Boy Scout Marco Constantino, 14, from Sterling Heights, is doing his Eagle Scout service project with the Clinton River Area Mountain Bike Association to improve nearby bike trails in the Dodge Park area.

Boy Scout Marco Constantino, 14, from Sterling Heights, is doing his Eagle Scout service project with the Clinton River Area Mountain Bike Association to improve nearby bike trails in the Dodge Park area.

Photo by Donna Agusti


Aspiring Eagle Scout hopes to make trails happy

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published May 11, 2018

STERLING HEIGHTS — Scouts and trails have a long history together, so it’s no surprise that a bicycle trail near Marco Constantino’s home crossed paths with his journey to become an Eagle Scout.

As a mountain biker for around 10 years, Constantino has long enjoyed using the trails along the Clinton River due to the variety of terrains. Now he wants to make them better and safer.

“I’ve been mountain biking a lot over the course of my life,” he said. “To me, it’s really close to home.”

Constantino, 14, from Sterling Heights, will soon get to work on completing his Eagle Scout service project for the Boy Scouts of America. He said he currently is a Boy Scout with the rank of Life Scout, and a service project is a prerequisite to earning the Eagle Scout title.

Constantino said he will make some trail fixes to the Clinton River Park Trail bike path with the help of the Clinton River Area Mountain Bike Association, or CRAMBA. He described what he plans to do to part of the trail.

“There is one section of the trail that has a lot of debris, and it’s very rugged, and it’s a high risk of injuries,” he said. “So we are doing about a 100-yard reroute around it.”

The other part of the project involves constructing a 112-foot-long bridge out of pressure-treated lumber that will cross a “little washout in the trail,” he said.

Constantino said he hopes to work on and complete the project May 19, though he said it’s possible it might take an extra day. He said he has met CRAMBA trail coordinator Aaron Burgess and assistant trail coordinator Phil Blake, and both have been helpful in planning out the project.

Burgess, a retired Sterling Heights police captain, described why he is grateful for Constantino’s help.

“We definitely had a need to put in a bridge over a low space that floods frequently,” he said. “There’s also an old farmer’s dump. That has a lot of wire and broken glass that sticks up. We’re going to build a sustainable trail.”

Burgess described the planned bridge as S-curved, with some safety curbs on the bridge banks.

He said CRAMBA’s mission is to work with landowners to open up access for mountain biking and recreational opportunities. He said the Clinton River Park Trail was the first city trail to be approved and built up within his chapter.

“As we continue to work with the city of Sterling Heights, we’re trying to make the trail user-friendly throughout the year, because it’s in a floodplain, which makes it difficult, oftentimes, to access the trail,” he said.

Burgess praised Constantino for his contribution toward raising money to fund the estimated $3,500 project cost. According to Burgess, funding sources include the Sterling Heights Community Foundation, the Sterling Heights Rotary Club and the local Back to the Beach racing organization.

“Marco has been absolutely fantastic to work with,” Burgess added. “I’ve come to have high expectations of all Eagle Scouts as they put their projects forward, but Marco has certainly raised up any expectations that we had.”

According to Constantino’s father, Mark, the trail improvements will be located near markers 13 and 14.

He added that his son is also involved with football, wrestling and track, while being on the honor roll, at Bemis Junior High School.

Marco is working quickly to earn the Eagle rank, his father explained.

“Marco has worked diligently for the past three years to reach this point,” he said in an email. “The average age for boys to complete the rank of Eagle is 17.2 years old. He has completed 13 ‘Eagle required’ and eight ‘elective’ merit badges. He has also completed his rank advancements.”

Marco Constantino said he looks forward to seeing people enjoy his contribution to the community. His mother, Christa, described the wooded and marshy area that her son’s project will affect.

“It’s right in his backyard,” she said. “He’s going to be using it too.”

Find out more about the Clinton River Area Mountain Bike Association by visiting www.cramba.org.