Simplified: One of the highest points in Sioux Falls just got a new vantage point thanks to the work of a local teen pursuing his Eagle Scout. Here's how Ian Klinski brought a viewfinder to the top of Great Bear Recreation Park.

Why it matters

  • Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts, and one of the requirements to earn this title is to complete a project that benefits the community.
  • Klinski, an incoming Roosevelt High School senior, has been involved in the scouts since first grade.
  • It took a couple years of fundraising, planning and hard work, and earlier this month, Klinski saw his final scout project come together when the viewfinder was installed. He said the project helped him become a better leader.
"It has helped me to step up on things like school or everyday life," Klinski said.

How did this all come together?

He came up with the idea to add a viewfinder to the city overlook at Great Bear with the help of his mentor and family friend, Danny Howd.

In order to fit the Eagle Scout qualifications, the project had to be approved both by a committee in his local troop, then by the regional Boy Scouts council.

  • Because the project was completed on a city park, Klinski had to get city approval as well.

Klinski then turned to fundraising, finding several local downtown businesses to donate items to a silent auction. He chose downtown businesses specifically because that's right where the viewfinder focuses.

  • He also received support from SDN Communications, who made a donation in honor of their late CEO Mark Shlanta. Shlanta and his four sons were all Eagle Scouts, and his name is engraved on a plaque on the viewfinder.

The entire project cost about $3,500.

  • The SeeCoast viewfinder – the same brand you'd find at Mount Rushmore and other parks – cost about $3,000, Klinski said.
  • The rest of the money was spent on materials to build a small deck to house the viewfinder.

It's only been up for about a week, and Klinski said he's already seen a great response to his project both from hikers and from Great Bear.

"They thought it was really cool," he said. "While we were setting up, there were a lot of hikers, so I'm sure it'll be really popular."

How can I support this project?

"Just go up and see it," Klinski said. "That's what I made it for – for people to go look at it."