Scout’s Eagle Project Encourages Others to Enjoy the Outdoors

Scout Trenton Z. supervises the construction of his Eagle project. (Photo credit: Aurora Zainhofsky)
Scout Trenton Z. supervises the construction of his Eagle project. (Photo credit: The Bismarck Tribune/ Aurora Zainhofsky)

The Cross Ranch State Park in North Dakota is known to be a beautiful camping and hiking area and Eagle Scout candidate Trenton Z., 14,  of the Northern Lights Council is making it easier for people to enjoy the park’s outdoor adventures.

When the time came for Trenton to choose his Eagle project, he knew he wanted to share his passion for the great outdoors and he also knew he wanted to build something for others to enjoy.

With help from volunteers and donated material, the Scout was able to build an Adirondack shelter at Cross Ranch State Park where he had camped many times throughout his years as a Scout.

The project idea was the brain child of Mark Zimmerman, director of North Dakota Parks and Recreation, who had met Trenton through Scouting.

Trenton already had some building experience under his belt before the start of the project. The Scout found that he enjoyed building when he and his father constructed a deck.

“I thought: Why not step it up a notch?” he told the Bismarck Tribune.

The Scout approached the construction project with a cheerful heart and before he knew it, he and his volunteers had created a place for hikers and campers to take refuge without having to set up a tent. The project was so well organized, it took a mere two weeks to complete the shelter.

Trenton’s father, Blaine Z., used his professional carpentry expertise to ensure the shelter followed proper safety codes and was a suitable place for people to stay. Although he had his father’s help, Trenton was the master project manager, and according to Blaine, was “involved in every phase.”

Even though the Scout is somewhat young to be an Eagle Scout candidate, he has a special inspiration driving him to achieve Scouting’s highest rank. Trenton’s great-grandfather, Manley Hillesland, 87, was also involved in Scouting and Trenton wants his great-grandfather to see him achieve the rank.

Blaine, also an Eagle Scout, told the Bismarck Tribune, “That’s been [Trenton’s] drive ever since he started scouting,”

Trenton and the finished product of his Eagle project: an Adirondack shelter for others to enjoy. (Photo credit: Aurora Zainhofsky)
Trenton and the finished product of his Eagle project: an Adirondack shelter for others to enjoy. (Photo credit: The Bismarck Tribune/ Aurora Zainhofsky)

Trenton’s Scouting journey doesn’t stop at Eagle, however. After he attains the Eagle rank, Trenton says he wants to serve in a leadership position so he can help other Scouts.

Zimmerman said many of the state parks’ improvements are made by youth groups, including Boy Scouts.

“There’re some projects we wouldn’t do if it weren’t for Scouts or other youth groups,” he told the Bismarck Tribune.

These projects are rewarding for everyone involved. Not only do the parks benefit from youths’ service, but according to Zimmerman, project volunteers have also been known to return to the parks to enjoy their handiwork during outdoor activities.

Zimmerman explained, “It’s a partnership for all of us.”

You can learn more about Trenton’s shelter by reading the full story by the Bismarck Tribune.

To learn more about the positive impact that Scouting can have on young people like Trenton, be sure to check out this article on the recent Tufts study, and watch this video:



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Rochelle Randles is a communications specialist at the Boy Scouts of America. She enjoys sharing incredible adventure stories within the Scouting community and beyond. If you have story ideas or questions, reach out to us at