It’s just a bench but for many people it’s much more.

Placed near the end of the Jasper County Eagle Trail parallel to the Embarrass River, the bench can be a place for taking in the scenery, ranging from wildflowers bowing to the wind or birds flying over the floodplain. If you’re lucky you might catch a hawk or an Eagle gliding on air currents.

Those moments make all that walking worthwhile.

It can also be a place of rest after hiking the trail from the old metal bridge with its wooden deck over the river and down the concrete walking path. Best of all, the bench is in a shady spot thanks to a stand of trees.

Better yet, the bench is a fine example of conservation. It is made from recycled plastic. No woodpeckers or squirrels will be pecking or gnawing on this bench. And the bench will stand up to Mother Nature as well.

Last week, a group of people involved in producing the bench gathered for a photograph. They were taking pride in the effort that involved different groups in this community project to make the trail network more user friendly.

The group present for the gathering were Newton city workers Josh Ochs and Brad Benefiel, as well as Mayor Mark Bolander and council member Marlene Harris; Betty Hoffeditz, Louise Lybarger, Diana Scott, all trail supporters, and Tiffany and Alex Keller, representing the young people gathering funds by collecting bottle caps. Not present that day were Newton City Council member Rob Reisner and city worker Brent Benefiel, both vital supporters of the project.

The bench project involved the Embarras River Tourism Council, Limitless Kids and St. Thomas Grade School students and the city of Newton. Green Tree of Evansville, Indiana, manufactured the bench. The funds paid for to benches for the trails.

Adding the bench is evidence of how the trail network is gaining community support in different ways. Best of all, it is a recreational feature the public or visitors to Newton can enjoy day after day.