BERKELEY – If you’re kayaking on Cedar Creek, and you need to call for help, how can you tell the police where you are?
That was the problem tackled by Griffin Petry as part of his Eagle Scout project. He and Troop 9503 installed signs throughout the creek’s length telling travelers where they are. If a kayaker suffers a medical emergency, they can tell police what the last marker they remember was. Each marker has a number and a color. First responders in the area were provided a map of where the markers are so that they can find people on the river.
Initially, another scout had attempted this project years ago when Griffin was just a Cub Scout. It was hard to get through all the approvals and it had to be abandoned. Years later, Griffin took it on. He said going through the State Department of Environmental Protection was probably the most complicated part.
He said he spoke with local police and government officials to help smooth the process. Griffin said he couldn’t get the sign posts he wanted at first because of the tariffs with China. So, the Berkeley municipal sign shop provided materials. Jersey Rents donated sign post drivers. Forked River Outdoor Group (the kayak rental place on Double Trouble Road) let them use their kayaks and canoes.
The one difficult part was the timing. The troops had to go out in November and December because that’s when the paperwork from the state came in. So, it was a colder trip than they would have liked. However, it also meant there was no traffic on the creek because no one else wanted to be out in that cold.
Another fallback was that when they installed the markers in winter, they were placed where the troops thought they’d be the most visible. In spring, the plants grew back and obscured some of their work. So, that was another problem to solve.
The markers are already helping people, he said. They received a call from a police officer that had to help a group of Girl Scouts on the river and they had remembered the signs. On Facebook, they learned of a family who made a game of trying to spot the signs as they go down the river.