Interpretive trail opens at Squaw Lakes Saturday

Squaw Lakes has a new interpretive trail and wildlife viewing platform thanks to the efforts of two Eagle Scouts and a Forest Service recreation worker with plenty of scout-friendly Applegate Valley projects in his back pocket.

South Medford High School seniors and long-time friends Garrett Gustafson and Lucas Asman-Prudell, both 18 and from Jacksonville, spent last summer creating the projects at the two lakes within the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest backwoods near Applegate Lake.

The pair will have their Eagle Scout ceremony at the new blind at noon Saturday.

Gustafson built the wildlife-viewing blind on the larger of the two Squaw Lakes last summer, garnering more than $1,000 in donations of cash and materials to do so.

The structure is 8-by-10 feet with a metal roof.

"It's to let people observe the wildlife around the lake without disturbing it," Gustafson says.

Asman-Prudell turned a mile-long trail into an interpretive walk, identifying a dozen different native trees and shrubs along the trail. He placed numbered posts along the trail, then built a place at the trailhead to hold fliers that list the names, scientific names and other information about those plants.

"The idea is to tell about the native wildlife around there," Asman-Prudell says. "My family likes to hike there and I wanted to give something back to it."

The projects came from a cadre of scout-friendly projects on the to-do list of John McKelligott, the long-time Forest Service technician at the Starr Ranger District.

Since the flood of 1997, McKelligott has been a resource for people interested in doing improvements at the lakes, which are off Forest Service Road No. 1075.

"I keep possible projects for the right sort of motivated Eagle Scouts and these guys were marvelous," McKelligott says. "The whole thing came together into a nice little project."

Gustafson and Asman-Prudell are both with Troop 7, based at the United Methodist Church in Medford.

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