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Camp Russell and Cedarlands (NY) to be closed after summer 2015

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Update 2/20/2015 Herkimer County legislature passes resolution against the sale of Camp Russell.



The (Herkimer County) Legislature also passed a resolution opposing the sale or closure of Boy Scout Camp Russell, noting “the camp's rich history has been an asset to Herkimer County for 97 years providing traditions that carry on long after the last scout has been served.†Certified copies of the resolution are to be sent to the Boy Scouts of America office in Utica.

The resolution recalls that the camp was founded in 1918 when Samuel T. Russell of Ilion, an industrialist businessman and a prominent local citizen, offered 15 acres of his property on White Lake to the scouts of Ilion, Utica and Rome. The new camp was named Camp Russell in his honor. In June of that year, he led a group of 12 men from Ilion to construct a building for the camp. The camp eventually grew from 15 to 300 acres.

The Boy Scouts of America Revolutionary Trails Council voted in December to sell Camp Russell and its Cedarlands property, which hasn't been used as a camp since 2011, due to declining enrollment. Camp Russell is to remain open for the duration of the 2015 camping season however.

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Scout Chief skips meeting on Camp Russell



Steve McEwan, Boy Scouts of America Revolutionary Trails Council executive, decided not to show up to a Wednesday night Save Camp Russell subcommittee meeting after he learned late Tuesday it wasn’t a troop meeting.

“I had printed some handout materials for the meeting,†McEwan said, explaining he initially thought he was meeting with Ilion Boy Scout Troop 9. “At the last (Save Camp Russell) meeting, 80 people were there. My little 8½-by-11 handout would not have done very well.â€Â

Since the Revolutionary Trails Council voted 17-4 in December to sell Camp Russell and its Cedarlands property, McEwan and other council representatives have been traveling to various troops and compiling fact sheets to explain why they made the decision.

To date, though, they have not attended an event hosted by Save Camp Russell, the 3,000-likes-strong Facebook group that started a change.org petition asking the council to keep Camp Russell open. The petition can be viewed online by visiting
and searching for “Camp Russell.â€Â


...McEwan declined the invitation, writing: “While I am still very willing to attend a meeting of Pack 9’s committee or a parents meeting, I am not incline (sic) to participate in a meeting of the Save Camp Russell group.â€Â


Do not sell Camp Russell & keep it open to Scouting

supporters with
more needed to forward change.org petition

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WOODGATE, N.Y. – A Boy Scouts camp operated for nearly 100 years that closed last year is auctioning off its inventory on Saturday, Sept. 17.


Camp Russell, one of the oldest Boy Scouts camps in the country, ended operations at the camp in 2015 after an emotional goodbye from campers, citing financial losses for the closing.


The auction will begin at 10 a.m. at 12527 State Rt. 28, Woodgate. Organizers of the event say it will be a good time with food and big savings, and proceeds will benefit the Boy Scouts of America. 


Some of the items being auctioned include: tents, cots, rowboats, canoes, sailboats, electric tools and more.


Camp Russell, located on White Lake, was one of three local Boy Scouts camps operated by the former American Revolutionary Trail Council, now called the Leatherstocking Council after merging with the former Otschodela Council. The land where the camp sits was donated by local businessman Samuel T. Russell in 1918.


Another camp, Cedarlands, also is being sold, while the third, Camp Kingsley, remains open. The newly formed Council’s summer camp for Boy Scouts will be held at Henderson Camp just outside of Oneonta in Maryland.


For more information about the auction and photos of some items being auctioned, visit the AuctionZip page created for the event. 



Edited by RememberSchiff

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It's hard not to feel a little sick to the stomache when reading about Boy and Girl Scout camps closing.  Most of these camps were donated to the Scouts by people who loved their land and wanted future generations to enjoy it the way that they had.  While these people must have also loved the Scouts to some degree, I wonder if they'd still feel that way seeing what the Scouts are doing with the properties.  If these generous groups and individuals had wanted the Scouting Councils to have money to spend on other things, I'm sure they would have donated money (many probably did).  I think the fact that they donated land was because they also loved that land as much as they loved Scouting, and wanted that land to stay in as pristine a state as possible.  Seeing these properties sold into private hands for 'development' would surely have gone against their wishes.  If the Scouts had been selling off the donated land back in the days in which these land donations we being made, I suspect these owners might have found some other group who would care for the land instead of selling it off.


When we sell of these properties, we are never getting them back.  Few today own the amount of land you'll find in these camps, and those who do aren't likely to donate it to the Scouts, especially considering how the Scouts have treated the land they've held for 100 years in some cases.


It's a sad thing, and a real shame. 

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Just because land is donated, does not mean it is needed or can be developed and maintained properly.  There's always a practicality associated with the sentimentality of such situations. Yes, it is a shame it has to happen, but unless the powers-that-be are committed to the project, it has virtually no chance of survival.

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