A neglected trail to a pond behind Louisburg College has become a place of respite for students and employees, a spot to cast a fishing line, eat a sandwich or take a walk.
For the past year, the college’s facilities department has rebuilt four collapsed bridges, installed picnic tables, built a fire pit and treated the pond with algaecide. With help from volunteers and the cross-country team, college workers have removed debris, cleared trails and made a 1/3-mile path around the pond.
The area used to be popular among students. For decades, though the land was privately owned and visitors were trespassing, students carved messages, hearts and initials in the bark of American beech trees. One alumnus recalled ice skating on the pond. But in the past 15 years, the woods became overgrown. People used the land as a dumping ground.
The improvement project is what Nathan Biegenzahn, associate vice president of facilities, calls low-cost, high impact. Last week, he organized a picnic lunch to open the trail officially.
There’s a swinging bench. Places to sit around the pond. It’s a peaceful get-away from the office a few hundred yards away. Eventually, the pond will have a white sand beach on one end, and maybe a fishing pier and a waterfall near the other. “The project will never stop,” Biegenzahn said.