 pm  2:50 pm  helped loosen dirt for stones, shovel dirt out of hole for stone, place gravel, determine which stone to place next
 Zack N  1:20 pm  4:00 pm helped chop root, loosen dirt for stone, shovel dirt for hole of stone, place gravel,
 Mr. R  3:00 pm  4:20 pm  helped rotate stone, level stone, place stonedust
 Uttam R  3:00 pm  4:20 pm  helped cut root, dig out erosion place, place gravel, loosen dirt for hole,
 Marshall F.  3:30 pm  3:55 pm  Provided moral support,
I finished the staircase today.  It was a great high point.  We considered making a platform on the top but then decided against because we had such a nicely place top step.  So far the feedback has been positive.  Mr. L stopped by and said he will need to discuss it with others but to leave the water placement logs and hole at bottom of steps as is.  I can’t wait to plant to flowers tomorrow.
 Name  Sign In  Sign Out  Job
 Austin B  4:20 pm  5:50 pm  Assign jobs, decided placement of stones
 Jack S  4:20 pm  5:50 pm  Helped dig hole for stone place gravel, level stone
 Barb B  4:20 pm  5:50 pm  Delievered tools and supplies,
 Shaun D  4:40 pm  5:50 pm  Helped rotate stones, and place stones, add some artistic touch’s to the landscape
 Mrs. R  4:42 pm  5:50 pm  Supervised safety was camera person
 Elian R  4:42 pm  5:50 pm  Helped clear away brush, tamper, dig hole for stone, place gravel


Today I picked up the flowers and successfully delivered them to the site.  When I got there Mr. L and Mr. T had some comments on how to reposition the erosion barriers.  They also had an idea of a last step on the bottom.  I though today would be my last work session but I had so many final comments it will take some work to regrade the ground and fix the barriers.  I got the mulch delivered successfully.  So I will be holding a smaller session tomorrow to finish everything.

 Name  Sign In  Sign Out  Job
 Barb Brock  4:10 pm  6:00pm  safety
 Austin Brock  4:10 pm  6:00 pm  helped assign jobs
 Uttam R  4:00 pm  6:00 pm  helped level ground and place gravel in front of first step
 Mr. R  4:00 pm  6:00 pm  helped level ground


Today was the final work session I had a great turnout.   We were able to finish the drainage ditch and place the erosion logs as well as planting the flowers.  The feat of the day was transporting a very large rock from were the construction people left it to my site and then into place. We also regraded and after placing a the large stone and more gravel around it it so its a nice walkway up to the ditch.  It was disappointing having my project take this long but the added look is well worth it.

 Name  Sign In  Sign Out  Job
 Austin B  10 am  3 pm  helped assign jobs, decide placement of logs, move mulch, pick out stones, determine depth of hole
 Barb B  10 am  1pm  transport tools, assign jobs when Austin is busy,
 Arthur B  10 am  3 pm  helped dig hole for placing erosion logs, placed gravel,helped place logs, placed mulch, regraded slope,
 Winston  10 am  11:30 pm  helped regraded slope, dig hole for stones, trim roots,
 Alistar  10:20 am  2:35 pm  helped move stone,dig hole for stones in the waterway place, placed stones around the waterway, planted plants,
 Leo  10:42 am  2:35 pm  helped move stone, placed gravel on the ground around the stone,cut roots,
 Charles C  10:40 am  12:15 pm  helped dig out placement place for the log,
 Daniel G  11 am  12:15 pm  helped cut roots,choose logs, dig place for logs,
 Noah J  11:10 am  12:10 pm  helped dig out placement place for the log, collect gravel,
 Mr. Z  12:07 am  2:15 pm  helped dig out placement of logs, place logs,dig out placement for flowers, transport mulch, choose logs, regrade slope,
 Brad B  1:30 am  3 pm  helped regrade slope, final touch ups,

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