THE SCARLET SASSAFRAS... Owasippe's"Unwebsite" & E-zine

Home | Owasippe Overview | Manistee Quest Treks | Tree Talk...Camp News | Save Owasippe News | Chief Owasippe & Sons | Owasippe Photo-Shoot | Sassy-Links And Portals | The Sounding Board | OSR Solution | OSR Resources FACQs | Archived Stories | O Summer Camp Program | Camp Staff And More | Editor's Prologue | Contact Owasiron
Tree Talk...Camp News

Factoids and The Buzz On Owasippe Scout Reservation


Weekend Camping at Owasippe
Effective immediately, there will be no charge for Chicago Area
Council units for tent camping at Owasippe Scout Reservation.  Site reservations must be made through the Council Camping Department and a refundable $25 damage and cleaning deposit must be posted.  Reservations cancelled less than one week prior will not receive a refund of the deposit.  Out-of-council units may camp at either facility but at the normal and customary camper rates. 
Some off-season cabin camping may also be available to all units for a fee.   Call CAC Camping Service at 312-421-8800 x227 for permit info.
Attending units can enhance their weekend programs and agendas with many available off-site attractions in the immediate area, some of which are seasonal-driven.   A list of such prospects can be found in this website.


Owasippe Sailing Base Renovated by OSA
Thanks to a substantial seed money contribution supplied by The Adamitis family, the Owasippe Staff Association Inc (OSA) has dedicated itself to overhauling and expanding the sailboat fleet at Owasippe's Fossett Sailing Base on Big Blue Lake for the 2006 and 2007 Seasons.  Moxie Marine of Montague was retained by the OSA to do all necessary renovations to the camp's existing sailing fleet.  By July 1, 2007, thirteen sailboats were overhauled and repainted
.  From Spring 2006 to July 2007, the OSA has contributed close to $8,000 in repairs to the fleet to ensure this program's availability to our Scouts at Owasippe.
SO...sailboat donations and new purchases are being sought... and we can use your eyes and ears to get the word out and to help us look for an opportunity to expand the camp's fleet for our Scouts.
In the summer of 2006, the OSA purchased 4 butterfly sailboats and had two others donated by generous citizens of West Michigan.  Owasippe's "Blue Lake Yacht Club" fleet is now up to 16 boats.  This increased number will lessen down-time and ensure that more Scouts have an opportunity to learn how to sail and get in some recreational boating time on Big Blue Lake.

The butterfly model is a 2-person sailboat made of composite plastic and known for its durability. This boat is used exclusively by the White Lake Yacht Club sailing school in Whitehall MI and is used in regattas on Muskegon Lake.

The OSA is seeking donations to assist with ongoing sailboat maintenance and to help with new boat acquisitions.  And, if anyone would like to donate a sailboat for the Fossett Sailing Base at Camp Blackhawk, that would be greatly appreciated as well.

Donations can be made to OSA, c/o Sailboat Rehab, PO Box 7097, Westchester IL 60154. All donations are tax deductible within the letter of the IRS 501C-3 code.

With everyone's assistance, we can dramatically improve and expand this program for our Scouts who would be hard pressed to have such boating access back home!  No contribution is too small and your help is appreciated.

For more info on the butterfly boat...


Owasippe & Michigan Morsels Of Info
*** As of Friday, October 31, unleaded gas at Wesco in Montague MI was going for $2.32/gallon.  Somewhat lower prices were being reported south of Grand Haven and in South Haven, MI.  Travelling to Owasippe is again very tolerable with some of the cheapest gas prices seen in the last few years.
*** According to Troop 51 ASM Mike McGinniss, Indian Trails District held their district camporee at Owasippe on this past Columbus Day Weekend.  It was a unique and enjoyable experience for those attending.  We applaud the district's added use of Owasippe in the offseason.
*** National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) will be sponsored by CAC in 2009 and conducted at Owasippe August 9-15.  Eligible Scouts at least age 14 and prior course participants are urged to apply for course staff.  For more information on this training opportunity, contact Marc Merel at 773-865-3548 or via and see
*** Carmen Trapani of Arrowhead District has been selected to be the course director of CAC's next week-long Woodbadge Course to be held at Owasippe, August 9-15, 2009.  The course will be limited to 48 Scouter participants.  A $50 deposit will reserve a course position.
See... for more details on the Owasippe Woodbadge Course.
*** Congratulations to Loyola University student Joseph Kelly on his recent election as Chief of Owasippe O/A Lodge #7.  Joe is a past Chief of Mantowagan Chapter in Arrowhead District.
*** Thanks to the OSA for continued stewardship with the Fossett Sailing Base at Camp Blackhawk in 2008.  They purchased numerous replacement parts for the sailboats at Camp Blackhawk, ie. rudder blades, dagger boards, tillers, and other hardware, to optimize the number of boats that could be available for Scout usage. 
*** Next Owasippe campstaff interviews are set for Saturday, November 15, from 9:00am to 3:00pm at Owasippe's Ad Center at the interesection of Russell and Silver Creek Roads.  After that, the next interview date is November 29 at CAC's Service Center at 1218 W Adams in Chicago.  Four dates and locations in total are being planned to entertain new staff applicants and to conduct interviews.
*** Owasippe's Health Lodge is available for Scout unit and district rental during the school year, especially during cold-weather months, for $220/weekend.  The lodge is heated, has beds, and has a fully functional kitchen.  Campsites are available for year round use at no cost to CAC units/Scouts and $25/site & $2/Scout for Out-of- Council units.  To secure such reservations, call the CAC camping department at 312-421-8800 x226.

Owasippe Off Limits
by Jonah Ogles
White Lake Beacon
If you were planning any fall hiking at Owasippe Scout Reservation in Blue Lake Township, or maybe looking forward to some cross-country skiing on the property, forget it – at least for now.
The Chicago Area Council (CAC), which owns Owasippe, recently announced that it would not allow individuals on its property, due to issues of liability.
Chuck Dobbins, scout executive for CAC, said after the camp season came to an end, staffers were preparing the camp for the public to use.
“It’s not meant to say we don’t want people in our camp,” said Dobbins. “We are self-insured for liability. We should never have been allowing people to use it.”
With the group’s current insurance situation, Dobbins said, there was nothing that could stop individuals who happened to be injured on the grounds from suing the camp – even after signing a waiver.
“Any lawyer who’s worth his salt can get past that,” said Dobbins. “The waiver is not the most important thing, though. It’s the insurance.”
Dobbins said the CAC was examining different insurance policies that would cover the camp so that individuals could use it for hiking. He said the camp would also explore other possibilities, such as working with area groups to allow their members to use the land.
In that hypothetical, though, Dobbins stressed that members could have to pay and/or the group could be required to provide its own insurance.
“We want to open it (the camp) up as quickly as we can,” said Dobbins.
And those who use the property want the same thing. Matt Vander Sys of Endurance Sports, which has held an off-road triathlon at the camp, called Owasippe a “piece of paradise.”
“We’re probably the number one user,” said Vander Sys. “It’s beautiful. Rolling hills, creeks, rivers. There’s nothing else like it.”
Until the insurance issue is worked out, that piece of paradise will remain off-limits to the public.
Copyright © 2008 White Lake Beacon

from CAC via Arrowhead District
by Brock Bigsby
(10/3/07) The Chicago Area Council is pleased to announce that Chris Townsend will become the Council Camping Director effective October 16, 2007. As Camping Director, Chris will be responsible for providing staff support to all Council outdoor programs, as well as overseeing all other Council activities, training, and advancement programs. During the past two years, Chris has served as Council Program Director.
During his tenure, the Council re-established the Council Activities Committee, launched the University of Scouting, and re-introduced the New Youth Leader Training program. In addition, the Council enjoyed increases in the participation and service of all other activities, training opportunities, and National Quality Units.
Chris brings a great deal of experience to the Camping Director position. Previously, he served as Camp Director at Camp Tomahawk in the Viking Council, Minneapolis, Minnesota, which serves 5,000 Boys Scouts and 800 Webelos annually. He also has managed several Cub Scout Day Camps, and he served as the Camp Director at Hoover Scout Reservation, Yorkville, Illinois this past summer.
As Council Camping Director, Chris will serve as the Reservation Director at Owasippe Scout Reservation in 2008. He will be naming his leadership team in the near future and inviting interested candidates to interview for the 2008 camp staff beginning in late November.
# # #

Staff Applicants Now Needed for Owasippe-2008
Chicago Area Council is NOW entertaining applications for ALL staff
positions for the 2008 camping season from all interested and
qualified individuals regardless of gender or council affiliation.

ALL positions are open for review including Camp Directors, Warehouse and Trading Post Directors, Program Area Directors, Commissioners, Instructors, Manistee Quest trek guides, Diamond-O Ranch wranglers, outpost managers, store clerks, counselor-in-training, and other positions.  We assume, as last year, Camps/areas to be staffed are Camps Blackhawk, Wolverine, Carlen and Reneker as well as High Adventure Outposts and the Manistee Quest.
The new CAC Director of Camping and Owasippe Reservation Director for 2008 will be Chris Townsend who served as the 2007 Hoover Outdoor Education Center Director.   Mr Townsend also concurrently serves as the CAC Program Director and professional advisor to the Owasippe Lodge #7 OA.
Interested staff candidates should apply ASAP and get their paperwork and three letters of reference in to CAC.   Please take this opportunity to recruit qualified candidates from within your Scouting circles.  There can never be enough skilled candidates.
CIT (counselor-in-training) positions are for those who will be of
Star Rank, minimum age of 14 by the opening of camp, in at least the 9th grade right now, have been a summer camper for at least 3 years, and can get their Scoutmaster's approval plus two other letters of reference.  Exceptions to this are for the girls at Camp Reneker who do not have to comply with the rank or Scoutmaster signoffs.   This program and qualifying parameters are subject to change.  The Owasippe Staff Association has been requested by CAC to no longer administer this program without any reasons being stated.  BE ADVISED that criteria for acceptability into the CIT Program is subject to change at any time by Chicago Area Council BSA. 
Regular Campstaff must be age 16 by the opening day of camp...NO EXCEPTIONS!  Some management positions require one to be age 21 or older and have other experience for the job.
Staff application forms can be received by calling the Chicago Area
Council camping center at 312-421-8800 x227.  For more info and forms, you can go to...CAC's website at and open the tabs for "Camping" and then for "Owasippe Scout Reservation" and then scroll down... OR go to The Scarlet Sassafras web-page, "Camp Staff and More" at
Mail your staff application to the attention of the CAC Camping Department, 1218 W Adams, Chicago 60607-2802, or fax it to Chris Townsend at 312 421-4725.  Any questions, call 312 421-8800 x227.
2008 Camp Directors:
Reservation Director - Chris Townsend, CAC Director of Camping
Assistant Reservation Director - Pete Klaeser
Camp Wolverine - Ryan Gust
Camp Blackhawk - Mike Brus
Camp Reneker - Beth Rychtanek
High Adventure - Charles Sommerville
# # #

Confirmation on CAC's Position on Owasippe CIT Program
I have finally received a response from the Council (Brock Bigsby) regarding the OSA-sponsored Staff Development Program.
It appears to no longer be our responsibility.

- Ron Derby
>>>> from Brock Bigsby...
"Hello Ron,
I apologize for taking so long to respond.  The CIT program is going to be the responsibility of the reservation management team.  A letter was sent to Michelle O’Connor notifying the OSA of the change.
~ Brock L. Bigsby
Assistant Scout Executive
Chicago Area Council
Boy Scouts of America
1218 W. Adams Street
Chicago, IL 60607-2802
312-421-8800, extension 202
Fax 312-421-4726

CIT Training A Longstanding Labor Of Love
Further confirmation has been received of the OSA being dismissed as the CIT Program sponsor and administrator, a responsibility they had taken on since 1980 that we can recall, when director of camping Jim Chandler and camping chairman Steven Horvath requested their services.
It's been a labor of love and a service that the OSA and its members have been proud to host, administer and fund.  My guess is that there have probably been at least 500 young men who have gone through that staff orientation and mentoring program since then...another Long Green Line.
There has been no reason given to the OSA for this change in administration.  Your guess is as good as mine which suspects political foul play.
On behalf of all of the men and women who played a role in the recruitment and training of our young staff apprentices over the last 2+ decades, it has been our pleasure and honor to have been mentors, coaches and counselors to Owasippe's CITs and to have shared much of what was handed down to us by legendary Owasippe staff so that a proud tradition of quality Scout camping could carry on.  Thanks to those volunteer staff trainers for their time, dedication and talents.  Thanks to those parents who allowed their sons and daughters to be part of a good program and some great campstaffs.  Thanks to those CITs who believed in a dream and who cared to serve their fellow Scouts and to deliver "All The Wealth of Earth And Heaven".
So may Scouting's bond of friendship seal our loyalty to the camp so dear to memory, Hail - Owasippe.
~ Ron Kulak
Past Director
Counselor In Training Program

Nestle tests, decides not to pump out Owasippe water
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
By Jeff Alexander and Lynn Moore
Officials at Nestle Waters North America said Monday the company will not pump spring water from the Owasippe Scout Reservation in Blue Lake Township.  But the water bottling company did test spring water at the 4,800-acre Scout camp in June.
Nestle spokeswoman Deb Muchmore said company scientists spent one day collecting spring water samples at Owasippe. She said Greg Fox, Nestle's Midwest natural resource manager, decided to drop Owasippe as a potential source for spring water for Nestle's Ice Mountain brand.  "We have no interest in moving any further at this site," Muchmore said. She said she did not know specifically why Nestle dropped the Owasippe site from consideration.
In April, the company dropped its controversial plan to pump spring water from a site near the headwaters of the White River, saying the water had the wrong mineral composition for Nestle's purposes. That decision came after two years of investigation, which included Nestle installing a series of water wells and conducting pump tests.
Muchmore said Nestle scientists routinely collect spring water samples from sites across Michigan and the Midwest as it looks for new sources for its water bottling business.
"It's routine for the company to be looking at potential spring water sites on an ongoing basis," Muchmore said. "It's not until a variety of factors come together that the company would decide to do a more thorough investigation of a prospective site."
The Chicago Area Council of Boy Scouts have been looking to unload the Owasippe reservation, which the council claims is too costly to operate. It has a purchase agreement for the property from a Holland investment group that is contingent on the property being rezoned to allow for up to 1,278 homes.
Blue Lake Township officials have refused to rezone the property from its current camp-only zoning, and the Boy Scouts and the township are set to face off in court in October.
Much as he's opposed to residential development on the land, township Supervisor Don Studaven said he's also opposed to any wide-scale removal of its water, which he worries would dry up wells that residents depend on.  He said he "couldn't sleep for about a week" when he learned Nestle tested water at Owasippe.  "It was driving me crazy," Studaven said.
Even with Nestle denying interest in the property, Studaven said he was "leery."  "I have to be leery," he said. "If I'm not cautious, something's going to happen. I don't want something to happen without being prepared."
The township has been working on a new ordinance that places limitations on the amount of groundwater that can be removed, and requires a township permit to do so. Lyle Monette, chairman of the township planning commission, said work on the ordinance started when Nestle was looking at the White River as a water source.
"That was our indication that we'd better do something because the river goes right through the whole township," Monette said.
Douglas A. Dozeman, an attorney representing the Chicago Area Council, said he didn't know why Nestle chose to test water at Owasippe.  "As I understand, they test lots of water in lots of places," Dozeman said.
Nestle currently has no new sites in Michigan that are viable candidates for a spring water pumping operation, Muchmore said. The company is considering building a second bottling facility in the Midwest, but Muchmore said that decision probably won't be made before next year.
Nestle is the world's largest water bottling company and bottles water in Michigan under its Ice Mountain label. The Swiss firm also is the world's largest food company and recently bought Gerber Products in Fremont.
The company opened its controversial Ice Mountain bottling facility in Stanwood in 2002 and bottled 226 million gallons of water last year.
The company received state permission earlier this year to pump 70 million gallons of spring water annually from a new site near two trout streams that flow into the Muskegon River near Evart.
©2007 Muskegon Chronicle
# # #

Owasippe Offered To National For Jamborees
The Chicago Council is considering its options in case its efforts to rezone and sell the property fail.
September 16, 2007
by Debra Carte, Staff Writer
The White Lake Beacon
With an October trial date fast approaching, the Chicago Area Council, Boy Scouts of America is exploring its options regarding the Owasippe Scout Reservation should its bid to get the property rezoned for residential development for a subsequent sale fails.
The Beacon learned last week that the Chicago Area Council is in preliminary talks with the Boy Scouts’ National Office to offer Owasippe in Blue Lake Township as a possible site for National Scout Jamborees beginning in 2014.
That could mean National would possibly acquire or lease the property on a long-term basis for jamborees that gather together as many as 40,000 Scouts and their leaders every four years, and retain the property for camping in non-jamboree years, according to Greg Shield, spokesman for the Boy Scouts’ National Office.
The Chicago Council’s attorney, Douglas Dozeman, wouldn’t say on Thursday how that possibility affects a purchase agreement the council has with an investment banking group in Holland, Michigan which has offered $19.4 million for Owasippe’s 4,748 acres if it can be rezoned for development. The council’s efforts to get the property rezoned to facilitate the sale has included a lawsuit against Blue Lake Township which heads to circuit court on Oct. 16.
Dozeman said getting the zone change they need for a sale is “by no means a sure thing,” and the Chicago Council is looking at its options in case the zoning bid “falls through.”
The Boy Scouts have been holding their National Jamborees since 1981 at Fort A.P. Hill, an Army training facility in northeast Virginia. The Scouts will be returning to Fort A.P. Hill for their next jamboree in 2010 for their 100th anniversary, but it may be their last one there.
The Department of Defense has indicated to the Scouts that demands on the U.S. military and training requirements may mean the Scouts will have to look for an alternate site to hold their jamborees.
The Scouts’ National president, Rick Cronk, issued an appeal on Aug. 1 to Scout executive councils across the country for suggestions on possible future jamboree sites. Shield didn’t know on Thursday how many other Scout councils had submitted surveys, but he confirmed that the Chicago Council had submitted a survey and that they were in a “very preliminary phase” of discussions with Chicago. The deadline for submitting site recommendation surveys was Saturday.
Shield said the National Office is looking for a long-term site that fits several criteria, including that it be a large piece of land that is attractive and capable of handling the needs of over 40,000 Scouts. The property has to have lake access and access to highways and major airports. The community would have to have sufficient infrastructure to provide for medical and communication needs.
The National Scout Jamborees are 10-day camping events.  At Fort A.P. Hill, the Scouts used approximately 3,000 acres of the Fort’s 76,000 acres. The Owasippe Scout Reservation, the oldest continually operating Boy Scout camp in the U.S., consists of 4,748 pristine acres of forest, lakes and streams.
The property adjoins several other camps in rural Blue Lake Township, including the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, YMCA Camp Pendalouan, and Camp Gerber, owned by the Gerald R. Ford Council, Boy Scouts of America. The advantages of bringing the Scouts’ National Jamborees to Blue Lake Township would extend to all of Muskegon County and counties beyond.
“It could be beneficial,” said Blue Lake Township Supervisor Don Studaven, “but we’re still facing a court date next month.”
Copyright © 2007 White Lake Beacon
# # #

Nestlé tests the waters at Owasippe
by Debra Carte
White Lake Beacon
100% spring-fed Lake Wolverine on the Owasippe Scout Reservation.
Nestlé Waters North America confirmed Friday that the spring waters of the 4,800-acre Owasippe Scout Reservation were tested in June as a potential source for the bottling of Ice Mountain Natural Spring Water.  Deborah Muchmore, the public relations official representing Nestlé Waters North America, said scientists from the engineering consulting firm, STS Consultants, Ltd., were at Camp Owasippe in late June conducting a site walkover which included the taking of water samples.
Muchmore could not say whether the owners of the Owasippe Scout Reservation, the Chicago Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, had requested the exploratory studies, or whether Nestlé had been the one to initiate contact with the Chicago Council.
The Chicago Council’s attorney, Douglas Dozeman, didn’t know the answer to that question either, but he did confirm from Chicago Council officials that Nestlé had been testing at the Owasippe property.
“There are no current plans to do anything with that (water study),” Dozeman said. “It was an exploratory thing to see what was there and what the options are.”
The Chicago Area Council is in the midst of litigation with Blue Lake Township over the rezoning of the Owasippe Scout Reservation. The Chicago Council wants the property rezoned for residential development and sued the township last year claiming the property’s current zoning, which limits uses to camping activities, was an unlawful taking of the property. The Chicago Council has an offer of $19.4 million for the property from an investment firm in Holland if it can be rezoned.
Dozeman did not know if the Chicago Council is considering selling portions of Owasippe to Nestlé.
Friday morning the Chicago Council and Blue Lake Township were in 14th Circuit Court for a hearing on a request by the township to have the case against it dismissed. Dozeman said the judge did not render a decision on Friday. A court trial on the Chicago Council’s lawsuit is set to begin on Oct. 16.
Camp Owasippe, established in 1911, is the oldest, continually operating Boy Scout camp in the country. It’s the home to one of the last remaining large stands of oak-pine forests in Michigan and a number of endangered and threatened species.
Lake Wolverine, the pristine lake that’s smack dab in the middle of Owasippe’s 4,748 acres, is 100 percent spring fed. The springs empty at Gus Kopp Dam and flow under Russell Rd.
An engineer has estimated the flow in the creek to be between 5,000 to 10,000 gallons per minute, well above the 400-gallon per minute rate Ice Mountain was issued a permit for in Mecosta County in 2002.
A lawsuit, brought by a group called Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, sued Nestlé Ice Mountain in 2003 to stop the withdrawal of spring water. The group won, but Ice Mountain was later granted a stay of the order after the company threatened to lay off its 120 employees at the bottling plant.
Earlier this year, Nestlé showed interest in installing a spring water well at the headwaters of White River in Monroe Township in Newaygo County. Nestlé decided in April not to move forward with that project. White River flows into Muskegon County through Blue Lake Township and empties into White Lake in Whitehall and Montague. Environmentalists here were fearful of the impact the spring water well would have on the White River.
Upon its decision to abort the White River project, the company said it was looking for a site with water consistent with the mineral composition and taste that “consumers of Ice Mountain expect and appreciate.”   Is the water they’re looking for at Owasippe?
Blue Lake Township officials hope not, but are getting prepared just in case it is. The township’s planning commission began working on an amendment to the zoning ordinance months ago to prevent the mining of water in the township. That draft amendment has been approved by planners. Planning Commission Chairman Lyle Monette said last week public hearings on the zoning change would be held soon and the recommendation would be sent on to the township board.
Jim Cordray, a member of the planning commission, said he expected Nestlé would “hit someplace else” after deciding not to pursue the site at the headwaters of White River. If it’s the Lake Wolverine, Quaking Bogs areas Nestlé’s looking at, Cordray said they’re getting into some environmentally sensitive areas that would probably even raise eyebrows at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
Just before engineers for Nestlé visited Owasippe in June, the Chicago Council’s president, Mike Hughes, issued an open letter to Blue Lake Township residents proposing to move the camping facilities near Lake Wolverine north to near Big Blue Lake.
The Chicago Council did not respond then to the question of why they would undertake the expense of such a relocation, but could interest from Nestlé in areas near Lake Wolverine explain the move?
Dozeman denies that’s the case.  “That has had nothing to do with our decision to relocate,” he said.
Hughes and the Chicago Council’s Scout executive, Jim Stone, did not return calls for comment.
Copyright © 2007 White Lake Beacon
# # #
Here is a prior background story from the Chicago Tribune about Nestle's mining of Michigan's water resources:

Nestle says no to Owasippe water
--------------------------------------------------------------------- / Muskegon Chronicle
by Jeff Alexander and Lynn Moore
August 27, 2007 17:28PM
Officials at Nestle Waters North America said Monday the company
will not pump spring water from the Owasippe Scout Reservation in
Blue Lake Township.
That announcement came after a published report said the water
bottling company tested spring water at the 4,800-acre scout camp
in June.
Nestle spokeswoman Deb Muchmore said company scientists spent one day collecting spring water samples at Owasippe. But she said Greg Fox, Nestle's Midwest natural resource manager, decided to drop Owasippe as a potential source for spring water for Nestle's Ice
Mountain brand.
"We have no interest in moving any further at this site," Muchmore
said. She said she did not know specifically why Nestle dropped the
Owasippe site from consideration.
In April, the company dropped its controversial plan to pump spring
water from a site near the headwaters of the White River, saying the
water had the wrong mineral composition for Nestle's purposes. That
decision came after two years of investigation, which included Nestle
installing a series of water wells and conducting pump tests.
# # #
For the complete print story, go to this weblink at

Tim Allen's "Pure Michigan" via the Muskegon Area:

LST Plans Move Ahead Full Speed
Thursday, May 10, 2007
By Robert C. Burns
Muskegon Chronicle
LST-393, the World War II cargo ship on Muskegon Lake, has made major headway recently as it battles its way to full restoration.
Dan Weikel, president of the LST-393 Preservation Association, said
the ship has received a $7,000 grant from the Community Foundation
for Muskegon County. The grant will allow the group to achieve a long-
sought goal -- opening of the ship's huge bow doors to the public.
On another front, Weikel said a fire suppression system has been
installed in the ship's berthing areas. It will allow groups to come
aboard for overnight stays, similar to the USS Silversides' popular
Overnight Encampment Program [ie. Owasippe's Submarine Outpost]. A potable water distribution system also is now in place throughout the
ship.  Both of these ends were greatly helped by an auction held aboard LST-393 last February. All told, it netted a little over $13,000 for the
ship's restoration fund.
The ship, which saw action during the D-Day invasion and other
campaigns near the end of the war, is one of only two such ships from
that era still afloat.
Weikel said work to open the ship's bow doors would begin during the
first week of June. It will entail the removal of what remains of a steel bulkhead, which was installed when the ship was converted into the car ferry Highway 16 after the war.  Once the bulkhead is removed, welds over the bow doors will be cut and the doors will be opened for the first time in decades. An existing landing ramp will be extended to a dock, allowing visitors to enter through glass doors onto the tank deck.
The job is expected to finish up in mid-July at a cost of about $14,000, Weikel said. In addition to the foundation's $7,000, the cost will be paid out of some auction proceeds and other revenue derived from tours, memberships and donations, plus events like reunions, USO Swing Dances and the summer "Movies on Deck" series on Friday nights.
All that remains is an on-board inspection and approval by the city's
fire marshal, which Weikel said should take place within the next week or so. The overnights should begin soon afterwards.  "Several people have said, 'as soon as it's approved, we'll sign up,' " Weikel said.
A walk-in veterans center has been created as well, complete with
comfortable furniture, a refrigerator, coffeemaker and a DVD player,
he said. On Wednesdays, any veteran who wants to be interviewed can
tell his or her story on-camera.
©2007 Muskegon Chronicle
[Note: Since the early 90s, Owasippe has been using this naval museum for its 'Submarine Outpost' and thousands of Scouts have enjoyed ship tours and overnight stays.  It's less than a half-hour's drive from a troop's campsite at Owasippe.  Some units go there and stay overnight the day before they arrive to Owasippe or on the day of departure.  ]
For the story in its entirety, go to...
11/1178808304288770.xml&coll=8&thispage=2 ]

Truce sought on sparring over Scout camp
By Joseph Sjostrom
Chicago Tribune staff reporter
Thursday, June 14, 2007
The Boy Scouts organization in Chicago has proposed a partial
reversal of earlier plans to sell part of its Owasippe Scout
Reservation, a sprawling campground in Michigan, where area Scouts
have attended summer camp since 1911.
Michael Hughes, the recently installed president of the Boy Scouts
Chicago Area Council, urged, in an open letter, cooperation between
the Scouts, Blue Lake Township, where the camp is located, and
activists in a campaign to preserve Owasippe as a campground.
"The truth of the matter," Hughes wrote, "is that both the Scouts and
the township are spending lots of money on lawyers that could be
better spent planning a future for the township that includes Owasippe."
The Chicago Scouts council had been planning to have the 7-square-
mile campground near Montague, Mich., rezoned so they could sell part of it to developers to make up for deficits and declining camp
But the plan went awry. First the Blue Lake Township board last June
denied a request to rezone the land for development, then the Chicago
council filed lawsuits in federal and Muskegon County, Mich., courts
to overturn the denial.
The plan also generated animosity spanning at least two years among
officers, board members and adult members of the Chicago council,
which owns Owasippe. That in turn spawned an impasse in attempts to
elect new officers and board members in the council's annual meeting.
Earlier this year, however, voting members of the Chicago council
selected new officers and a new board headed by Hughes, the founder
of a west suburban electrical design and contracting firm.
Hughes, formerly vice president of the council, had been identified
as a proponent of selling the Owasippe property. In 2005 the board
voted in favor of a contract that the council subsequently signed to
sell Owasippe for $19 million to an investor group headed by Benjamin
Smith III, of Holland, Mich.
One board member said at the time that proceeds of the sale would be
used to buy camp facilities closer to Chicago. Owasippe is about 200
miles from Chicago and about 10 miles east of Lake Michigan.  
The sale is contingent on a rezoning plan that would permit
construction of up to 1,278 residential units on the property, according to township documents.  But a year ago the Blue Lake Township board denied the rezoning request, and the Boy Scouts filed lawsuits.
Before 2002, the area's zoning classification allowed for the
construction of 1,110 residential units, or 168 fewer than the
Scouts' plan, according to township documents.   But, according to the Scouts' suits, the township changed the zoning in 2002 without the Scouts' consent from a category that permits residential construction to a category that permits only recreational camps.
Then earlier this month Hughes sent the open letter to newspapers in
Montague with a proposal to take all, or almost all, of the proposed
residential development out of the plan, and to offer most, or all, of the 4,700-acre property to one or more "conservation buyers." The proposal seeks to consolidate Boy Scout camps on 1,000 acres on the
south shore of Big Blue Lake and offer a sale of the remainder of the
property to conservation buyers.
The proposal said that if the sale is not successful, some portion of
the Owasippe property would be developed with homes to generate funds for maintenance and operation of Boy Scout camps there.
Prominent among potential conservation buyers is the Owasippe Outdoor Education Center, a private organization based in Whitehall, Mich.
Blue Lake Township Supervisor Donald Studaven expressed cautious
optimism about Hughes' letter."We've been going at this so long,
we're sort of skeptical," Studaven said Wednesday.   "I personally intend to write an open letter just like he did, and ask him to let the [Chicago Boys Scouts] board and my township board tour the property. It might make people see things a little differently."
Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

Counselors-in-Training Needed for Owasippe
Chicago Area Council is now entertaining applications for all staff positions for the 2008 camping season from all interested and qualified individuals regardless of gender or council affiliation.   Camps/areas to be staffed are Camps Blackhawk, Wolverine, Carlen and Reneker as well as High Adventure Outposts and the Manistee Quest.
However, Owasippe has a great need as well for Counselors-in- Training (ie. CITs).   In 2007, there were not as many as the past, and this group is critical to an ongoing line of regular staff returning to Owasippe.  The continuity of Owasippe's programs depends on the rolls of CITs engaged in this preparatory training regimen.   CITs just don't magically appear.  They come on the scene because of YOUR recommendations.  CITs are the budding junior leaders from within your Scouting district and from within your own troop or a neighboring troop.
It's an awesome leadership development tool as well.  The CIT will be a better Scout for and will become more mature as a result of his or her experience.   The home unit can only benefit by this.   Scouts who serve as CITs also have a wonderful personal opportunity to continue their merit badge advancement while at camp and to perhaps experience program areas that they have yet to attend as campers.
CITs are paid a $25 per week training allowance for each week they are in training at Owasippe after the initial training and orientation week.   There are no fees to go through this training.
Camp staff interview will commence at the end of November at a location TBA.  Interested staff candidates should apply ASAP, get their paperwork and reference letters in to CAC.  Please take this opportunity to recruit qualified candidates from within your Scouting circles.  There can never be enough skilled candidates.  
CIT (counselor-in-training) positions are for those who will be of Star Rank, minimum age of 15 by the opening of camp, in the 9th grade, have been a summer camper for at least 3 years, and can get their Scoutmaster's approval plus two other letters of reference.   The exceptions to this are for the girls at Camp Reneker who do not have to comply with the rank or a Scoutmaster OK. 
Staff application forms can be received by calling the Chicago Area Council camping center at 312-421-8800 x227 or by calling or e-mailing the Co-chairs of the 2007 Owasippe CIT Program, Chauncey and Mary Beth Niziol, at 708-562-4874 or to or to
For more information and forms, you can go to...CAC's website at and open the tabs for "Camping" and then for "Owasippe Scout Reservation", then scroll down... OR go to The Scarlet Sassafras website page, "Camp Staff and More" at

High Hopes for Owasippe!
July 17, 2006
The White Lake Beacon
by Debra Carte

The party’s not over for the Owasippe Scout Reservation, not by a long shot, say Scouters and “Save Owasippe” supporters fighting to make sure the camp sees many more years beyond the 95 they celebrated last Wednesday.

“Save that banner and be prepared to put ‘100th’ there,” said Jim
Schlichting, assistant development director for the Owasippe Outdoor
Education Center (OOEC), as he pointed toward the large banner placed at the camp Wednesday to commemorate its 95 years of continued operation.

Schlichting and the OOEC, the non-profit organization working to
preserve the camp as a year-round learning and conference center, have good reason to hope a sale of Owasippe can be stopped despite the Chicago Area Council of the Boy Scouts’ best efforts to sell it to a
Holland area banker for $19.4 million.

The National Council of the Boy Scouts recently intervened in the
contested business affairs of the Chicago Council and went as far as
to dissolve its executive committee and appoint an interim one until
elections can be held in January.

On Friday, the board of directors of the Chicago Area Council
unanimously elected the executive committee proposed by the National
Council and named John C. “Jack” Jadel as council president. Jadel
replaces Lewis Greenblatt, who was asked by council to step down from the board. Jadel is the former president of the Northeast Illinois
Council of the Boy Scouts, president of the National Eagle Scout
Association and past president of Akzo America.

The good news of the shakeup is that National has charged the new
committee with reviewing their predecessors’ business dealings and
controversial decisions, including the pending sale of Owasippe.

That could mean three things, according to Joe Sener, chairman of the
OOEC and one of 11 Scouters who prevailed in a lawsuit against the
Chicago Council for violations of council bylaws and the Illinois Not-
for-Profit Corporation Act.

“They could decide to go ahead with the sale, or entertain other
proposals, like the OOEC’s, or not sell at all,” he said last
Wednesday while attending Owasippe’s 95th birthday.

“National could see that the pending sale of Owasippe was an extremely hot issue for the volunteers, and if that was going to be a polarizing event, they wanted to see if the right decisions have been made.”

Sener didn’t hold back when commenting on how he perceives the past
decision-making of the Chicago Council’s board.

“Deciding to sell all the capital assets of the council in order to
balance the books is stupid,” he said.

Sener is in his 42nd year at Camp Owasippe and served as chairman of the Chicago Council’s Owasippe Committee, but he and five others were considered by National to be “lightning rods” for the opposing parties in the Chicago Council dispute and were asked to step down from the board of directors and all committees.

Sener isn’t giving up in getting an open dialogue going on the future
of Owasippe and has invited those now in charge in Chicago to learn
more about the camp that’s served hundreds of thousands of youths
since 1911.

“My plan is to continue to focus on Owasippe. Camping has been my life and my major contribution to the council,” he said. “I’ll let the
executive committee do what they’ve been chartered to do and,
hopefully, bring some sanity to what’s been going on.”

The only member of the new executive committee to attend Owasippe’s 95th anniversary celebration on Wednesday was another of the Scouter 11, Jim Adamitis, who had joined Sener and nine others in a lawsuit against the Chicago Council. Adamitis would not comment on the review of the pending sale of Owasippe, but did say he believed there would be a resolution.

“I am deeply of a mind that things work out for the very best for the
council and for the community,” he said.

The Chicago Council’s Scout Executive, Jim Stone, said Wednesday at
Owasippe that the council is accepting reservations from Scouters for
the 2007 camping season, but “I can’t speak to beyond that,” he added.

Despite the cloud of unknowing, Scouters were at Owasippe last
Wednesday to celebrate. Owasippe is as much home to the Scouts who
camp there as it is sacred to local Native Americans who worship there.

Chicago area Boy Scout troops paid homage Wednesday to the natives who first occupied the beautiful oak-savanna forests of Owasippe,
demonstrating for onlookers their knowledge of Native American games and their skills at living off the land.

Scout executives smiled through the readings of tributes and
proclamations from Governor Jennifer Granholm and Illinois Governor
Rod Blagojevich, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and Chicago Mayor
Richard M. Daley.

The Scouts gathered to sing “Happy Birthday” to their beloved
Owasippe, hoping it wasn’t for the last time.

Jason Darwell, 17, with Troop 149 from Lemont, IL, has been a Boy
Scout for seven years and has spent the last three summers at Camp
Owasippe. He’s learned to tie the same knots and walked the same woods his father and his grandfather did.

“For 95 years, we’ve been here,” he said. “There aren’t many things
that last 95 years and that says a lot about what this place offers.
There are lessons learned here that can’t be learned anywhere else. We see it trying to be sold and we don’t know the fate of this land.
We’re here to respect this environment, respect ourselves and respect
the people around us. If we lose this to developers, then the things
people have been doing here for 95 years will be lost.”

Copyright © 2006 White Lake Beacon

Park Ridge Troop 1 and Owasippe c1912
Troop 1, Park Ridge, Illinois [Northwest Suburban Council] has  been in existence since Scouting in the United States was in its infancy.  As the  oldest continuously chartered troop in the country, we are very proud of our history.  Our first Scoutmaster, Mr Charles Morrison Dickenson began work with Scouting in 1910 answering a request by the First United Methodist Church of Park Ridge. The program began in 1911, and was officially chartered as Troop 1 on
June 22, 1912.  Mr. Dickenson's commitment to the youth of Park Ridge set in motion what has become a long standing source of pride for our community.
Troop 1 and the First Methodist Church of Park  Ridge, Illinois, were instrumental in raising funds to start the camp. This first summer camp was a real treat for the Scouts; even getting there was an adventure.  The troop took the Chicago and Northwestern steam train from Park Ridge to downtown Chicago.  Then, the Scouts boarded a ferry to cross Lake Michigan to their destination in Whitehall.  Upon arrival, the boys were praised for their contribution to the startup
of Camp Whitehall.  Camp Whitehall is now known as Owasippe and is used by the Chicago Area Council.
[Note:  The website features a photo of Troop 1 at 'Camp Whitehall', Michigan in 1912.  Historical records of Owasippe and the White Lake Area accurately refer to this camp as 'Camp White', named after the gentleman who started the first encampment, Colonel White.  For more
info, go to: ]


CAC Names New Owasippe Committee Chrmn
Camping Chairman Thomas McDonough has recently appointed veteran scouter and prior asst council commissioner Charles Beavers to be the chairman of the Owasippe Program Committee.  He assumed his new role
last week.  Best wishes to him and his committee in their
preparations for the 2007 camping season.

A new feature is now available on the Chicago Area Council Website.   Units can now place camp reservation requests on-line for 2007 Owasippe Summer Camp.
In order to access the on-line reservations, simply go to the
website - and click on the camping button on the left. This will then display a 'reservations' button which you should then Click on.  This will then display an appropriate form for your unit's registration.

Long-time Camp Volunteer, Larry O'Connor Dies Suddenly
Nov 8, 2006
Larry O'Connor died unexpectedly on Sunday, Nov 5th, from an apparent heart ailment.  He was 56 years old.  Larry was Troop Committee Chair for Troop 785 of St Walter's Parish in the Beverly Community of Chicago, an active Life Member of the Owasippe Staff Association, a Brotherhood Member of the Order of The Arrow, and a dedicated Scouter to his unit and to Owasippe Scout Reservation. 
For at least the last ten years, Larry devoted most weekends of each
summer to volunteering with the maintenance staff at Owasippe Scout
Reservation.   For years, he has been one of the attending leaders with his troop at Camp Blackhawk at Owasippe.   Back in the 60s, he worked for several years on the Owasippe Staff at Ad Center and at Camp Beard.   Larry was a fervent supporter for the preservation of Owasippe as-is and was steadfastly against its sale for housing development. 
As a youth, Larry grew up with his three brothers and sister in the South Shore Community of Chicago and was a Scout in Troop 595 where their father was also a Scout leader.  He was heavily involved
as an Arrowman in his local Moqua Chapter and later became the ceremonial team advisor to Onchiota Chapter of Owasippe Lodge #7.   I'm sure there will be more stories told in the coming days of his service and good deeds to Scouting and his devotion to his family.
His absence will be felt in many places in our Scouting community.   Not often in the forefront, Larry was very active behind the scenes and  involved in many activities.   We have lost a dear friend and great Scouter, and he will be sorely missed.

The visitation and funeral arrangements for Larry O'Connor have now
been finalized:
Visitation/Wake - Kenny Bros Funeral Home
3600 W 95th Street (at Central Park Ave), Evergreen Park, IL 60805
Friday, November 10, 3-9:00 pm
The OA Broken Arrow Ceremony is tentatively set for 7:30 pm, Friday
Funeral and Internment -
Saturday, November 11, 10:00 am from Kenny Funeral Home
In Lieu of Flowers, the family has requested that memorials and
donations be made in Larry's name to the Owasippe Staff Association
(OSA), PO Box 7097, Westchester, IL 60154.


Requiem For An Elder of The Tribe
I'm saddened to report the sudden passing of Chuck "Buddha" Kmiec, age 56, who died from a massive heart attack on August 31.  His last
Scout function was attending to his Troop 923 meeting the night before he died.  Chuck was their Scoutmaster. He also was the camp director at Hoover Outdoor Education Center the past two summers. 

Buddha worked on the Owasippe staff from 1966 to 1973, was a
Brotherhood Order of the Arrow Member, and was a Life Member of the Owasippe Staff Association.  While in college at SIU, he also was a
member of Alpha Phi Omega, the national scouting fraternity.  He had
a passion for sailing and was involved with different sailing crews that competed in the Lake Michigan "Mackinaw Race".
Chuck had served on the staffs of Beard, Blackhawk, and Wolverine
North and his areas of expertise were in nature and scoutcraft. 
Chuck had a real knack for teaching and keeping kids spellbound with
the subject matter. One summer, he adopted an orphaned baby skunk
which he even took into town for rabies shots, however her residency
with the staff was short-lived once she sprayed inside the lodge
Chuck soooo loved to sing and perform in the dining hall and at
campfires...and was the prototypical showman. As a matter of fact,
whenever he worked on a changeover crew, he always insisted that we
all sing while we toiled. He loved to cook, especially at Christmas
In July (What incredible turkeys!), and was known for some extra-
ordinary dutch oven cuisines. To his credit, he also was responsible
for helping Troop 465 assemble a monkey bridge across the Lake
Wolverine Channel to Deuces Wild, a 100-yard stretch, the only time
that was ever done. Chuck was a fun-loving and light-hearted guy who
really enjoyed the fellowship of his fellow staffmen and who relished
making Scouting come alive for boys.
I can still hear his jocular laughter. :-)
From the Chicago Tribune: "Charles M. 'Chuck' Kmiec, is the beloved son of Helen (nee Kwiecien) and the late Mitchel P. Kmiec; devoted
brother of Mitchelle H.; dear grandson of the late Joseph and Zofia
Kmiec and the late Stanislaw and Bronislawa Kwiecien; Special friend
of Teri Reis-Schmidt and Jack Schmidt. He will be dearly missed by
the ''zoo crew.''.  Member of the sailing crew of Madcap and Gauntlet
(Grand Rapids, MI)."
Chuck's wake/visitation and funeral was conducted from Muzyka & Son Funeral Home in Chicago with a requiem mass celebrated at St. Robert Bellermine Catholic Church.  It was attended by many friends and a large Scouting support community.  Members of the Order of The Arrow conducted a requiem "Broken Arrow Ceremony" in his honor at the funeral home.
He will be missed but never forgotten around our council we
affectionately chant "Buddha, Buddha, Buddha...etc". All the wealth
of Earth and heaven is truly his.

Year-Round Camping At Owasippe
For any Scout unit and registered Scouters only, Owasippe campsites are available year-round for tent camping for a nominal camping fee for out-of-council units and Free for CAC units.  Cabin camping is available at Staff Village, Camp Reneker and the Lake Cabins sometime in the Spring (perhaps April 1) through October 1, except while summer camp is in session, at nominal rental rates.  Only the Health Lodge is winterized and available for rental after October 1. 
It has bath and shower facilities, a full kitchen, a large dormitory type room plus several private bedrooms.  We believe its maximum capacity is roughly 24, but interested parties should check with the CAC Camping Dept to be sure of this number.  For more information and to make reservations, call 312-421-8800 x227. 
If you have the good fortune of camping at picturesque Owasippe during the Winter, you will also find an excellent and lengthy sled-run behind Ad Center and Tent City, adjacent to the Camp Wolverine archery range.  Owasippe is also perfectly suited for cross country skiing and other outdoor Winter activities.

as presented by Michigan State Rep David Farhat
on Wednesday, July 12, 2006
to Owasippe Scout Reservation
at The White Lake Chamber of Commerce Dinner at Food Prep

LET IT BE KNOWN, That we are proud to join with the members,
leadership, and generations of Boy Scouts of the Chicago Area Council
and others as they gather to mark the 95th anniversary of the Owasippe Scout Reservation.  This milestone is a reflection of the values and commitment to service and stewardship that each Boy Scout is instilled with year after year at Camp Owasippe.  While the members of this distinguished organization celebrate 95 years of service at Owasippe, we offer our thanks for the many wonderful memories that this camp has provided to Boy Scouts throughout the Midwest.

The Owasippe Scout Reservation, originally called Camp White,
was officially opened in 1911.  Initially encompassing just 40 acres,
the camp is now situated on 4,800 acres in Blue Lake Township in West Michigan.  In the years that have followed since they first came
together to found Owasippe, the scouts have adapted to changes in
society, membership, and expectations, while remaining true and
steadfast to the values on which the boy scouts were founded.  Now in
its 95th year of existence, we recognize that while many years have
passed, we know that new generations of scouts will surely enjoy their
experiences at Owasippe for years to come.

As we celebrate its history, those who have had the distinct
privilege of attending camp at Owasippe remember the vision of those
who came before.   We are grateful to the people who established this
camp as one of the last true sanctuaries of a bygone era where the
values of self-reliance, community, service to others, and
conservation are made to endure in the lives of so many young people. 
Fittingly, as we look to the past, we also be cast an eye to the
future and to the many ways in which the Owasippe Scout Reservation
will continue to reach out to people across our nation.

IN SPECIAL TRIBUTE, Therefore, This document is signed and
dedicated to commemorate the 95th anniversary of the Owasippe Scout
Reservation.  We commend everyone who has contributed to the success of this camp and thank them for the manner in which they have contributed to the wellbeing of generations of young people.
David Farhat, State Representative
The Ninety-First District
The Ninety-Third Legislature
At Lansing, Michigan

Blue Lake Township Resolution Presented
Wednesday, July 12, 2006



WHEREAS, Owasippe Scout Camp is one of the largest Scout camps in the nation, and,

WHEREAS, Owasippe Scout Camp has provided services to many thousands of Scouts between the ages of 7 and 21, and,

WHEREAS, since approximately 1911, Owasippe Scout Camp has operated in the Township of Blue Lake, and,

WHEREAS, Owasippe Scout Camp is the largest private property in the Township of Blue Lake, consisting of more than 4,748 acres of land, and,

WHEREAS, outdoor activities have and will always play a critical role
in Scouting, and,

WHEREAS, on July 12th, the Owasippe Scout Reservation will enjoy its 95th anniversary, and,

WHEREAS, for 95 years the Owasippe Scout Reservation has developed the character, trained in citizenship, and promoted the mental, emotional and physical fitness of Scouts throughout the United States, and,

WHEREAS, as the oldest Boy Scout encampment in the United States of America, Owasippe Scout Reservation continues to be a premier camping experience, giving youth the opportunity to sail, swim, fish, camp, cook, and learn other Scout craft skills, and,

WHEREAS, leadership development is at the very core of Owasippe Scout Reservation, as part of their mission to serve others by helping to instill values in young people and in preparing them to make ethical
choices during their lifetime in achieving their full potential, and,

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Blue Lake Township Board does acknowledge and recognize 95 years of Scouting operations and the benefits that have been provided to hundreds of thousands of Scouts.

Further, that the Township of Blue Lake continues to support the
Owasippe Scout Reservation in and for every aspect of its service to
the youth of America.

Donald E. Studaven, Supervisor
Fred E. Arbogast Sr. Clerk
Melonie Arbogast Treasurer
Lyle Monette, Trustee          
Claretta Smith, Trustee

Scouts may be pitching tents for last time at Owasippe
Thursday, June 22, 2006
By Lynn Moore
Keith Kinslow can't bring himself to believe that this, the 95th
camping season at Owasippe Scout Reservation, could be the last.
The scoutmaster from Chicago will come to rural Blue Lake Township
Saturday for his 10th season of camping. He said he will not dwell on
the fact that a court fight now under way could result in homes
sprouting where only wilderness has reigned, and that his beloved
camping spot could be gone forever.
"We don't think that way," Kinslow said. "We can't think that way."
As campers like Kinslow prepare to return to the woods, attorneys are
getting ready for a court fight. On one side are attorneys for the
Chicago Area Council of Boy Scouts, which owns the camp but wants to
sell it. They have sued Blue Lake Township to try to force a rezoning
of the 4,780-acre property that would allow the sale of the property
for $19.4 million and the construction of as many as 1,278 new homes.
On the other side are lawyers for Blue Lake Township officials who
recently rejected the rezoning request, saying it would strain
township roads and services, destroy the nature of the township and
run counter to the wishes of township residents.
Round one of the fight will be Monday, when the two sides meet for a
pretrial conference in the courtroom of Muskegon County Circuit Judge William C. Marietti.   The Boy Scouts' attorney, Devin Schindler, said the circuit court lawsuit and a "mirror case" in federal court were filed because township officials have refused to talk to the Scouts. Trying to amend the rezoning request in an attempt to gain approval would be futile, he said.    "It's impossible to amend a rezoning request when you have no idea what specifically the township is looking for," Schindler said. "I have no idea why they won't talk to me."
Boy Scout officials say the current zoning represents illegal "taking" of the property because it denies nearly every "legitimate land use" and deprives the land of its value. The lawsuits claim Owasippe's zoning of forest recreation-institution is different from that of surrounding property and represents discrimination. They also claim the township's actions have denied the Boy Scouts their due process.
The Boy Scout Council claims lagging interest in camping has turned
the camp into a financial liability. The council has reported camp
operations have cost it $200,000 to $600,000 for each of the last
several years, and that an estimated $1 million to $3 million
investment is needed to repair camp facilities.
Kinslow said volunteers are keeping the camp facilities functioning
despite neglect from the council. He was among volunteers who spent
Memorial Day weekend -- and their own money -- at a camp work bee.
He called their efforts "a labor of love."
"Where else are these kids going to go when they start selling off
all these camps?" Kinslow said. A spokeswoman said no final decision
has been made about future camping.   The council has sold other camps over the years, leaving Owasippe as the only wilderness experience for Chicago-area Boy Scouts, said Ron Kron, a scoutmaster for a troop on Chicago's northwest side.
Kron, who has been camping at Owasippe for more than 20 years, said
he has a 19-year-old son who is working at the camp this year --
something he said he always wanted to do.  "I said 'Do it. You never
know what will happen with the camp,' " Kron said.  
"I've lived in Chicago my whole life, and you just can't see that
kind of stuff," he said. "I never thought there was such beauty three
hours away (from the city.)"   Kron will camp for two weeks in July,
taking in festivities that are planned to celebrate Owasippe's 95th
year, as well as quieter moments fishing on pristine Lake Wolverine.
He is hoping they won't be the last.
"No one really looks at it as what's best for the kids," Kron
said. "I had experiences as a kid that I still have memories of. It
just changes people."
©2006 Muskegon Chronicle

<<< Hotels and Motels >>>
- Best Western Inn & Suites of Whitehall; 866-737-8237, 231-893-4833; 2822 N Durham Road, Whitehall (east of US 31)
- Comfort Inn of Muskegon; 231-739-9092; 1675 E Sherman Blvd, Muskegon;
- Lake Land Motel; 231-894-5644; 1002 E Colby Street, Whitehall
- Maple Tree Inn; 231-894-4091; 323 S Mears, Whitehall.
- Montgomery Inn & Suites; 231-894-4339; 10233 N US31, Montague;
- Montague Mountain Inn; 231-893-2171; 9075 Water Street, Montague;
- Ramada Inn of Whitehall; 231-893-3030; US31 at Colby Road, Whitehall;  Reservations: 1-800-2Ramada.
- Super 8 Motel of Whitehall; 800-800-8000; 231-894-4848;  3080 Colby Road, Whitehall (just east of US31 behind the McDonalds)
- Weathervane Inn; 231-893-8931; 4225 Dowling Street in Montague (across from Dog n Suds);
<<< Bed & Breakfast Inns >>>
- A Finch Nest; 866-514-9355; 231-893-5323; 415 Division St, Whitehall;; email:
- Cocoa Cottage; 800-204-7596; 231-893-0674; 223 S Mears Ave, Whitehall;;  e:
- South Shore Bed & Breakfast; 866-828-6802; 231-828-6802;  2928 Middle Lake Road, Twin Lake;
- White Swan Inn; 888-948-7926; 231-894-5169; 303 S Mears in Whitehall;
For more information on these places, other local attractions, as well as a calendar of events for the White Lake and Montague  Communities, go to

Owasippe Outpost Programs Announced For 2006
* denotes FREE to CAC units
Astronomy (with work on Astronomy MB) - $4*
Backpacking Outpost (Camp Carlen; intro to backpacking and MB) - $5
Charles F Nagel COPE Course (near Camp Crown) - High course $12*, Low course $10*
Climbing (at Charles Nagel COPE Course; includes Climbing MB) - $5/hr for wall climbing; No Charge for MB work.
Diamond-O Ranch - trail rides $12*, Horsemanship MB $20
Fishing Outpost (Camp Wolverine's "Hawg Heaven") - Half day $5*, Full day $7*, Fishing MB $7*
Fossett Sailing Base(Camp Blackhawk)- Open sailing $4, Sailing MB $12
Photography Outpost (Camp Wolverine) - $12 includes camera and use of photo darkroom.
Tubing Outpost (White River) - $8 float trip by Pines Point, transportation included.
U.S.S. Silversides (Muskegon) - $20 for overnight stay on historic submarine; 7pm to 8am.
White River Canoe Trip - $10/canoe for half day or full day; overnight trips are available for added charge.  Includes transportation.  Certain safety prerequisites apply to qualify.
Wrangler Outpost (overnight ride, Diamond-O Ranch) - $24
[ * denotes FREE for CAC units; certain age restrictions may apply on outpost use; canoeing, sailing, and tubing requires scouts and adults to be tested 'swimmers', ie. buddy tags ]


NEW MB Requirements for Camping MB
Effective January 2006, it seems the requirements have changed somewhat for Camping MB.
Checkout the new Camping MB Requirements on USScout:

News Nuggets From Owasippe
July 10, 2005

> Dozens of "Save Owasippe" signs can be regularly seen in front of homes along Russell Road between Hwy 31 and Ad Center.  Units are urged to call the OOEC office in Muskegon to reserve a yard sign or banner for their unit campsites (231-733-0557).  There is a cost to purchase.  It is AWESOME that the community is united in its effort to preserve Owasippe for our Scouts!  We're all in this together.
> Bald Eagle families are again frequenting Owasippe and have nested at Camp Blackhawk.  Keep your eye to the sky and to the waters for these majestic fliers and expert fishermen.  We are blessed that they feel at ease and unthreatened at Owasippe.
> It has been rumored that a black bear was sighted or heard in sites at Camps Blackhawk and Carlen during 2nd period.  IF true, this would be the first such witnessed visits by the bruins at camp in over 60 years.  The Michigan black bear population has been reported to be increasing of late with some seeking newer territories to the southern parts of the Manistee NF.  For more info on "Ursus Americanus", go to
> Mosquito swatting is way down because of the drier conditions and lack of rain.  Extra care is being urged with campfires under these dry conditions.   Be mindful of your site's fireguard.
> The warmer and drier weather is making the waterfronts and pools more popular than ever.  This is a good time to stress the Safe Swim Defense Plan and Safety Afloat rules.  Also a good time to sharpen swim skills.
> Believe It Or Not...A rooster and a few hens have taken up residence in the vicinity of the Owasippe Museum.  They can run and fly rather quickly when approached.
> A new trading post at Camp Blackhawk is now situated between the dining hall and the Sterling Craft Lodge.  It was moved over from Camp Crown during staff-week and was originally built by Amish tradesmen some years ago.  A twin building was also moved over to old Wolverine South to serve as a director's residence.
> Blueberries are in season two weeks early this year...YUM.  Units travelling back home on Saturday should try to stop at a farmstand for some fresh berries for their cobbler (OR on the way to camp if it is on a Saturday).  Most of these farms can be found between New Buffalo and Grand Haven, biggest being Reenders Farm south of Grand Haven near West Olive Road and US-31.
> "Owasippe Forever" friendship bracelets and "Save Owasippe" bumper stickers are being sold around the section camps.  See your camp commissioner to be directed to a "merchant".  They sell for $2/each.
*** NOTE: I am looking for your personal camp experience and troop stories from this summer at Owasippe, especially those "testimonials" for doubting-Thomas CAC board members who have been brainwashed to be skeptical of Owasippe's relevance and value to Scouting.

Endangered Insect Could Bug Owasippe Land Developers
July 17, 2005
By Jeff Alexander
The Karner Blue butterfly doesn't have the name recognition or popular appeal of the bald eagle or grizzly bear, but it enjoys the same level of government protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.
That could complicate efforts to build homes in the 4,766-acre Owasippe Scout Reservation in Blue Lake Township and other private land in West Michigan, where the tiny blue butterflies reside.
A Holland developer has offered to buy Owasippe from the Chicago Council of Boy Scouts of America for $19.1 million. The developer wants to build homes on part of the site, which is largely natural and features several savannas -- open, grassy areas surrounded by large oak and pine trees -- where Karner Blue butterflies thrive.
"Owasippe is one of the best big areas of oak savanna remaining anywhere," said James Dunn, a Grand Valley State University associate biology professor studying Karner Blue butterflies.
Builders are attracted to oak savannas for the same reasons that lupine, a plant the Karner Blue relies on for its survival, thrives in the grassy areas. Oak savannas are natural clearings in forests that are usually high, dry, sunny and have sandy soils that provide good drainage.
"Savannas get developed quickly because there are few trees and they're open, so people build there and destroy the lupine," Dunn said.
Destroying lupine is a violation of the federal Endangered Species Act if Karner Blue butterflies, their larvae or eggs are found on the plants, said Todd Hogrefe, endangered species coordinator for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The 1973 law prohibits "taking" endangered species by killing, moving or harassing animals, plants, birds or insects protected by the statute.
"Even though you may not see any butterflies, removal of lupine could constitute a taking under the law because the Karner Blue's eggs are present year round where the butterflies are active," Hogrefe said.
Dunn said scientists and government officials don't do as good a job protecting endangered insects as they do other species. He said protecting the Karner Blue is important because it is an indicator species: Its presence is a sign of a healthy savanna ecosystem, which also supports wood grouse and deer.
"The Karner Blue is just as unique to West Michigan as the grizzly bear is to Montana ... it's just not as showy," Dunn said. "We don't do a good job in this country of protecting all the species because scientists have a big bias toward protecting mammals and birds."
Hogrefe said the presence of Karner Blue butterflies and wild lupine at Owasippe wouldn't prohibit all development. But he said the butterflies could force prospective developers to avoid some areas to preserve the lupine and protect the butterflies.
The Karner Blue is one of 19 plant and animal species at Owasippe that are threatened or endangered, including the bald eagle and Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake. A 2002 study documented 373 animal species and 718 plant species at the Boy Scout camp, and a sprawling oak savanna complex that might be the largest in Michigan.
The Endangered Species Act has been credited with saving the American bald eagle and several other animal species. Bald eagles were driven to the brink of extinction in the 1960s by the pesticide DDT.
But the law has sparked controversy because it has been used as a tool to reduce logging in the western United States, to protect the northern spotted owl, and to block construction of dams, golf courses and other projects in other states.
Some scientists and government officials believe residential development can co-exist with Karner Blue butterflies.   "It's possible to have some development and protect the Karner Blue's habitat," said Rex Ennis, a forest wildlife biologist for the U.S. Forest Service.  "When property owners are informed, we've found that a lot of them are willing to assist in providing more habitat for these types of endangered species."   Building houses, roads and driveways in natural areas inevitably destroys wildlife habitat, Ennis said, as does building golf courses in forests or shopping centers in farm fields. But he said builders and property owners can protect native plants and other natural features that support animals, birds, insects or fish.
Maintaining the lupine needed to support the Karner Blue can be difficult because the oak savanna where it thrives is a fire-dependent ecosystem, said John Legge of The Nature Conservancy's Michigan office. Without periodic fires, small trees fill in savannas, which drives out the lupine. And savannas, by their nature, are prone to wildfire, he said.    "A savanna is not a great place to build a house," he said. "Eventually there will be fire issues in these kinds of habitats."
Ennis said the bigger issue is finding a balance between economic development and the protection of wildlife habitat.
"Those counties where Karner Blue butterflies are found are experiencing some of the highest growth rates in Michigan," Ennis said. "Therein lies the concern about the landscape -- how is it changing and how are we planning to meet the needs of both of those objectives?"
© 2005 Muskegon Chronicle.
Copyright 2005 Michigan Live. All Rights Reserved.

***  For a related story on the Karner Blue Butterfly, go to...
"West Michigan The Focus of Fight To Save The Karner Blue Butterfly",

Keeping Mosquitoes Under Control While Camping
The Centers for Disease Control has just approved, in addition to DEET, two more options to deter mosquitos.  The article (URL below) describes these new recommendations.  HOWEVER, there is NO mention in this article that speaks to those other nasty creepy-crawlies which DEET has been used to repel -- ticks, chiggers, etc.
In an accompanying sidebar (URL below) there are greater details on
chemical compositions and usages for these products.
~Jay Thal

Is Your Homecoming At Owasippe Overdue?
For those of you who havent' been to Owasippe for awhile as a Scout or as a leader with a unit, isn't it about time you get reunited with the land you've called home and that you hold dear?   There isn't any better time than this summer or next to plan a trip to visit Owasippe while camp is in session to again relive the good ole days and get some real good positive flashbacks to the past.  And there's nothing better for the soul but to see a smile on a Scout's face as he enjoys himself with the gorgeous natural surroundings we've been blessed with at Owasippe since 1911.  Wouldn't you like to once again sit in on an opening campfire, hike to Paradise Valley or the Quaking Bogs, watch Scouts in action at one of the program areas, or take a good look at the eagles who now also call Owasippe "Home"?  
Checkout the White Lake Chamber of Commerce website for available accomodations and other events going on in the Owasippe neighborhood.  Go to:   And, if you want to spend a week up there, call Chicago Area Council about available cabins for rent and related costs at Reneker or along the Lake Wolverine Channel.  Call 312-421-8800 and ask for Camping Service.

Owasippe Opens for 94th Anniversary Season!
As last summer, Owasippe will operate section camps at Blackhawk and Wolverine, its Crown High Adventure Base, the Reneker Scouter Family Resort, and other outpost programs in 2005.    A new program customized just for Venture Crews premiers this summer at the Carlen Venture Base (see other web pages for more info).   Site and cabin reservations are now being entertained at the CAC Camping Service department.   2005 camper fees will be the same as they were in 2004 and Camp Reneker cabin fees for 2005 will see a $10/week increase (see below story).   Reservation forms, reservation fees, and program specifics can be found below and at the CAC website section on camping...
Last summer saw a marked increase in attendance over 2003, and reservations for summer camp 2005 are ahead of schedule.   Estimates have put last summer's attendance (2004) in excess of 3,800 youth and adults which is roughly 200 more than in 2003.     Bottom Line = Owasippe IS as popular as ever!!!   Be sure your unit has booked a site before they are all gone and take steps to "Leave No Scout Behind!".   And, if your unit has insufficient leaders to bring your unit, why not make arrangements with a neighboring unit to take your Scouts with whatever parents can still still provide them with this camping opportunity of a lifetime?
>>>-------->   Key Staff now named for 2005    <------------<<<
Reservation Director:  Greg Lange (
Asst Reservation Dir:  Pete Klaeser (
Blackhawk Camp Director:  Marilyn Kulak (
Carlen Venture Base Director:  Beth Ann Egan
High Adventure Director:  Heidi Schlichting (
Reneker Camp Director:  Candy Merritt (
Wolverine Camp Director:  Mike Campbell (
Camp staff  applications for the 2006 summer camp season are now being entertained.   Staff application forms are available via the link below.    Questions on staff positions or on campsite reservations for either 2005 or 2006 can be called in during work hours to the Director of Camping, Steve Adams, at 312-421-8800 or by emailing him at


Camper fees will be the same as they were in 2003/2004.   Leader fees  will be the same regardless of council affiliation @ $95/wk.   Camp Reneker cabin fees increased only by $10 from 2004.   Specifics follow:  
$180 p/Scout CAC units
$195 p/Scout Out-of-Council
$30 Late Fee after 05/31/05
$95 Leader Fee (all councils)
$25 deposit per Scout by 03/01/05
$100 reservation site deposit
NOTE: 2-week Stays Available AND Encouraged!

$225 pp/w/2 Ldrs - backpacking
$265 pp/w/1 Ldr - backpacking
$245 pp/w/2 Ldrs - combo trek
$315 pp/w/2 Ldrs - canoe trek only
$285 pp/Lone Scout Provisional Program

Treks are guided and utilize the North Country Trail in the Manistee National Forest.   Provisional signups are available for single or pairs of Scouts who cannot provide leadership.
Site and crew reservation fee @ $100 per week locks in a specific campsite of your choice and is credited toward final fees at camp due June 15.  An initial per-Scout deposit of $25 is due by March 1 and is credited toward final boy fees.
WEBELOS II RESIDENT CAMP BACK AT OWASIPPE  in 2005 by popular demand.    The outdoor camping program for Webelos and their parents will be hosted at Camp Wolverine during Owasippe's 6th period (Sunday to Thrs).   The cost is expected to be at least $148 for youth and $65 for adults (not yet firmly set).   Cub Packs will need to submit a unit reservation fee of $50 to lock in a campsite followed by a $25-per-Webelos deposit by March 15th.   The remainder of the fees need to be remitted by May 31st, otherwise a late fee of $20 per person will be charged if this fee comes in later.   Each Cub Pack is asked to select a coordinator for this activity.
$$$ CAMPER$HIP$ ARE AVAILABLE TO CAC UNITS AND CAN BE APPLIED FOR BY UNIT LEADERSHIP.    With such funding available, there should be NO financial reason for a Scout NOT attending Owasippe in 2005.  Out-Of-Council units should check with their home councils for the availability of financial assistance and camperships. 

Camp Reneker sports 40 family cabins, a swimming pool and lessons, interactive events, campfire programs, nature trail, archery course, and a program area featuring crafts and games for smaller children. Children can enroll into various programs based on age-groups. Families can sign into as much or as little as they want. For 2005, the one-week fee for a cabin and program will be $220 with a related unit in camp  and $320 if NO UNIT Is in camp at the same time.
Reservations for sites and/or cabins can be called in to the CAC Camping Department at 312-421-8800 x227.   They can take a credit card over the phone.  Below are two registratin form (pdf) links for your use... 

> 2005 Owasippe Site Application

> Reneker Family Camp/Cabin Registration Form

Owasippe Wish List '04
Much Needed Equipment and Supplies for OSR...
Head Ranger Al Geisler has assembled his wish list of critical needs to help him operate Owasippe this summer and in the off-season.   He is always impressed by the generosity of the Scouters and volunteers who always have come through with their time and efforts as well as what they can scrounge. While minimum supplies are noted, any donations will be graciously accepted. Feel free to contact Al or Steve Adams, Director of Camping, with any questions on this list or to make arrangements for delivery.
Assorted handtools
Batteries, 9-volt
Carbon monoxide detectors
Cleaner, general use (in gals)
Engine Oil, various grades (Call)
Floor Wax (in gals)
Flourescent ceiling fixtures, 4-foot
Flourescent lightubes, 4-foot
Generator, 45-killowatt
Hammers, claw
Lightbulbs, 60-watt incandescent
Lightbulbs, 100-watt incandescent
Lightbulbs, 200-watt incandescent
Lightbulbs, 60-watt buglights
Lightbulbs, 250-watt outdoor spotlights
Mops and handles
Nails, assorted types and sizes (Call)
Paint, exterior & marine (Call)
PFDs, Life Preservers / replacements
Photocopier, general heavy duty office use
Rakes, heavy duty
Refrigerators for Camp Reneker Cabins
Rescue Tubes
Sailboat parts, misc sizes & types (Call)
Screws, 2-in drywall (in boxes)
Screws, 3-in drywall (in boxes)
Screws, 4-in drywall (in boxes)
Shovels and spades
Smoke Detectors, 9-volt
Stake Truck
Water Heaters, 80-gal electric
Water Heaters, 80-gal gas
Window Cleaner (in gals)
Contact Head Ranger Al Geisler with your questions and commitments at 231-894-8710 or via e-mail at  You can also contact Director of Camping Steve Adams at 312-421-8430 x227 or via e-mail at   

OSA Takes On Various Camp Projects
The Owasippe Staff Association Board of Directors have agreed to adopt two miles of road for cleanup at least three times per year, one stretch heading west from Ad Center along Silver Creek Road and another stretch going equal distant from Ad Center north and south along Russell Road.  The OSA is proud to add this effort to its list of projects for camp upkeep and renovation.

Assigned workers will be provided with luminescent vests and garbage bags but will probably have to provide their own work gloves.  It's just another way to show the local community that we are good neighbors and are taking responsibility for keeping our area clean...AND that we have no intention of throwing in the towel on this camp's future!
Per Jim S... "GREAT RECOGNITION GIVEN TO THE OWASIPPE STAFF ASSOCIATION!  The adoption of a portion of Silver Creek and Russell Roads was acknowledged with a rendering of the County Road Commission signs at the meeting.   I saw the actual sign posted on Silver Creek Road going to the meeting...THEY LOOK GREAT!  May, August and October are the clean-up months.  This is great PR and the timing couldn't be better!"
The OSA also has purchased one tool kit each for Wolverine, Blackhawk, Reneker and High Adventure.   These were presented to the camps on the first day of staff week.
Each Tool Kit Includes:
- tool box
- 51 piece tool kit
- hand saw
- staple gun
- pack of staples
- pack of spare utility knife blades
- carpenter's pencil
The OSA has also acquired safety vests, work gloves, and garbage liners for the road crews who will be policing Silver Creek and Russell Roads through the year.  Other equipment acquisitions to support the camps as recommended by the camp directors are under review by the OSA board.

Carlen Venture Base To Premier At Owasippe In 2005
This new base begins to accept reservations on December 1, 2004, for
the Summers of 2005 and 2006 on a first come, first serve basis!!
The Carlen Venture Base  (CVB) is nestled at the southern edge of the Manistee National Forest in Owasippe Scout Reservation just 6 miles east of Whitehall and Montague, Michigan.
This is not your little brother's summer camp experience!  No Way! 
The base has been designed with your Venture Crew and older Scouts in mind...more action, more options, more flexibility, more down time !
One example...Meals are served when your crew wants to eat within a
given time frame... Your Crew runs your program!
Every Crew based on the trek you sign up will do the following....
Overnight horse back trek, all day canoe trek all the way into
Whitehall-Montague, challenge and build your crew at COPE and the climbing tower, hike scenic trails, sail your own boat on Big Blue Lake, perform a service project, lay out at the pool, fish, listen to music, work on your Bronze Award, enjoy some evening snacks...or just hang out  ... 
Your crew decides!!   Space for 2005 is limited!   Per person cost is $205/week, youth and adult, for ALL program events and meals.
Here are the weeks Carlen Venture base will operate in 2005:
Period       I:   June 26 – July 2
Period      II:   July 3 – July 9
Period     III:   July10 – July 16
Period      IV:   July 17 – July 23
Period       V:   July 24 – July 30
Period      VI:   July 31 – Aug 6
To join the Carlen mailing list or for a reservation form...      
contact Steve Adams, Director of Camping, 312-421-8800 x226, or email him at!   All it will cost to make a crew  reservation is to pay for one camper fee upfront.
Presentation of this exciting new base will begin at Chicago Area
Council District Roundtables in November as well as at the Venture
Meeting on October 29th in Chicago at the Columbia Yacht Club.   
Gordon P. Stiefel, Chairman, Carlen Venture Base Committee
Joesph P. Sener, Chairman, Owasippe Program Committee
Steve Adams, Director of Camping

BY Ray Toler, CAC Fort Dearborn District Webmaster
Punishment Includes Reprimands and Suspensions 
12/30/04--Christmas Eve is normally the time for Christmas cards but this year’s mail brought a different type of greeting for three local Scouters.  Ron Kulak, John Hosty, and Dr. Francis Podbielski each received certified letters from the Chicago Area Council citing infractions and dispensing punishment including in two cases suspension of membership.
Ron Kulak, a 40-year veteran of Scouting, received a certified mail delivery at his home on Christmas Eve.  The letter, which was signed by Scout Executive Jim Stone, Council President Lewis Greenblatt, and Council Commissioner Mark Linse, cited Kulak for "promotion and encouragement of youth involvement at the protest rally held in September" after being advised in advance by the Council Commissioner that he was not to involve youth members. 
As punishment for this insubordination, the letter informed him that he was to have his membership in Scouting suspended for a period of one year during which time he “may not participate in any Scouting meetings, activities, outings, or events, or enter any property owned or operated by the Boy Scouts."    In addition, the letter informed him, failure to comply could result in more severe punishments such as permanent revocation of membership.
A similar letter was delivered to Dr. Francis Podbielski.  Dr. Podbielski, a very long-time Scouter and physician/surgeon, was informed that disciplinary action was being taken against him stemming from “intentional and repeated bumping, followed by blocking the pathway, of a fellow Scouter at the meeting on December 1, 2004.”
In a less severe punishment than Kulak, Dr. Podbielski will have his membership suspended for a period of 90 days followed by a probation until the conclusion of 2005.
In the certified letter he received, COR John Hosty was reprimanded for unacceptable behavior which included making a “mockery of the merit badge program and [making] misleading statements to youth regarding completion of merit badge requirements at the protest rally held in September” and “making false and misleading statements at Scouting meetings.”  No description as to the content of Mr. Hosty’s “misleading” statements was given.
Although he received no suspension for these actions, Mr. Hosty was told to consider the letter to be a strong warning regarding his inappropriate behavior.  He was also informed that failure to modify his current behavior could result in revocation of his membership.
The suspended Scouters may appeal the decision within 30 days by submitting a written request to Counsel Attorney Louis Vitullo. Upon receipt of the written request by Mr. Vitullo, a committee will be appointed to review the situation.  A letter setting forth the findings will then be sent to them.  
The members were informed that they will not be allowed to attend the review and the committee’s decision will be final.   All three of the men who were disciplined have been vocally critical of the policies of the current Council administration in recent months and have been active in movements to save Owasippe Scout Reservation and reform the Council.  There had been discussion among some volunteers recently concerning nominating Dr. Podbielski for the post of Council President due to his long tenure as a front-line Scouter.
Both Kulak and Hosty have openly opposed the re-nomination of Lewis Greenblatt as Council President and have circulated emails critical of Greenblatt, Jim Stone and Mark Linse, the Council Key Three who signed the certified letters.
Although many volunteers feel that the Council punishment of opposition members seems to come at a critical time during an impasse in the Council election process and an ongoing string of slow-moving Summit Reform meetings, political activity was not mentioned in the letters as a reason for the current action.

Ron Kulak Suspension Letter Clarification
[Note: The Sept 4th Save Owasippe and Reform CAC Protest Rally was open to ALL including Scouters, Scouts, parents, campstaff, and other interested parties as citizens willing to peacefully assemble to express their opinions and to receive information in a public setting as guaranteed under the US Constitution.  As a matter of fact, a protest permit was formally applied for with the City of Chicago to secure police protection and we opened the gathering with the Scout Oath and Law and the Pledge of Allegiance.  Obviously, Scouts could only attend with parental permission and only attended in the company of their parents and/or unit leaders.  Uniforming and attendance by all was a personal choice.  The alleged insubordination is refuted by others and there was no written "command" or "directive".]
Dr Francis Podbielski Suspension Letter Clarification
"This letter is to advise you that your recent behavior has crossed the
line of acceptability for Scouting.  Your intentional and repeated bumping, followed by blocking the pathway, of a fellow Scouter at the meeting on December 1, 2004, is un-Scoutlike and inappropriate behavior.  Please be advise that this unacceptable behavior will not be tolerated by the Chicago Area Council."
[Note: The above alleged incident occurred at the last convened CAC Annual Meeting for purposes of voting on four submitted board and member at large slates.   The "Scouter" referred to is a CAC council professional who tried to get by Dr Podbielski to escort a visiting newspaper reporter out of the room away from board members he was trying to interview for commentary.  The reporter departed before this employee got to him.]
John Hosty Jr Warning and Letter of Reprimand Clarification
"This letter is to advise you that your recent behavior has crossed the
line of acceptability for Scouting. Your mockery of the merit badge
program and misleading statements to youth regarding completion of merit badge requirements at the protest rally held in September are
unacceptable, as are other false and misleading statements made by you at Scouting meetings. Please be advised that this unacceptable behavior will no longer be tolerated by the Chicago Area Council.
Please consider this letter a strong warning regarding your
inappropriate behavior.  Should you fail to modify your behavior, further action will be taken which may include revocation of your membership."
[Note: At the Sept 4th protest rally, Mr Hosty explained how Scouts could use their attendance in the day's events to qualify for certain civic-related merit badge requirements.  "False and misleading statements" have not been specifically identified by the Council.  John Hosty often has used sarcasm and satire in his commentary but has also taken the opportunity in various settings to point out known facts to gatherings of Scouter volunteers.]


ABOVE PICTURE...  Some things change, some things don't.... 
Above is a photo of one of the oldest troops in the U.S.A. Troop 1 of the United Methodist Church, Park Ridge, Illinois.   The photo is of Troop 1 on its first summer camp adventure in 1912 near Whitehall, Michigan.  Seated to the left side of the photo: Milton Wood, Everet Carpenter, Richard Ryuson. Standing: Silas Woody, Donald Dickenson, Scoutmaster Charles M. Dickenson. Seated right side of photo: Robert Meacham, Willie Woody. Prone: Lawrence Willie, Duane Morris, Harold Brown. Everet Carpenter's parents had a middle school named after the family from the 1800's and a street in our town was named after the family name of Meacham.
Charles M. Dickenson, the Scoutmaster pictured above, was a friend of the Chicago publisher Boyce who met Lord Baden Powell and brought the idea of Scouting back to the U.S.

Troop 1 of Park Ridge is one of the oldest if not the oldest continous chartered troop in the U.S.A. The picture was taken at Camp White near Whitehall, Michigan. Troop 1 and the First United Methodist church were major contributors to starting up this summer camp.  That camp is now known as "Owasippe", America's oldest operating Scout camp used by thousands of Scouts from Chicago, the outlying Metro area, and throughout the US.  

-- As reported by Arthur Steinke in 2000

Owasippe Gets "A-rating" & Is Taking 2005 Reservations
A Regional BSA team gave "A-ratings" to all facets of Owasippe's operation during a reservation-wide inspection conducted on Wednesday, June 30th.  These favorable grades included the Blackhawk, Wolverine, Ad Center/High Adventure, and COPE operations.  Camp Reneker is excluded from this inspection as it only caters to families of Scouters and is otherwise exempt from this BSA scrutiny.  Special commendations were also passed on to Ryan Gust and Phil Kaufman on their expertly managed and arranged Scoutcraft program areas at both Camps Wolverine and Blackhawk, respectively.  Kudos to the Owasippe Staff on a job well done!
2005 Reservations are being taken for campsites at Camps Blackhawk and Wolverine as well as for Reneker cabins.     The reservation form does require a site deposit per unit of $100 for each week attending Owasippe. 
However, please note that there is a clause at the bottom of the camp reservation form that bears close scrutiny...
"Cancellations cause a forfeiture of deposit unless requested by December 15, 2004." ... followed by...
"The Chicago Area Council reserves the right to cancel or change 2005 camp reservations to accomodate the needs of the council.  The Council also reserves the right to operate some, all, or none of the campsites and programs previously delivered.  In any event, the Council will notify the individual that initiated the reservation and they may receive a full refund of all fees paid if requested within the allotted period of time."
"2005 Camp Fees will be set by October 15, 2004."
Owasippe's stated camp periods for 2005 are as follows:
> Period 1...June 26 - July 2
> Period 2...July 3 - 9
> Period 3...July 10 - 16
> Period 4...July 17 - 23
> Period 5...July 24 - 30
> Period 6...July 31 - August 6
For the most up-to-date information on the 2005 summer camp season at Owasippe regarding reservations, programs, contacts, and fees, go to the Chicago Area Council website on Owasippe...

Owasippe Forms & Leader's Guide Online
Make your preparations for the 2005 Owasippe season with the below reservation forms for unit sites and Reneker family cabins, for camp staff applications, and for a copy of the 2004 Leader's Program Guide. 

> 2004 Leader's Program Guide

2005...Owasippe Supplies Wish List
Head Ranger Al Geisler has assembled his wish list of critical needs to help him operate Owasippe this summer and in the off-season.  He is always impressed by the generosity of the Scouters and volunteers who always have come through with their time and efforts as well as what they can scrounge.   While minimum supplies are noted, any donations will be graciously accepted.   Feel free to contact Al with any questions on this list or to make arrangements for delivery.
100Batteries, 9-volt
 20Carbon monoxide detectors
 15Cleaner, general use (in gals)
tbaEngine Oil, various grades (Call)
  5Floor Wax (in gals)
 18Flourescent ceiling fixtures, 4-foot
 30Flourescent lightubes, 4-foot
  1Generator, 45-killowatt
tbaHammers, claw
 60Lightbulbs, 60-watt incandescent
 40Lightbulbs, 100-watt incandescent
 20Lightbulbs, 200-watt incandescent
 30Lightbulbs, 60-watt buglights
 10Lightbulbs, 250-watt outdoor spotlights
 30Mops and handles
tbaNails, assorted types and sizes (Call)
tbaPaint, exterior & marine (Call)
 25PFDs, Life Preservers / replacements
  1Photocopier, general heavy duty office use
  2Rescue Tubes
tbaSailboat parts, misc sizes & types (Call)
  2Screws, 2-in drywall (in boxes)
  2Screws, 3-in drywall (in boxes)
  2Screws, 4-in drywall (in boxes)
 10Shovels and spades
 10Smoke Detectors, 9-volt
  1Stake Truck
  4Water Heaters, 80-gal electric
  3Water Heaters, 80-gal gas
  5Window Cleaner (in gals)
For a more extensive wish-list that includes program items, go to the CAC website at
Contact Head Ranger Al Geisler with your questions and commitments at 231-894-8710 or via email at or contact the CAC Camping Department at 312-421-8430 x227.
Donor letters will gladly be prepared for employers or institutions willing to make these contributions.

First Period of Owasippe's 94th Season Has Begun

> Registrations are up
> Staff spirit and enthusiasm are high
> Program is rarin' to go
> Rockets are ready to be launched
> Horses can't wait to be saddled
> Rowboat paddles want to get wet
> Sailboats were patched and painted and ready for Big Blue
> The Chris Hill COPE Tower beckons those who yearn to climb & reach
> Owasippe's wondrous 4,600 acres are begging to be discovered
> Vegetation is lush and thick and the prettiest green you'll see
> Expanding patches of prickly pear cactus are exploding with their vivacious yellow flowers
> Water levels are up everywhere from heavy Spring/Summer rains...even Mud Lake is filled and Vigil Cove is connected to Lake Wolverine.
> Mosquitoes are not in short supply...bzzzzzz
> Songs of innumerable birds fill the air including our newest visitors, a pair of loons on Lake Wolverine
> Chipmunks are eager to play hide and seek with passers-by
> An eaglet was born in the BH aerie and is now stretching its wings
> Wild turkeys abound (be careful driving) with many broods
> Lake Wolverine mute swan families are on the rise and have been joined by Canadian Geese
> A 36" Northern Pike was caught in Lake Wolverine and fishing is AG
> The Owasippe sky is exploding with heavenly stars and planets...Awesome! One may even get a glimpse of the aurora borealis.
> And the look of amazement in a young Scout's eyes is worth the price of admission...and worth the volunteer efforts of our Scouters!
Isn't it GREAT to go back home to "All the wealth of earth and heaven"?
But, behold, a cloud is arising on this peaceful aspect.
There are those in authority who may have been misled about Owasippe's real intrinsic value (or lack of same) and there are those who would dismember "America's Premier Scout Camp" just to feed an endowment fund and who do not embrace our outdoor values nor what we care about and love.  To those removed from camp and hunkered down in a Loop office, Owasippe seems to be only about cash flow and its financial effect on someone's bottom line...not about the universal appeal to Scouts, not about incredible program opportunities, not about an ideal camping venue with room to roam, not about a natural wilderness treasure hosting beautiful fauna and rare species, and certainly not about its Scouting heritage.
Let's get the CAC Board in a big bus and drive them up there for the sights and sounds of "Camp" and see all the activity going on and the big smiles on the faces of our Scouts enjoying "all the wealth of earth and heaven".  Owasippe is soooo much more than a line-item on a ledger sheet.  It's time to touch and feel...not just listen to lip service from those with a different agenda.
Save Owasippe And Keep Her Intact!!!
Say it LOUD and say it PROUD to the CAC Board of Directors!
PS:  Don't forget that you have the opportunity to make a contribution to the Save Owasippe Fund c/o Owasippe Staff Association, PO Box 7097, Westchester, IL keep alive the effort to acquire Owasippe, intact, and to keep it ALL open to Scouting.  All proceeds will go to help the Owasippe Outdoor Education Center campaign to preserve Owasippe for generations to come.

OSR Staff Available For Questions & Ideas
Leaders and interested parties who seek answers to specific camp program questions or who would like to contribute an idea may contact the 2004 Owasippe administration below.  You will find them quite accessible and engaging as well as helpful, friendly, courteous, and kind...and even downright cheerful!
> Reservation Dir Bill Van Berschot:
> Asst Reserv Dir Pete Klaeser:
> Camp Blackhawk Dir Marilyn Kulak:
> Camp Wolverine Dir Mike Campbell:
> High Adventure Dir Heidi Schlichting:
> Reneker Family Camp Dir Candy Merritt:
CAUTION... After June 18, the above individuals may have limited or no access to their email as most will be at Owasippe and internet access at camp is questionable.
Once summer camp is in operation on June 19, calls may be placed directly to the Owasippe Ad-Center at 231-894-4061 and faxes to 231-893-6531.  Owasippe's summer mailing address is P.O. Box 152, Whitehall, MI 49461-0152.  At this time, we are not aware of access to any general camp email box.
For Owasippe pdf form links, go to "Owasippe Overview" on the Scarlet Sassafras website at the bottom left of that page at...  More forms such as youth medicals and tour permits can be found on the CAC website at under "Camping", then "Owasippe" along with the 2004 Leader & Program Guide.

Staff Association Starts New Fundraiser
The OSA (The Owasippe Staff Assoc) has established a "gift card" program representing a large array of retailers, ie. restaurants, home repair centers, department stores, gas stations, grocery stores, movie theatres...just to name a few.    Most of these retailers are places you already frequent and spend money at.  While these are great personal gifts, these are also handy items just to have handy for week-to-week purchases.   The OSA is not asking you to do anything out of the ordinary and not in keeping with what you would have spent at these places, anyway.   The OSA is asking you to first consider buying the cards or certificates through them, however, as a way of helping them raise funds.
There is no surcharge or fee to you for purchasing these cards.   When you use them, you get full value.   The gift cards (or certificates in some cases) are just like cash.   In a few cases, there may be an expiration date but, generally, that is at least a year out.
The OSA, as a broker, earns a commission for each card sold...and the commission varies per retailer.    Commissions earned by the OSA will help support its not-for-profit operations such as its website and newsletter as well as its upcoming service projects at Owasippe Scout Reservation in Michigan, ie. Spring and Fall Fix-its, CIT Orientation and Training, Special Scout Camp Projects and Purchases, New Member Recruitment, etc.
If interested in purchasing the cards, you can order them directly with the OSA's "Gift Card Maven", Tricia Monahan, by making the checks payable to the "OSA" and mailing that and the order form (see link below) to her at 13606 Arrowhead Ct, Orland Park, IL 60462.   For delivery at the OSA Picnic in August, the OSA asks that orders are placed with Tricia no later than August 15th.   To make other delivery arrangements, contact Tricia at or by calling her at 708-403-4506.    While orders will be featured in the OSA newsletter once each three months, they can also be submitted to Tricia directly at any time.
I hope you'll consider using the program...AND please consider forwarding this message to a friend, relative or co-worker!!!
Click-open the below link for a program flyer with a list of participating vendors and for an order form...

>>> OSA Gift Card Order Form & Flyer

Raining Cats, Dogs, Frogs, Turtles, etal At Owasippe
Heavy rains send area rivers up to brim - May, 10, 2004
By Lynn Moore, The Muskegon Chronicle
Heavy rains that pounded the area Sunday have prompted flood warnings in northern Muskegon and Newaygo counties as the Muskegon and White rivers continue to rise above flood stage.   Authorities closely watched the Hesperia Dam on the White River last Sunday as water inched up higher.  Residents were warned to be prepared for evacuation, though an actual order to leave was never issued.
Conditions seemed to be improving this morning in Hesperia, though waters were still rising -- and flood warnings remained in effect -- on the White River north of Whitehall and the Muskegon River at Newaygo, authorities reported.   Numerous roads were washed out in Newaygo County, cottages and canoe liveries on the White River (ie. Happy Mohawk) were flooded north of Whitehall and there was water over some roads in Oceana County, authorities reported.
The flooding was caused by waves of storms that passed through the region and brought as much as 5 inches of rain to some areas since Friday night a week ago, said George Wetzel, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids.
At times, rain came down at a rate of an inch to 1-1/2 inches per hour, Wetzel said. The water came down so fast, the ground was unable to absorb it, he said.  "The ground saturates only so fast ... the water has to run off somewhere," Wetzel said.  The area remains at risk for flooding as rain is expected to continue over the next four days.  "It was affecting almost every river and stream in (Newaygo) county," Wetzel said. "Our biggest problem was ... creeks and streams were approaching bank level. Numerous roads were washed out there."
The White River north of Whitehall is expected to crest tonight at 6.7 feet, the highest since 1967, when it crested at 6.8 feet, Wetzel said. Flood stage is considered at 6 feet.   The National Weather Service issued numerous warnings and watches including a watch for the Hesperia Dam.  Officials were concerned it would fail, as it did in the mid-1980s.   In 1986, a new emergency spillway was built and Sunday was the first time it was tested, said Hesperia Police Chief Dale Gibbs. Uncertain how the spillway would hold up, officials notified residents over radio and TV announcements to be aware the dam was at a "critical stage" and they should be prepared for possible evacuation. Evacuation orders were never issued, and the flood watch was lifted.
Officials had to rope off the dam, which is located in the center of Hesperia on the border of Oceana and Newaygo counties, because of so many onlookers, Gibbs said.   "You could not believe the people who wanted to go out and stand on it," he said.   Officials also were keeping a close eye on the new bridge at Division Street about 75 yards from the dam, Gibbs said.
Wetzel said rain is expected for the next four days, including possible severe weather today (Monday, May 10) and again on Thursday.
© 2004 Muskegon Chronicle. Used with permission
Webmaster Note:  9" of rain was recorded just on Sunday, May 9, in Ron Humbert's rain gauge not far from Russell Road at Cleveland Creek.   Owasippe got deluged continuously for the next two weeks into the weekend of May 22nd when more heavy rain created washouts on camp roads and caused Gerken Creek (aka Brown Turtle Creek) at Camp Blackhawk to swell to 2-times its normal size.   The National Weather Service and local meteorologists were calling for continued rain in West Michigan which would further saturate the ground, cause streams to overflow, and strain the dams in the area.   For more recent info on the recent rains and flooding, go to this Muskegon Chronicle newslink:

Wild Turkeys At Owasippe

Did You Say...TURKEY?
As you travel Owasippe's trails and The North Country Trail or as you drive around the reservation, you may indeed have a close encounter of the gobbler kind with these interesting denizens of the woods.   Back in the late 80s, the DNR introduced wild turkeys back to their native habitat of two centuries ago.   They like to travel as a clan (errr, herd, gaggle, whatever) and they can be often found early or late in the day...but not around noisy campsites.


An added benefit to attending Owasippe is the option available of taking a 25-50+ mile bicycle trek on a groomed trail (now a State park or bike-way) called the Hart- Montague Bicycle Trail. It is a result of the state's effort called "Rails To Trails" that has made this a reality and in real close proximity to Owasippe, Just 8 miles from Ad Center. There is a small cost for a riding permit, $2/person or $5/family, via the White Lake Chamber of Commerce, however the great recreation and scenery far outweighs the meager expense. A trail-spur was recently  completed and continues on into downtown Montague by the World's Largest Weather Vane and south past Dog N Suds, crossing the White River on a NEW bike/ped/fishing bridge and platform, and continuing on past the Whitehall Chamber of Commerce train car and finishing at the Whitehall Public Library.  For more info and a map on this trail (also can be used by snowmobilers), click on to the below links.

> Hart-Montague Bicycle Trail

Health Lodge Available For Weekend Rentals!

>>>  $200/2 nights...or... $125/1 night

The Owasippe Health Lodge makes for a good dormitory in the off-season with several private bedrooms, one large room (the infirmary) with about 12 beds, a kitchen with elect/stove, fridge and hot water, electric baseboard heat, bathrooms with showers, and an office or small meeting room.   It has all electric utilities.  Bare bones on, bring your own.

Winter activities can include cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, sledding on a nice long run behind Tent City, local events in town such as bowling alley and theatre, local centers of interest in Muskegon like the Gillette Nature Center and USS Silversides, and the Muskegon Winter Sports Park which includes a luge course open to the public.  Of course, the Owasippe E. Urner Goodman Museum can be opened for you upon request.

The first rental was for the weekend of Feb 13-15 to the Dave Meyer family.
Per Al Geisler, Owasippe's Head Ranger... "Owasippe has the health lodge open for weekend rental and it has a kitchen, 15 beds, two showers, one bath tub/shower, five toilets, water-both cold and hot, and room for cots if necessary.   We do not have cable TV, linen, towels, toiletries, cook wear, eating ware, or any food stuffs.   Maid service is terrible and housekeeping is as good as you make it.   We do not put mints on the pillows as we have no pillows.
However we let you use 4765 acres of pristine woods that are unbelievably beautiful.  We try to have it snow 2 to 4 inches every other night so the trees are covered.  You can still hear the coyotes howl at the moon and watch out for the deer.  The eagle did not fly south for the winter so watch out for the fish you throw on the ice and the small animals you may bring with you.  Bring your snow shoes, cross country skies, ice fishing equipment, and sleds.
As you can see there is more to the health lodge than just a place to stay.   You will find good friends, great country, and two full days of therapy.  This experience is priceless and we are embarassed that we have put such a meager price on it.   We would be offended if you didn't come up and see us."
All Camping Reservations (OSR & HOEC) go through Sandie Gromala at the CAC Service Center, 312-421-8800 ext. 226.



Some Camp Staff Positions Still Available
Chicago Area Council BSA is still entertaining applications for its 2004 summer camp staff at Owasippe.   Some staff positions are open including camp commissioner, department head, instructors, wranglers, store clerks, maintenance staff, and counselors-in-training (CITs).   Camps to be staffed will be Blackhawk, Wolverine, and Reneker (family camp) and for the Manistee Quest high adventure and outpost programs.  Applications will be accepted regardless of Council affiliation.
CAC has chosen veteran Owasippe staffman Bill Van Berschot to be the
summer reservation director at Owasippe for 2004 who will be serving in his third consecutive summer in this capacity.    Those wishing to communicate directly with Bill about a staff position, unit and reservation question, or a program idea, can do so at
Summer camp positions will run on or before June 19 through August 9.
CIT (counselor-in-training) positions are for those who will be of Star Rank, age 14-15, in the 9th grade, have been summer campers for at least 3 years, and can get their Scoutmaster's approval.  They may participate at Owasippe anywhere from 4-7 weeks, their choice.  CITs will go through a weekend orientation and a week-long training regimen.   Female CITs are also being accepted for the Reneker family camp program.   Specific questions and applications for the CIT program are being administered by Mary Beth Niziol who can be reached at 708-562-4874 or via
Regular Campstaff must be age 16 by the opening day of camp...NO EXCEPTIONS!  Staff application forms can be received by calling the Chicago Area Council camping center at 312-421-8800.  Staff application forms are also available from the Chicago Area Council website at...
Further questions on staffing can be called in or emailed to the Chicago Area Council director of camping at 312-421-8800 x227 or to the 2004 reservation director, Bill Van Berschott at
THERE ARE ALSO VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES FOR ONE OR TWO WEEKS OR MORE FOR ADULT STAFF, ie. commissioners, area instructors and coaches.   Please consider sharing your talents with our staff and Scouts and be sure to refer a qualified friend.
Please also help us recruit good talent from within your unit and district or even those whom you work with or know personally.
More information on Owasippe camp staff opportunities and program as wll as the key camp leadership for 2004 can be found in this website at the below link...

Camp Staff And More

Owasippe Summer Program Features

Key Owasippe Management Named For 2004

CAC Director of Camping, Steve Adams, has announced the following selections for the 2004 Owasippe summer camp management team:
* Reservation Director: Bill Van Berschot
* Asst Reservation Director: Pete Klaeser
* Head Ranger:  Al Geisler
* Director, Camp Blackhawk:  Marilyn Kulak
* Director, Camp Reneker:  Candy Merritt
* Director, Camp Wolverine:  Mike "Buda" Campbell
* High Adventure Director:  Heidi Schlichting
The abovenamed will be conducting interviews on the dates and at the locations noted below for the purpose of assembling their staffs.  Programming for the 2004 summer camp season is also under review and will be discussed in detail after January 1 at leader meetings and locations yet to be determined.  Notices of such meetings will be sent out to all units who have registered for a campsite or a hi-adventure trek.

OSA Joins White Lake Chamber Of Commerce
In September, the Owasippe Staff Association joined the White Lake Area Chamber Of Commerce to exhibit its solidarity with the Whitehall and Montague communities, to forge new working relationships, and to publicly proclaim its dedication to the preservation of Owasippe and the culture of Blue Lake Township.   Kudos to the OSA for this wonderful PR move.  The chamber of commerce was responsible for getting Owasippe its start in 1910 with a donation of 40 acres of land on Crystal Lake (aka Owasippe Lake).
The White Lake Chamber Of Commerce has its offices and visitors' center in the old train depot in Whitehall, just south of the White River bridge.  We would encourage all friends of Owasippe to visit Whitehall and Montague during the offseason and even when you come up to visit Owasippe during the summer.   The scenic area has much to offer with stores, parks, recreation, B&Bs, and a variety of events for families and friends.  
Check out their website at...

> The Owasippe Staff Assoc



Summer Camp At Owasippe For $10/week?

Ten days at Owasippe for $10?   Stay ALL SUMMER for just $49.50?   How about kicking in round-trip transportation to Owasippe for the mere sum of $3.50?   How is this possible?   It is if you happen to have a time capsule that can transport you back in time to the summer of 1932.

The operating camps at that time were Beard, Blackhawk, Checaugau, McDonald (later renamed "Stuart"), West, and Belnap.  According to the camp map at that time, Belnap was located where Hi-Beach now is located, Blackhawk is where it is now, and Checaugau in situated at the Old Blackhawk site.   Camp ran from July 11th to August 20th back then.    Scouts slept in old Army "squad tents" which camped 6-8 Scouts on bunk beds over wooden floorboards.   Yet, the five primary program areas back then were exactly as they are today.

R. Douglas Stuart of Quaker Oats was the President of Chicago Area Council.  Transportation to camp was via the Pere Marquette Railroad which departed from Union Station in Chicago.   Roads were not yet improved enough up that way to allow for efficient and safe travel.   Camp periods ran for ten days each at a camper cost of $1 per day!  The Reservation Director was Alfred C Nichols Jr and assisted by Victor (Roy) Alm and Craig Atkinson.

This information comes to us courtesy of Fred Brems of Lake Of The Woods, Virginia, who camped at Owasippe from 1932-35 and who served on the staff of Camp Stuart in 36 and 37 and then at Camp Pioneer in 1938.  He was the OA Chief of Owasippe Lodge in 1941.   We thank him for this interesting historical perspective.  

Fred, you are invited to visit the camp at any time! 


Added Improvements At Owasippe In 2003
*** Blackhawk Firebowl Refurbished...  The Owasippe Staff Assoc (OSA) fulfilled its promise to rehab the ancient Blackhawk firebowl and turned it into a more modern, comfortable and organized outdoor amphitheatre this Spring.   The new arena features stadium seating (sorry, no skyboxes this time) with a more accomodating center aisle with stairs, and an entry-way on the trail leading to the site.   For pics on the firebowl and work-in-progress go to the OSA's website at   Scouts and leaders will really enjoy the expanded firebowl which can now seat up to 500, easily.
*** Photography Outpost Moved and Improved...  Owasippe O/A Lodge #7 took on the task of shutting down the old Photography Outpost at Camp Carlen which was closed down this season and moved it into the old pool pumphouse at Wolverine South.   Through crafty carpentry and an ingenious layout, the O/A has expanded the photoworkshop and have provided a better facility than what has been used over the last few years.   This popular outpost and merit badge program will be further enhanced for this summer and run out of Camp Wolverine adjacent to their handicraft lodge (old Wolv South).
*** New Climbing Tower Added To COPE Course;  Climbing Merit Badge Now Offered For First Time!   See above picture and more photos on   Go to Tree Talk - Camp News for more info.

> OSA Details & Photos Of Chris Hill Climbing Tower

New COPE Tower To Rise
Climbing Merit Badge To Be Offered

OSA, Hill Family Introduce Tower  
Units and older Scouts will have a treat in store for them during Owasippe's 93rd season, in the summer of '03...a brand new COPE climbing and rappeling tower purchased by the Owasippe Staff Association from Experiential Systems of Kalamazoo, Michigan.    Delivery of materials and construction has been completed  on a 3-pole tower with two sides, one side of which will include a "chimney" challenge, that will comply with requirements for BSA's Climbing Merit Badge.   The tower will give the camp the option to add a 3rd side once sufficient funds are in hand at a later time.   Installation was done by the folks at Experiential Systems which is certified nationally to construct such courses for schools, park districts, and an assortment of camps.   
This climbing tower project is made possible through the many generous donations paid to the Chris Hill Memorial Fund along with matching funds from the OSA.   Chris was a Scout and staffman enthralled with the outdoors and the magic of Owasippe and the OSA is pleased to collaborate with his family to deliver this program resource for Scouts of generations to come.   The cost of construction and materials came in at roughly $16,000.
Program offerings will be as follows:
>>>Climbing Merit Badge<<<
All participants must be 14 years of age as of January 1, 2003. This
course covers all requirements that do not take place on the climbing wall. The climbing requirements must be completed during an Open Climbing time listed below, in the presence of a Climbing Instructor. There is no charge for this progam. Available times are...
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9:00-10:15 AM OR 10:15-11:30 AM.
>>>Open Climbing & Rappelling<<<
Cost @ $5/hour, whether you are a seasoned climber or a complete beginner.  An adult must accompany those under 18.
Monday 2:00-5:00 PM, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 7:00-9:00 PM
I urge you to find out more about the COPE tower's namesake, Christopher Hill, by clicking onto this link...   Chris loved the COPE program and the many hours of fun and confidence building it made available to the Scouts attending Owasippe.
Leaders are encouraged to have their older Scouts utilize both COPE and the Hill Climbing Tower.   Both will provide hours of fun and adventure and something totally different from the "camp norm".
For more info on the firm supplying the climbing walls and basic design, go to
For those interested in info on BSA's Climbing Merit Badge, click on to the below link.

> Climbing MB Requirements


Nature Conservancy Report Confirms Conservation Value of West Michigans Camp Owasippe

Date: Nov. 27, 2002

LANSING, Mich. One of Michigans largest remaining intact tracts in the Lower Peninsula supports a wide variety of species which contributes to its high conservation value, according to a new report released today by the Michigan Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

The report, titled "Globally Rare, Locally Found: Searching for Species & Reporting Results," details the 1,091 types of plants, animals and insects living at Camp Owasippea 4,900-acre area known for being the oldest continuously operated Boy Scout camp in the nation. The area had previously been identified by The Nature Conservancy as a target for protecting biological diversity (biodiversity) because of its size, however, scientists did not know how many or what kind of creatures lived at the camp.

About 85 volunteers, scientists and naturalists contributed 1,260 hours to participate in the Michigan Chapters first-ever "Bioblitz," which included two inventories of the land in May and August this year and provided the findings for the report. The surveyors found many rare and endangered animals on the property such as the bald eagle, Karner blue butterfly and eastern Massasauga rattlesnake.

"Conducting the Bioblitz confirmed our suspicions that Camp Owasippe holds some of the best remaining examples of natural communities (types of habitats) in West Michigan," said West Michigan Conservation Director John Legge. "This report proves that protecting this natural jewel is critical to maintaining the biodiversity of West Michigan."

The report identifies six major conservation targets for protection:

  1. Savanna complexLess than 0.005% of this ecosystem remains in Michigan and Camp Owasippes 960-acre example of this natural community may be the largest in the state;
  2. Karner blue butterflyOnce common in Michigan, this federally endangered species now exists in only a few places, including Camp Owasippe;
  3. Eastern massasauga rattlesnakeCurrently a candidate for federal listing of threatened or endangered, Michigan was once a stronghold for this declining species;
  4. Rare turtlesFour rare turtles have all been found in this area including the Eastern box, wood, spotted and Blandings turtles.
  5. Cleveland Creek riparian corridorOld-growth trees, rare birds and an exceptionally clear creek complement this perfect habitat completely found within the camp.
  6. Coastal plain marshesThis rare habitat supports a number of rare plant species due to its unique hydrologic processes.

Threats to protecting biodiversity at the camp range from high-impact recreational use such as off-road vehicles to some logging practices and fire suppression which has disrupted the natural cycle of fire needed to preserve certain types of ecosystems. With the future of the camp unknown at this point, Conservancy scientists are concerned about the protection of biodiversity at the camp and how that may affect West Michigan.

"Each part of our ecosystem plays an integral role," Legge said. "If any part of that changes, it could ultimately have a major affect on the rest of our environment."

The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. The Nature Conservancy counts 1 million members nationwide, including more than 32,000 in Michigan. To date, the Conservancy and its members have been responsible for the protection of more than 80 million acres worldwide, including 12 million acres in the United States, and more than 73,000 acres in Michigan.

# # #



Many rally to save Boy Scout camp

Thursday, October 3, 2002

By Jennifer Martikean, Staff writer

Boy Scout leaders across the Southland are working to save what they call a piece of American heritage.

"I was extremely disappointed when I found out they might sell Owasippe," said Jay Popovits, who attended the Boy Scout camp as a teenager in the 1960s.  "It was because of that camp that I became an Eagle Scout. It's knowledge that I have used my entire life. There are a lot of memories at that camp."

The Arrowhead district, which includes scout troops on the city's South Side and many south suburbs, met Wednesday night to plot a course of action to save Camp Owasippe from being sold by the Chicago Area Council, which owns the nearly 5,000-acre camp in western Michigan.

For the rest of the story...GO TO...

> The Daily Southtown (Metro)


Scouts Selling Off Prime Wilderness

Councils trade in their camps for cash.

07/08/2001by Howard Swindle, The Dallas Morning News

(Note:  What follows is the majority of the text of a story posted a little more than a year ago which parallels much of the same problems we and Owasippe are now facing and actually can be looked back on now as a dismal prophecy.   I am hoping to soon be able to obtain the entire story from their archives with many supporting quotations for your further review and analysis.)

While Scout camps evoke Norman Rockwell images of boys beside backwoods campfires, regional Scout councils from Fort Worth and Beaumont (Texas) to Central Indiana, upstate New York and California have quietly sold off pristine chunks of wilderness at least seven in the last two years.

The property, the bulk of which was donated decades earlier, has reaped millions of dollars for local affiliates of the boys organization, which rely heavily on donations from corporations and The United Way.

"Camping remains an important experience for Scouts, said Greg Shields, a spokesman at Boy Scouts of Americas headquarters in Irving (Texas).  Thats not changing.  Camping is a tool to convey the value goals of a greater mission.  (Note: According to Mr Shields, local councils nationwide own 423 day camps and 258 high adventure reservations or preserves.) below link

> Click Here To Download The Rest of The Story

OSA Passes Resolution - 10/9/02

Taking a Stand Against the Proposed Sale of Owasippe

Whereas The Owasippe Staff Association (OSA) is an Illinois Not For Profit Corporation organized to provide service to the program and properties of Owasippe Scout Reservation, and

Whereas Owasippe Scout Reservation is a 5,000 acre Boy Scout camp near Whitehall and Montague, Michigan, situated in Blue Lake Township and in The Manistee National Forest, and is the oldest operating Scout council camp in the United States having opened in 1911 and currently serving in excess of 3,000 Scouts and Scouters annually under the ownership and management of Chicago Area Council, BSA, and

Whereas Chicago Area Council, BSA, has been the owner, operator and steward of this prominent Scout Camping facility since its inception and is a civic neighbor and responsible business partner in the White Lake business community and is also a chartered council within the greater operation of the Boy Scouts of America, and

Whereas the Boy Scouts of America has, as one of its underlying precepts of operation, a policy of offering a regimen of outdoor activities such as camping and hiking and nature study and has incorporated into its operational structure the opportunity to manage camping facilities to foster such programs and has, as part of its organizational structure, a camping committee dedicated to promoting and developing such outdoor programs and the facilties that support such programs, and

Whereas Chicago Area Council, BSA, has decided to abdicate its stewardship to the Boy Scout Outdoor Program at Owasippe Scout Reservation in the ownership and administration of one of the "crown jewel" camps in the United States, Owasippe, has refused to reinvest insurance proceeds and other capital to the furtherance of Owasippe and its programs, and has ignored its responsibility to the Scouts and Scouters to adequately sustain and successfully operate such a historical and premier operation,

Be it therefore resolved that the Owasippe Staff Association, Inc, respectfully demands that the Chicago Area Council reverse its disposal of Owasippe Scout Reservation and reinvest into its programs and facilties, promote and market its benefits and features, and expand its operation into all twelve months of the yearrather than abandoning its responsibilities to the Scout outdoor program and turning its back on a Scouting national treasure and one of the best developed youth camping facilities in the country, and

Be it further resolved that the Owasippe Staff Association, Inc, strongly recommends to the Chicago Area Council, BSA, that it amalgamates with other Scout council partners in the equitable operation, ownership and maintenance of Owasippe Scout Reservation, ad infinitum, and abandon any future notions of selling Americas Premier Scout Camp, Owasippe Scout Reservation, thereby sustaining and continuing its effective operation for future generations of youth and Scouts as it was intended with its inception in 1911, and

Be it finally resolved that the Owasippe Staff Association, Inc, will endeavor to do whatever it can in its power and within the resources of its memberships to foster and assist with the successful operation of Owasippe Scout Reservation including but not limited to facility maintenance, fund raising, staff training, and program development and promotion.

07/27/2002 - 19th Century  Michigan Lumbering's Legacy
Many do not realize that it was the 19th Century lumbering industry in Western Michigan, especially in the White River Valley, and the heightened demand for white pine lumber to rebuild Chicago after the Great Fire of 1871 which provided the historical groundwork for the eventual use of land at Crystal Lake (aka Owasippe Lake) for the first Scout campground that spawned America's Premier Scout Camp in 1911.   The following Michigan Historical Center article by Maria Quinlan brings into sharp focus the story of lumbering in West Michigan and the background for many stories, legends and points of interest in and around Owasippe.  Just click onto the below link for an extended report on this era. 

> West Michigan 19th Century Lumberjacking



If someone other than me would like to write an article or provide some news on Owasippe or its environs, I'll be sure to include a byline at the bottom. I'm always in need of good copy for mass consumption by the readership. Just e-mail me at or respond via this website.
PLEASE NOTE:     The Scarlet Sassafras is a private publication and is not owned or managed by the Chicago Area Council BSA, The Boy Scouts of America, or the Owasippe Staff Association Inc.    Views expressed in this website are not necessarily shared by the beforementioned organizations.

Contact Owasiron

Click-On To Respond Via E-mail

YOUR SUGGESTIONS AND IDEAS, COMPLIMENTS AND COMPLAINTS, regarding Owasippe, its program and management, can and should be directed to:

>>> Joe Sener, Owasippe Committee Chrmn

THE SCARLET SASSAFRAS... Owasippe's&quot;Unwebsite&quot; &amp; E-zine