Privy structures installed at Trail of Tears Forest


MAKANDA, Ill. – Trail of Tears State Forest is now home to two new privies thanks to the local Boy Scout, River Michael Doss. Doss attends Marion High School.

With the help of Boy Scout Troop 42 and volunteers, Doss built and installed two privy structures at Trail of Tears State Forest.

The project kicked off with an initial planning phase beginning in the spring of 2020 and unfortunately encountered several periods where the project had to be put on hold. According to an Illinois DNR spokesperson, the project encountered multiple slowdowns related to the pandemic. There were also some slowdowns in getting everything organized and approved by  Boy Scouts of America.

“This was not an easy task, given the scope of work. When presented to River at the first meeting,   River did not shy away from that first idea of replacing an entire double privy in favor of something easier and less rewarding on-site. He met each challenge as they were presented and, in the end, he and his team constructed something new and lasting.” said the IDNR representative from Trail of Tears State Park.

Work at the site officially began in June of 2021. The project is now completed. IDNR provided project materials  by utilizing IDNR  sustainability funds as part of an overall larger privy replacement project at Trail of Tears State Forest.

The new privies were installed in the youth/group camping area and provided a much-needed improvement to that area. This camping area is primarily used by Scouts and other youth/outdoor-related groups.

With completing this project, Doss attained Eagle Scout rank in the Boy Scouts of America. His project  provided need improvements to Trail of Tears State Forest facilities. This project benefits all visitors to Trail of Tears State Forest. It is a shining example of a public/private partnership that will benefit many.

Trail of Tears State Forest is located in western Union County, five miles northwest of Jonesboro and 20 miles south of Murphysboro. Trail of Tears State Forest, consisting of approximately 5000 acres, is a multiple-use site managed for timber, wildlife, ecosystem preservation, watershed protection, and recreation. Activities available to visitors at Trail of Tears State Forest include picnicking, hiking, equestrian trails, camping, hunting, and angling. Two large shelters in the main picnic area are excellent for reunions, weddings, and larger group gatherings. Two smaller rustic log shelters are available for small groups. Each picnic spot contains a table and grill, with privies and drinking water nearby. A ball diamond and smaller playing areas are also present. Other picnic sites exist along the forest’s gravel roads.

For a map of Trail of Tears State Forest, please click here.

Categories: — — Illinois – Gretchen Steele

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