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Jonathan Ford stands on the bridge walkway in Pleasant Hill that he designed and completed to the Adshead Wilderness Trail for his Eagle Scout Badge this summer.

Miss Alice Adshead, RN created a “wilderness trail” through the woods just down the hill from Uplands Sanatorium, the first hospital in Cumberland County once located on Main St. in Pleasant Hill. 

Miss Adshead joined Dr. May Cravath Wharton and Elizabeth Fletcher in November 1921 in the first medical facility, Sannex (often spelled Sanex) before the sanatorium was built in 1922. The trail behind the hospital led downhill to Lake Laura and was bordered by ferns and wildflowers. In 1934, Marvin Moore built a handsome stone arch over the entrance to the trail and stone steps partway down the hill. Miss Adshead created this trail partly so she and Dr. May could walk from their Yonside home up to Van Dyke. 

There is a new bridge making it easier to enter from Yonside Dr., thanks to Dan Rainer and George Andrews of Uplands Village. With the support of a lot of folks, the Adshead Trail stairs have been renewed and improved with a handrail added. That makes it easier to get to the trail and also to such points of Pleasant Hill history as the amphitheater. Jim Pleso made trail signs, and Tom Mitchell stained and painted them to help identify trailheads or connectors.

Jonathan Ford built a 75-foot bridge walkway that connects Evergreen Place in Pleasant Hill to the Adshead Wilderness Trail. Ford chose to build this span as his Eagle Scout project. 

With a spaghetti dinner/Chinese auction fundraiser at the Pleasant Hill Community House, Troop 170 Scouts raised close to $2,000 to purchase the necessary building supplies. The end result is a beautifully constructed bridge 75 feet long. 

With the help of family, friends and other Boy Scouts, the construction took about a week. Troop 170 leaders Mike Cooper and Ron Miller were instrumental in planning and building the walkway. The Uplands Village Trail Committee provided a blueprint for a 20-30 footbridge, which Jonathan modified to fit the site. 

They used pressure-treated wood, fabricated a concrete base for the ramp and used an auger to sink some of the posts. The bridge walkway was constructed in such a way that if necessary, parts could be replaced. 

So frugal was he in purchasing material that not all of the money was used. He plans on donating the extra for the next Scout project.

Over the years, several members of Pleasant Hill Boy Scout Troop 170 have chosen building and improvement projects of great benefit to the Uplands Village and others living in Pleasant Hill. The picnic pavilion behind the Aquatic Center is just one of them. 

Jody Marshall is another Scout currently working on his Eagle Scout project by adding four benches on Lake Alice. Troop 170 members maintain the trail around Lake Alice, removing fallen branches, keeping the weeds in check, raking leaves in the fall and generally keeping eyes on it. Recently, volunteers from Friends of the Trails joined with Uplands volunteers to lay stones to improve a portion of the Lake Alice Trail.

A recent project on the Uplands Village trails is the installing of E-911 safety markers. These have been installed at a number of trails in Cumberland County, and they’re part of making Pleasant Hill’s trails safer. 

Each marker is placed with GPS coordinates. Cumberland County 911 operators will have those coordinates. If someone on the trail needs emergency help, all the person needs to do is tell 911, “I’m near marker 400,” and the operator will know exactly where to send help. 

Helpers don’t need to know the trail or even Pleasant Hill because they’ll be using the GPS coordinates. Like the projects previously described the Uplands Trail Committee is being helped in this by a Boy Scout for his Eagle Project.

The Uplands Trail Program began in the spring of 2018 with the creation of a master trail plan. An experienced certified trail builder was hired to create an initial trail plan. The committee worked with that plan and the environmental college intern, Dana Pontius, to fine-tune it to the final master trail plan. 

The master trail plan was presented to the Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability Committee, who included what they needed in the campus master plan presented to the Uplands Village Board in October 2018. The Village Trail Committee divided the items needing attention from the master trail plan into two categories:

First — Improving the existing four trails: Adshead Wilderness Trail, Frey Branch Trail, Lake Alice Trail and Munson Hill Trail.

Second — Future Development: This includes decision making on some of the existing trails, consideration to open the two trails still closed from the ice storm (Munson Woods trail and Hilltop trail), adding handicapped-accessible trails, etc. 

The Trail Committee completed a trail manual in spring of 2019 as well as the positions such as observers, maintainers and specialty crew members. Cheryl Heckler, manager of Uplands Village Services, is the coordinator of trail activities. The committee welcomes volunteers and donations. Contact Cheryl at 931-277-3519 or if you would like to provide either.

This week in Pleasant Hill:

Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m, and Sundays, 2-5 p.m. — Pioneer Hall Museum is open for visits until the end of October. If you have visitors at any other time, feel free to call Sharon at 931-277-5226 or Chris at 931-277-3742. They will try to arrange a special tour. Visit

Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2 p.m. — “The Age of Stupid,” a documentary about climate change in Room 4 of Pleasant Hill Community Church, United Church of Christ, on Main St. and Church Dr. 

Wednesdays, 6 p.m. — Bible study and prayer at Pleasant Hill Baptist Mission, 39 Browntown Rd. near Main St.

Thursday, Sept. 5, 7 p.m. — Community bridge in the Fletcher House dining room. All welcome. Call 931-277-5005.

Friday, Sept. 6 — Hike 2-mile Overlook Trail, Fairfield Glade. Meet at 9:15 a.m. in the Aquatic Center parking lot on West Lake Rd. to carpool to the trailhead.

Tuesday, Sept. 10, noon — Pleasant Hill emergency siren test.

Tuesday, Sept 10, 6 p.m. — Pleasant Hill Town Council meeting at Town Hall, 351 E. Main St. Call 931-277-3813.

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