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Courts Help Preserve America’s Oldest Boy Scout Camp

owasippe flag1 300x171 Courts Help Preserve Americas Oldest Boy Scout Camp

Flag raising at Camp Owasippe is an honored tradition. Photo courtesy Owasippe Outdoor Education Center.

Several years ago the Chicago Area Council decided to sell the Owasippe Scout Reservation which is the United States oldest and longest continuously operating Boy Scouts of America camp. This sparked great opposition from local communities, Scouts, and staff alumni.

Since my family has a cottage close to Owasippe, I’ve been following this battle with great interest. I was happy to read the latest news that Chicago Council Scout Executive Chuck Dobbins announced the council will not appeal the state Supreme Court of Appeals decision issued in March upholding the township’s forest recreation-institution zoning of the 4,800 acre camp. Read the article, “Blue Lake Township, Boy Scouts is uneasy truce after Owasippe fight“, on MLive for more details.

Apparently, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is also getting involved and helping to sell ¾ of the camp to conservation buyers and put a conservation easement on the 1,030 acres the council intends to continue to operate as a Scout Camp. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds with TNC’s involvement and how the balance of providing a big camp experience and conservation of the property will be handled under the current approach.

Having been an intern for TNC and worked with them on several projects, I’m typically a big fan of the land conservation initiatives. I also wonder how any moneys raised by the land sales will be utilized by the Council.

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