Recently, humans have become a nuisance to the Bald Eagles that nest in Gulf State Park.
The birds need space to protect their eaglets and habitats. People want a closer look at their national bird.
Bennett Reetz is using his Eagle Scout project to help both the animals and the humans.
Reetz, 15, a member of Boy Scout Troop 49 in Gulf Shores, is a freshman at Gulf Shores High School. He has been a scout since first grade when he enrolled in the Cub Scout program.
To earn the Boy Scout rank of Eagle, he is building an observation deck near the eagles’ nests in Gulf State Park. The platform extends 24 feet from Eagle Loop Trail in the park.
The park donated much of the lumber for the project and individual donors gave money to purchase hardware and treated 6 x 6 timbers. Reetz and members of his troop built the 12 foot by 12 foot deck and ramp in January.
A Go Fund Me account helped Reetz raise nearly $2,000 to install a non-coin operated spotting scope. With this addition visitors on the trail can catch a close-up look at the eagles as they settle into their nests and raises their eaglets.
“This will help protect the eagles and give people a set location to view them from, I just thought it was a good project over all,” Reetz said. “People try to get closer to see them and it’s a problem because they’re federally protected. I know this will help a lot of people who just want to get a good look.”
But, Reetz knows not everyone will benefit. The scope will be hard for small children to use and impossible for anyone to access in a wheelchair.
To make the view of the eagles accessible to everyone he is trying to raise an additional $2,500 to purchase a shorter, handicap accessible scope.
Raising the funds has been the toughest part of the project, he said.
“We worked for two days and have the construction completed,” he said. “Overall it’s gone very smooth.”
Reetz has set up a Go Fund Me page to collect donations for the scopes. If you would like to donate to Reetz’s project, visit https://www.gofundme.com/eagle-scout-project-eagle-platform