BRISTOL BOROUGH >> July 27 was the perfect day for Andrew Stillman to lead a flotilla of canoes and kayaks across the Delaware River from Burlington City to Burlington Island. The sun was shining, the water’s surface smooth as glass, and the group of 23 scouts and other volunteers were ready to put plenty of muscle into Andrew’s Eagle Scout Project.
After months of preparation, the project was the culmination of five months of meetings with Burlington officials, council members and the Board of Island Managers. The group set out using an island map to install numbered signs to serve as a guide to emergency workers and visitors.
Emergency workers in both Burlington and Bristol respond to nearly 10 calls for help from island visitors every year. But valuable time can be lost while searching the 400-acre island — much of it choked with undergrowth. Andrew was determined to do something about it.
On that Sunday, Andrew, his cousin Tara Girton, scouts, leaders, and other volunteers spent six hours assembling numbered signs — 52 in all — at the entrance to the 13 trails mapped out by Burlington. Don Reinhart, one of the island managers, stayed a step ahead of the work, mowing down the scrub that choked the trails. Reinhart is one of many activists determined to keep the island as green space. Other groups have occasionally drafted plans to develop the island with such activities as light shows, a theater and boat-building school.
Such plans spurred a storm of protests from environmentalists on both sides of the river.
“We are determined to keep the island green. We won’t take no for an answer,” said Reinhart, whose future plans include repairing a dilapidated garage on the island to house an emergency vehicle.
Preservation plans fit Andrew’s vision for the island.
“I fell in love with the island when we were there to do a…