With help from a band of volunteers, three Boy Scouts from Troop 37 in Los Altos – Mihir Srivastava, Kael Fitzpatrick and Sangeet Satpathy – renewed and re-created the Danny Hanavan Nature Trail in Castle Rock State Park on Earth Day, April 27, an ecological trail made in honor of Scout Danny Hanavan.
The team replaced rotting wood posts and markers and remade the trail, which educates visitors on the ecological communities, benefits and species in Castle Rock State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Hanavan, a Los Altos resident, joined Troop 39 in 1972. He loved the outdoors and participated in a host of sports. The summer after joining the troop, he attended a camp where he earned his First Class Scout rank. Shortly after returning from camp, he became ill and died of a cerebral hemorrhage at age 12. His friends and fellow Scouts from Troop 39 built the trail in his memory, with help from biologists at San Jose State University and Sempervirens Fund, California’s oldest land trust and the only organization dedicated exclusively to protecting redwood forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Over the past 40 years, the nature trail deteriorated, with post markers rotting, nature communities moving and the nature around it changing. The Portola and Castle Rock Foundation contacted the Hanavan family for permission to refurbish the trail. The Hanavans accepted the offer, and Danny’s father donated money to fund the trail’s rehabilitation in 2018. Park interpreters and rangers helped plan a modified nature trail, and the foundation arranged a volunteer day on Earth Day, with Troop 37 performing much of the work digging holes and placing the new numbered posts.
Scouts dug 30-inch-deep post holes, and with help from other volunteers, finished all 18 posts marking various stations.