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Teenagers spend entire year building WWII era bunker on state land

Best friends Kouper and Hudson are obsessed with military history and recreated the WWII bunker off of North Country Trail between Kent City and Cedar Springs.
Credit: Provided
Hudson is preparing a small meal on a campfire in the bunker.

KENT COUNTY, Mich. — A military style bunker was discovered not far from the North Country Trail in Kent County by a hiker earlier this week.

The bunker was reported to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) who said the construction was done illegally on state land.

At first, the bunker's origin was a mystery, but 13 ON YOUR SIDE later learned that it was actually built by 15-year-old best friends Kouper and Hudson.

Kouper and Hudson are self-described military history buffs and they set out on a year-long project of constructing the bunker with WWII era tools they purchased at a flea market.

The best friends have gone to the same school for most of their life, but now as teenagers they attend different high schools. To keep in touch, a plan was hatched on the weekends by building a WWII era bunker.

The two spent a lot of time surveying the area near North Country Trail and determined a spot not far off the trail would be the perfect location.

They picked a spot between Red Pine Dr. NW and N. Division Ave. NE, just north of 18 Mile Rd. NW as their final location for the bunker.

Credit: NorthCountyTrail.org
The general location of the bunker along the North Country Trail in Kent County.

Using WWII trench shovels, sandbags and other WWII era tools they purchased with their allowances, the teenagers set to work.

Their parents would drop them off over a mile from the site each weekend, leaving Kouper and Hudson to hike to the bunker and set up camp.

Credit: Provided
Kouper and Hudson embark on one of their many hikes down North Country Trail towards the bunker site.

Kouper's Mom said the kids loved "survival camping" and would deliberately pick weekends with inclement weather to camp at the site. Whether it was blizzard like conditions, torrential downpour or sweltering heat, the teens loved showing their ability to survive with only camping supplies. She could barely sleep one weekend during Christmas time because the boys decided it was a perfect time to camp through the blizzard.

Credit: Provided
Hudson is preparing a small meal on a campfire in the bunker.

It took an entire year of scouting, planning and building the bunker, which the DNR says the kids will now need to tear down and refill. While the teens are disappointed their project must be destroyed, they do understand why. 

This wasn't their first major build either. Kouper and Hudson worked on a trench in their parents backyard at a very young age.

Credit: Provided
Kouper and Hudson pose for a photo in their WWII era trench that they built in their backyard.

The teens plan to head back to the bunker this weekend with friends and family to fill in the hole and return the area back to its original state.

The DNR says they will not file charges for cutting down trees and branches, digging the hole, or leaving the sandbags on state land.

Kouper and Hudson say they are searching for someone with private land willing to let them use their land for their next project, specifically in the Sparta, Cedar Springs or Rockford area.

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