The Roanoker - September/October 2014 - R16
TRAILS AND TRAINS
BY JESSICA WRIGHT
David Foster is not one to sit in a recliner watching
TV all day. His retirement days are filled with activities
that keep him outdoors, involved in the community or
traveling to fun places.
"Staying active keeps you alive and well," he says.
"Making the most of retirement has a lot to do with
maintaining good health."
In the summer, Foster heads to Pulaski County's
Boy Scout camp to volunteer. Now in his 10th year
of helping out, Foster has held several duties at camp
- office work, dining hall director, and his favorite,
A Boy Scout in his younger years, Foster was excited
to have the opportunity to work at the camp, which
has about 75 miles of trails. Each year, he begins his
summer with prepping the trails for use by the Scouts.
"It's quite a job to get the trails open," he says.
"Trees have fallen because of wind, ice or snow," and
it's Foster's job to clear the way.
When Scouts need to do a conservation project to
earn a badge, he often supervises and determines what
tasks will help them reach their goal. Some trails at the
camp - previously used by industries - are not up to
standard, so Foster works on improvements like making them less steep, rerouting them around water or
adding new connections to "make the trails functional
Back at home, Foster gathers with a trail construction crew on Wednesdays to help sustain many Roanoke trails.
"I enjoy the camaraderie and the exercise," he says.
"And it's fulfilling to do something that will leave a
Prior to retirement, Foster worked for Norfolk
Southern; he loved trains as a kid, so the railroad
Being outdoors - especially to work on conserving
local trails - is David Foster's favorite activity.
industry was the perfect fit. Originally from Connecticut, Foster was happy to put his roots in Roanoke
thanks to the quasi-rural atmosphere and numerous
activities available (outdoor recreation, cultural experiences, etc.).
His interest in trains continued after retirement. He
and his son are working to restore an observation car
with hopes to operate it in Roanoke.
Foster enjoys traveling by train, too. Now that he
and wife Joyce are both retired, they have the flexibility
to travel more frequently.
"We both don't like flying anymore, so we build our
trips around train travel," he says. The two have traveled across Canada and to Chicago and New Orleans.