Scout fixes up old fishing dock at DeVoe


SPOTSWOOD – With overgrown bushes and boards that desperately needed replacing, the old fishing dock at DeVoe Lake has long been in need of revitalization.

Eagle Scout-to-be Travis Catania made it his mission to do just that.

The 17-year-old is finishing up his community service project to completely refurbish the dock. Such projects are a requirement for a Boy Scout to gain the Eagle rank.

Travis, now a Life Scout and member of Troop 97, based in Sayreville, got the idea to bring the dock back to life, from Spotswood Council President Curtis Stollen.

“We went and checked it out, and I agreed with him and said I’d like to rip it up and make it new, and make it something people could use for a long time,” Travis said.

A student at St. Joseph’s High School in Metuchen, Travis took the boards out piece by piece, and nailed down new boards.

“We had to take care of some structural issues and put new posts in the water to hold the railings,” Travis noted.

He received help with the project from fellow troop members and friends. Travis’ father, Charley, said a number of local businesses helped out by donating materials or giving big discounts on them.

Travis also ripped out the old bushes and cleaned up the landscaping. He noted that previously the bushes and trees obscured the dock from passersby on the street.

“We began ripping out old bushes and a dead tree that blocked the dock from the street,” he said. “People would pass by and not even know [the dock] was there.”

Travis also cleaned up the area around the dock to improve the overall aesthetics.

The dock was used years ago, but had since been forgotten and neglected, according to Travis.

“It was in pretty bad shape when we found it,” he said.

But after several weeks of work, and untold man hours, the dock is almost ready to be what it once was.

“We need to finish with putting railings into the new posts,” he said last week.

Another remaining chore involved going to a nursery to see if it will donate some new bushes to replace the ones pulled out. Those bushes will be small, however, so they don’t obscure the dock from the street.

The dock was not yet usable last week, with some new boards still to be hammered down.

The makeover, which began in late July, has been as thorough as the Scouts could make it, and the results are there for all to enjoy.

“People can go fishing when we’re done, and sit down and enjoy the view of the lake,” he said.