Cutting away tree branches with chain saws, picking up old beer cans and clearing off trails with rakes, members of two local Rotary Clubs, Rutland City and Rutland South, spent Saturday morning at Beaver Pond in Proctor, assisting with local efforts to restore the site to active use.
For about a year, volunteers have been working around Beaver Pond, clearing away the vegetation that blocks the view of the pond from the roads and collecting the trash and debris that built up after years of neglect. About 20 local Rotarians joined that effort on Saturday.
Brian Perkins, a Proctor resident and member of the Rutland City Rotary, said he called Proctor Town Manager Stan Wilbur and suggested Rotary members could paint Proctor fire hydrants.
“He said, ‘Well, I got another project that you could help out with and that’s Beaver Pond.’ So he gave me direction to the Beaver Pond Committee and we invited the South club,” he said.
April Kuhl, president of the Rutland South Rotary, described the collaboration as “different clubs, but we do the same thing: help out the community with volunteer work.”
While Perkins said the two clubs had collaborated on many projects in the past, Saturday was the first time either local Rotary Club volunteered at Beaver Pond.
Saturday’s tasks, with a goal of “beautification and improvements,” included using chain saws to take down some of the larger trees and using loppers to clear branches and brush, Perkins said.
“We went to make the lake more accessible to fishing and recreation activities. Primarily, they’re going to do a fishing derby and they need to have more access to the pond,” he said.
Perkins and Kuhl said they expected their volunteers to put in four to five hours on Saturday.
Getting a chance to work “hands-on” for community projects like the Beaver Pond improvements is one of the most rewarding parts of being a Rotarian, Perkins said.
“To us, that’s huge, getting our hands dirty,” Kuhl added. “Being rewarded by what you actually see once it’s done.”
Cary Thorp, of Mendon, is a recent member of the Rutland South Rotary. She said she enjoyed the tasks she was doing on Saturday, although she acknowledged it was “hard work.”
“I wanted to be outside. I love the outdoors. Sounded like the right fit for me,” she said.
Thorp said she believed she could contribute well to what was needed at Beaver Pond because she has more expendable time to donate than funds. She said she also foresaw another benefit.
“Maybe I can check out this pond because I haven’t really checked it out. I drove by it once, but I’ve never been here to explore it, so I’d like to do that too,” she said.
Ray Beyette, chairman of the Beaver Pond committee for the town of Proctor, said he believes progress on the site has been “going slow, but it’s going.” Beyette, who will turn 90 next month, pointed out that most of the folks who have been working on the project are volunteers. While he’s retired, he understands many who are helping out have limited time.
“The way the weather’s been with a lot of rain, we’re behind in doing what we planned. But we’ll catch up by fall,” he said.
There are now five tables and three grills on the site, and Beyette said he’s hoping for a donation of a few more grills to support his vision that the pond would be the site of a picnic area.
According to Beyette, volunteers were expected to start on a platform that would extend about 16 to 18 feet into the water. The structure would be for people who want to look out over the pond or to have a site from which to do some fishing, Beyette said.