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Saving 4,877 acre Camp Owasippe, America's first and oldest Boy Scout Camp
Parcel was slated to be sold for development
Flag raising at Camp Owasippe is an honored tradition. Photo courtesy Owasippe Outdoor Education Center.
NEW! Contract to Sell Owasippe Terminated, Owasippe owners end deal with developer
With an interview on Public Radio and media placements in Crain's Detroit Business, Traverse Magazine, The North Woods Call, Chicago Wilderness Magazine, and others, LandChoices helped the Owasippe Outdoor Education Center get the word out to create opposition instrumental in stopping the sale of this 4,877 wilderness for development.
Learn More, Latest News
Visit the Owasippe Outdoor Education Center website and click on links under "News"
The Chicago Council had an offer of $19.4 million for 4,877 acre Camp Owasippe that was contingent on the property being rezoned for development. The Chicago Council had taken Blue Lake Township to court to try and get the property rezoned.
A controversial rezoning plan would have allowed 1,278 homes on the scenic Owasippe Scout Reservation and had been rejected by Blue Lake Township's planning commission. The commission unanimously turned down the request by the Chicago Area Council of Boy Scouts to rezone its pristine 4,780-acre camp for residential development.
Camp Owasippe's oak-savanna forest north of Muskegon in near Whitehall, Michigan is the last of its kind in West Michigan. It's home to a variety of endangered and threatened species of wildlife, including the Bald Eagle, Karner Blue Butterfly, Eastern Box Turtle and Massasauga Rattlesnake.
"I had experiences as a kid that I still have memories of. It just changes people." Ron Kron, a scoutmaster for a troop on Chicago's northwest side, talking about Camp Owasippe. As quoted in the Muskegon Chronicle on June 22, 2006.
"A Scout Council Has NO Business Being In Land Development!" From a letter to the editor
The original property for Owasippe was donated to the Chicago Boy Scouts by the City of Whitehall. A group of current and former Scouts formed the Owasippe Outdoor Education Center (OOEC) in 2002 and are raising funds to purchase the property to preserve it.
Owasippe Outdoor Education Center
The Owasippe Outdoor Education Center (OOEC) observes that the current proposed sale by the Chicago Boy Scouts is a continuation of a long-established Boy Scout policy of selling real assets in order to fund their current program operations. In the recent past (about 16 years ago) the Chicago Boy Scouts sold more than 8,000 acres of Owasippe property for residential development. The Chicago Boy Scouts have sold all of their other camp real estate holdings.
The Owasippe Outdoor Education Center is saving this property not necessarily as a Boy Scout Camp, but for the youth of America, including Boy Scouts, to use and enjoy. This group of former and current Scouts have heartfelt connections to this property. Some earned their Eagle Scout badge on this property in their youth. They feel it is imperative that today's youth have the same opportunity to develop a deep connection to the land through experiences at Owasippe.
Their plan includes the general public being welcomed with controlled-access public activities and events at Owasippe facilities. The Owasippe Outdoor Education Center would place a permanent conservation easement on the remaining 4,800+ acres of the property to protect it forever.
AND...IN CLOSING: "If you want to join the Boy Scouts, you have to take the oath of admission. If you want to put the uniform on, you have to stand for what the uniform stands for. It's as simple as that." George Davidson, BSA senior legal counsel. From THE SCARLET SASSAFRAS, April 18, 2006
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