It's taken more than 160 hours of his own time, and countless hours of help from volunteers, but Christopher Clarke, Indian Falls Boy Scout Troop 6066, has completed the key component of his Eagle Scout project -- a birder blind at the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge that is handicapped accessible.
After getting assistance from an engineer to design the structure and help from fellow Boy Scouts and Boy Scout leaders during the construction of the modular blind, Chris supervised installation of the parts Sunday afternoon.
"A lot of people from all over come here, so this is something that is pretty much for everybody," Chris said when asked why he decided to tackle this project.
During waterfoul hunting season -- which opens Saturday -- only hunters with disabilities will be able to make reservations to use the blind, according to the park's assistant manager, Dawn Washington.
After the season ends Nov. 17, photographers -- both those with disabilities and those without -- will be able to reserve the blind.
Only birders with reservations will be allowed in the blind, Washington said, and visitors to the park who happen down Feeder Road are asked not to disturb anybody using the blind. A sign next to the entrance to the blind's walkway asks visitors to respect the solitude of people using the blind.
During the spring and summer, the gated entrance to the road is locked, but park officials will help people with reservations gain access to that portion of the park.
The blind is at the end of a long dock that was installed by Jonathan Hoste and members of Troop 40 from Wrights Corners. The dock was paid for with federal grant money.
Chris, who enjoys hunting and fishing and has taken a few scouting hikes in the park, said when he heard park officials wanted to get a handicapped accessible blind installed at the end of the dock, he decided he would like to help the park with the project.
"It all came along pretty smoothly," Chris said. "We only had a couple of minor changes."
To make reservations to use the blind, call (585) 948-5445.