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Quaker Valley sophomore's project clears a path in Sewickley Hills Park

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 10:28 p.m.
Alex Carlin clears trees and brush along the walking trail he worked on in Sewickley Hills Borough Park for his school project this year. Submitted
Quaker Valley High School sophomore Alex Carlin drives a tractor along the trail he worked on in Sewickley Hills Borough Park for his class project. Submitted

Despite suffering severe headaches from a concussion he suffered in 2011 during summer practices for the Quaker Valley High School football team, Alexander Carlin still had to complete his 10th-grade project.

Being an avid outdoorsman, he said he wanted to work in Sewickley Hills Borough Park but needed to pick something he would enjoy even though his head was hurting so much.

“I needed something that I could do at my own pace and be able to take breaks when my headache became too severe,” said Carlin, son of Chris and Jennifer Carlin of Sewickley Hills.

He choose to clear a one mile walking trail loop at the park located next to the Sewickley Hills Borough building on Magee Road.

“I knew the trail needed a lot of work. It was very hard to follow and overgrown,” he said. “It's a great trail. I wanted people to be able to walk the trail without getting lost and wondering where they were. We have a small borough, but it has a lot to offer. The trail is a very nice piece of those offerings, and I am happy to do my small part.”

Carlin, whose mentor for his project is Quaker Valley teacher Mark Williams, has cleared and marked the trail. He soon will make a wooden sign to also mark the trail and hang about 10 bird boxes made by Cub Scout Troop 243 in Sewickley a few years ago for borough use.

“I also hope to make a map of the trail using GPS tools and Google maps. I spend a lot of time working in the woods, so I had the tools and knowledge to do the job,” he said.

Parts of the trail just needed to be cleared, but other parts needed to be created, Carlin said.

“I first walked and marked the trail with marking paint then went back with a chainsaw to open the trail. My dad helped with this part.”

He and his grandfather, Lee Fields of Sewickley Hills, used a brush hog and tractor to clear brush to make the trail wider.

It took five full days to mark and clear the trail, and Carlin said he still needs a few more days to complete his plans.

Diana Steele, borough secretary, said council thanked Carlin and his family at a public meeting.

“He is wonderful young man, and he even gave me a ride on one of those ‘gators.' He is so proud of the work he and his family did,” she said.

Although in the past, Carlin said he didn't frequent the park, he intends to do so now that the trail is open and walkable.

Carlin, who said he is suffering from his second concussion, hopes to someday rejoin the football team.

“My headaches have been so severe that I am not able to be a part of any activities. One day, I'll be better and will have a lot of fun to make up.”

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or

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