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What began as an early childhood memory for Chris Marsh eventually evolved into his Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project that launched the Trails Committee’s “Groton Trails” website — its first digital mapping system.

When Chris Marsh moved to Groton, he was in second grade. He remembers his father looking for hiking maps of the trails in Groton. When they contacted Town Hall for a list of parcels, there was not one available.

Fast forward to age 14, when Chris decided to make the Groton Trails his Eagle Scout project. It began two years ago, when Marsh met with the Trails Committee and presented his idea of using GPS tracking devices to map out some of the trails digitally. After Marsh attended several meetings, he and the Trails Committee decided on the scope of his Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project. After getting approval from the Trails Committee, Chris managed the heaps of paperwork that were required when he presented his project idea to various committees including his Boy Scout Troop 1 and the council.

In July of 2011, Chris held a fundraiser, a car wash, which brought in over $1,000. Chris talked to each person who came to have their car washed and explained his project and how it would benefit the Groton Trails. After the fundraiser, Chris purchased two GPS units and then throughout the summer, he mapped out four parcels. It took Chris a day or two each to map them. He then uploaded the GPS data and edited the map files. Chris even trained members of the Trails Committee on how to use the free mapping software that he identified.

On Dec. 6, 2011, Marsh was honored for his Eagle Scout Leadership Project at a ceremony hosted by the Groton Trails Committee at the Town Hall. By age 16, Chris had successfully launched the “Groton Trails” web page, allowing residents to easily view, download and print trail data. This includes information such as available parking areas, recreational uses, historical information, geologic, plant, wildlife and other helpful data of interest to hikers. The software allows users to layer the trails over terrain, street maps and satellite photos or topographic backgrounds.

The new maps with Marsh’s work are located at:

An example of one of the parcels Chris recorded for the committee can be viewed at:,-71.653914

At the ceremony, Marsh formally donated two Garmin GPS units and a check for $470.02, the excess funds he raised. Paul Funch, chairman, Groton Trails Committee, read a letter from the Town of Groton, which honored and thanked Chris for his major achievement. Also in attendance was former Chairman Joachim Preiss, whom Chris had initially contacted about his Eagle Scout project, as well as Trails Committee members Steve Legge, Wendy Good, Alan Taylor and John Wiesner. Chris’s dad, Dean Marsh, Scoutmaster John Dennis and Assistant Scoutmaster Steve Keaney stood proudly by his side.

“Chris’s Eagle Scout Project went well beyond his donation of equipment and funds,” said Paul Funch, Chairman, Groton Trails Committee. “Chris motivated the Committee to increase its own GPS mapping of trails throughout Groton, and we will eventually be able to cover all trails in Groton that are open to the public. Due to the Groton Trails web page with easy mapping capabilities that Chris created, he officially launched the Trails Committee into the digital age.”

The Groton Trails Committee works to provide an easy-to-use trail system for residents to enjoy the vast open spaces and rich conservation land in Groton, which includes over 100 trails spanning 100 miles. The Committee is comprised of a nine-member, all-volunteer board and has been in existence for 15 years.

For more information, contact Paul Funch or Joachim Preiss at

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