The Bureau of Land Management presented its prestigious Making a Difference National Volunteer Awards recently. Only seven of these awards were handed out this year and Price resident, Josh Barlow was the one of the recipients.
Barlow decided to complete an Eagle Scout project. When he began researching BLM land improvement needs, he contacted the Price field office for ideas. When the youth found out that the Gordon Creek Off-Highway Vehicle Trail near his home was in need of repair, Barlow jumped right in to help.
“This is the only designated 52-inch wide OHV trail in the county,” explained Barlow. “When I found out that it would be shut down if it wasn’t repaired, I knew I had to help.”
The Eagle Scout explained that he began the project by assessing the specific needs to repair the trail. Once Barlow concluded that several culverts would need to be replaced, he jumped into action.
“There was work being done in Nine Mile Canyon,” he explained. “That’s when I approached the workers there and asked if they would donate the used culverts they were replacing. The road department agreed and even helped install the culverts at the trail.”
Barlow also embarked the help and support of the local OHV club who donated their labor and skills to make the project a success. Besides fixing the culverts along the trail, Barlow along with his crew of volunteers built a fence in front of an historic cabin and installed signs along the trail.
“The OHV club has rode on the trail quite a bit already,” the Eagle Scout stated. “It’s still looking good.” The young man plans to keep tabs on the area to ensure the repairs stay up to par.
Already looking into the future, Barlow is excited to assist his younger brother with an Eagle Scout project however, he does have advice for anyone looking to make a difference through service. “Don’t bite off more than you can chew,” he warned. “As many people as helped with this project, we were alright with it or it would have been too much.”
Barlow personally contributed more than 56 hours to the project, with additional time devoted to project preparation and obtaining materials. Project volunteers performed 658 hours of labor with an estimated value of more than $15,000.
For his efforts, the local youth was honored with the Making A Difference Award and recognized as one of the BLM’s most exceptional volunteers. The award was presented at a recognition event via a live video conference hosted at the BLM headquarters in Washington, D.C. The event included remarks from Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior; Neil Kornze, Principal Deputy Director of the BLM; and Carl Rountree, Assistant Director for the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System and Community Partnerships.
Associate State Director, Jenna Whitlock, praised the teen for his outstanding work, commitment, and his over-achieving accomplishments. “He’s an extraordinary young man. It was an honor for me to recognize Josh for this prestigious national award,” explained Whitlock.
In fiscal year 2012, more than 30,000 volunteers contributed more than 1.1 million hours of their time in assisting the BLM. That is equivalent to 637 work years. The value of volunteer contributions as compared to project-related dollars expended by the BLM was 26 to 1.