Ownership of a portion of the Scouters’ Mountain property will be transferred to Metro in an agreement to preserve the land for future generations as a natural area that will retain elements of its Scouting heritage. The portion of land to be transferred includes the butte and surrounding steep slopes. Chief Obie Lodge, which has stood closed and empty since 2004, will be deconstructed and a new public shelter will be built in its place.
All programs currently offered at Scouters’ Mountain, including Cub World summer resident camp, Camp Discovery summer day camp, COPE course activities, and weekend camping will continue uninterrupted.
The executive board of Cascade Pacific Council examined many possible alternatives in a search for the best use of Scouters’ Mountain for children today and for future generations. It was determined that an agreement with Metro to permanently designate the butte as a Natural Area was the best way to maintain Scouting’s legacy on the site and ensure its preservation as a pristine natural area.
Following is an excerpt of the news release of December 10, 2010:
Partnership will protect Boy Scouts land in Happy Valley, open it as a natural area. Voter-approved bond will fund trails, restrooms and a picnic shelter at Scouter Mountain
A beloved Boy Scouts property overlooking Happy Valley will be protected as a public natural area with new trails, picnic tables and restrooms, thanks to a partnership including Metro, the City of Happy Valley and the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District.
Metro is under contract to purchase 70 acres from the Boy Scouts of America’s Cascade Pacific Council, investing funds from the region’s voter-approved 2006 natural areas bond measure.
Under an agreement approved this month by all the parties, Metro will oversee restoration and improvements at the forested property. Happy Valley will pay for the upgrades with its remaining $380,000 of local allocation from the bond. And the parks district will manage the future Scouter Mountain Natural Area, which could open as early as summer 2012.
“This partnership will ensure that future generations connect with nature in a fast-growing part of the region,” said Metro Councilor Rod Park, who represents the eastern suburbs in District 1. “Voters were thinking of places like Scouter Mountain when they asked Metro to protect our best remaining land in the Portland metropolitan area.”
Scouter Mountain Natural Area will honor the Boy Scouts’ legacy on the site – not only by promoting outdoor exploration, but also by salvaging pieces of a deteriorating lodge to incorporate in the new picnic shelter. An independent study determined that it would cost more than $8 million to restore Chief Obie Lodge, which has been closed since 2004 due to fire safety issues. The Scouts will deconstruct the 22,000-square-foot building prior to the property sale, which is expected to be finalized this spring.
“Like so many others, I have very fond memories of camping and other activities on Scouter Mountain with my children and as a young Scoutmaster,” said the Scouts’ council president, Gene Grant, a former mayor of Happy Valley. “While we all were disappointed to find the cost of preserving the lodge was too high, the new trails, restrooms and picnic shelter that will replace and reuse the lodge materials will be a welcome amenity we will all put to good use. I am truly excited to help create the Scouter Mountain nature park with these new facilities.”
The Scouts plan to invest proceeds from the sale at their 17 camping properties in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington. More than 15,000 youth and volunteers attend overnight or day-camping programs every summer, and another 30,000 Scouts camp independently throughout the year.
Why is the council selling a portion of Scouters’ Mountain?
An independent study showed that the cost of renovating Chief Obie Lodge would be in excess of eight million dollars. Cascade Pacific Council is not in a position to absorb such a financial burden; meanwhile the lodge continues to deteriorate. The council’s volunteer executive board determined that preserving the site as natural space for future generations was the best way to continue the legacy of outdoor experiences that Scouters’ Mountain has provided for decades.
Will Scouting activities continue at Scouters’ Mountain?
Yes, all current activities will continue. This agreement does not include areas of the property that are utilized for program activities. Cub World, Camp Discovery, and the COPE Course are not affected and continue to operate as usual.
What portion of the property is being transferred to Metro?
The sale includes only the butte and surrounding steep slopes. All of the lower property will still be owned by Cascade Pacific Council and continues normal operation as a year-round camping destination for thousands of Scouts and Scouters.
Cub World Reservations
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Reservations for Cub World and Camp Discovery are currently open. The popular summer camps at Scouters' Mountain will continue as usual.
What will happen to Chief Obie Lodge?
The lodge will be deconstructed, removing all of the building and its infrastructure. Many pieces of the building will be preserved for use in construction of a new picnic pavilion and restrooms in the area presently occupied by the lodge.
Will Scouts be able to use the new pavilion?
Yes. Scouting groups and other groups will have access to the picnic pavilion and surrounding natural areas for outdoor activities and educational opportunities once Metro has completed natural restoration and construction of the pavilion. The North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District will manage the new natural area, which could open as early as summer 2012.
What will the council do with the proceeds of this sale?
Funds realized from the sale of this parcel will be reinvested in other properties operated by the council. It is anticipated that a portion will be invested over the next two years for high-priority projects at camps, with the remaining portion being invested as an endowment specifically for future camp maintenance. One of the biggest issues facing council properties is deferred maintenance; this infusion of funds will help the council better maintain camps for thousands of campers.
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