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Scout plaques annoy La Cañada Flintridge trail users

Recognition for completed projects should be in central location, some say.

June 19, 2013|By Tiffany Kelly, tiffany.kelly@latimes.com
  • A Boy Scout Eagle Scout marker at a trailhead of the Flint Canyon Trail at Commonwealth Avenue and Berkshire Avenue in La Cañada Flintridge on Tuesday, June 18, 2013. The markers note the completion of a trail related project that a Boy Scout did to become an Eagle Scout and the city's Parks and Recreation Commission has recommended to leave them in place. Trail advocates want to see them removed, but Scout leaders want them to remain.
A Boy Scout Eagle Scout marker at a trailhead of the Flint… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

After they renovated sections of a trail in La Cañada Flintridge, two local Eagle Scouts were recognized last year with personal plaques displayed near their completed projects. But trail advocates weren't pleased with the location of the monuments: on the edge of the trail, where residents run and ride bicycles or horses.

Randy Strapazon, a former member of the La Cañada Flintridge Trails Council, told city council members earlier this month that she believes personal recognition signs or plaques should not be allowed on natural open spaces.

"As a longtime trail user, I'm both outraged and saddened by this development," Strapazon said. "Acknowledging the work of volunteers is a long-standing tradition in our community. Installing permanent monuments on our trails is not."

City officials and the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department plan to work together to create a policy for future personal recognition requests along the trails. For now, they will leave the existing plaques in place. Officials estimate there are a total of seven plaques on display for trail-related projects.

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Two of the plaques, which each list the Scout's name and his troop, were placed into the ground just outside the Commonwealth Avenue entrance to the Flint Canyon Trail in 2012, but were recently relocated to an area just off the trail by a Los Angeles County trail crew.

Ralph Beltran, trail supervisor at the county parks department, said the plaques were moved to prevent people from tripping on them.

Personal recognition plaques are not exclusive to La Cañada, he said. "We have other plaques throughout our county trail system to recognize individuals."

The county department will review the issue internally and work with the city to create a solution, he said. "Until we come up with a policy, the plaques are going to stay where they are. It's time to set a standard for everything."

Jeff Olson, chair of the city's Parks and Recreation Commission, said officials want to create a centralized location for future recognition plaques. That could be Memorial Park, City Hall, or another public area.

The commission appreciates what the Scouts have completed and didn't think it would be fair to remove the plaques, said Olson. But without a set policy, they are concerned that allowing recognition plaques for any individual or organization — not just the Boy Scouts — in the future might open up a can of issues.

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