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Owasippe Overview


Owasippe Scout Reservation is America's Premier Scout Camp having opened in 1911 from a parcel of 40 acres on Crystal Lake graciously donated by the White Lake Chamber of Commerce. It is owned and operated by the Chicago Area Council Boy Scouts of America. The Camp has celebrated its Diamond Jubilee and looks forward to a future celebration of a "century of progress" and service to Scout camping.  What follows is an overview of the camp and its summer programs.

Owasippe Logo and Patch

For information on Owasippe's host council, click on to...

> Chicago Area Council, BSA

Owasippe Camping Is Available Year-Round!

OWASIPPE SCOUT RESERVATION is 5,000+ acres of deciduous and evergreen woodland, fenn, streams and lakes nestled in the southwest corner of the Manistee National Forest. It is located six miles east of Whitehall, Michigan. The Admin Center is at the intersection of Russell and Silver Creek Roads in Blue Lake Township, about 8 miles north of US Hwy 31 and Muskegon.

OWASIPPE IS A BUSTLING HUB of Scouting distributed among two section camps, namely Blackhawk and Wolverine, as well as the Reneker Family Camp, and a host of "outpost" program areas for older Scouts.   A backpacking and float program, dubbed "The Manistee Quest" uses the North Country Trail in the Manistee.  The "Ad Center" campus is also home to the E. Urner Goodman Owasippe Museum housed in the original Blue Lake Township Hall built in 1910.


EACH SECTION CAMP AT OWASIPPE is independently staffed and runs a traditional Scouting summer program for a host of units. Camps Blackhawk and Wolverine each have in excess of 20 unit sites. Camp Blackhawk is a dining hall camp while Camp Wolverine has "hotpack" meals delivered to each  troop site.    Raw food cooking is available at each camp. 

ALL SECTION CAMPS have a sanitary unit with a shower, wash basin, and flush toilets. Hot showers are available in all section camps. Campsites come with a flush water hydrant, picnic tables, and a campfire area. Sites range from 1/2 to 2 acres in size and are in close proximity to most of the program areas. Units are supplied with 6' high canvas wall tents, floorboards, and cots. Campsites are located in older growth forests on sandy soil with good drainage.

>>> ARAMARK...More information on Owasippe's catering firm for 2006

A New COPE Climbing Wall



OUTPOST PROGRAMS are challenging,
exciting, and play well to BSA Venturing. Some outposts are standbys such as COPE which sports a high and low ropes course. Another unique program feature to Owasippe is its Diamond-O Ranch which hosts guided trail rides, overnite treks to a remote location, and horsemanship merit badge. Some of the newer outposts which have proven very popular with the Scouts and also make available merit badge programming are Astronomy, Fishing, Photography, and Sailing. There is also a Tubing Outpost which takes Scouts down a "lazy river" in inner tubes.

THE MANISTEE QUEST is also a part of the older-Scout and Venturing program allowing units to plan off-camp backpacking treks into the Manistee National Forest along the North Country National Scenic Trail for up to one week in length. Treks are guided for their entire trip and Scouts are encouraged to work on the 50-Miler Award. Part or all of the trek can be done by canoe on any of three rivers, Pere Marquette, Pine or Manistee. Such float trips can be integrated with the national forest trail network for easy rendezvous through a licensed outfitter. Longer treks are available upon request.

Trek leadership (2-deep) is provided by the unit, however there will also be a "provisional" program thereby allowing individual Scouts or crews with only one leader to participate with camp-supplied leadership. In any event, Owasippe will provide a trek guide and instructor for the trip. Crew sizes for each trek must have a minimum of 6 participants but no more than 10. Not more than 1/2 of the crew (minus one) can be adults, age 21 and over. The minimum age to participate in this program is 13 by January 1.


Manistee Quest - High Adventure Treks

Eagles Love Owasippe!

Above: Owasippe is indeed blessed to have several nesting sites of the American Bald Eagle right on its own property. Scouts can often witness these magnificent birds of prey soaring high above the camp on thermals or fishing the waters of Wolverine, Big Blue or Sauger Lakes.


...hosts living quarters and program facilities for the families of Scouters attending Owasippe with their units. This way, they do NOT have to sacrifice a family vacation for the sake of Scouting as their family will be in close proximity to each other and still on the reservation.

Camp Reneker sports 40 family cabins, a swimming pool and lessons, interactive evebts, 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 2004, the one-week fee for a cabin and program will be $210 with a related unit in camp and $310 if NO UNIT Is in camp at the same time. 
Families are on their own for food. Each cabin has two bedrooms with two beds each, a living room, and a fully-equipped kitchen. There is electricity and hot water with seperate bathroom and showering facilities within 50 yards of each cabin.    Camp Reneker is divided into an A and B section with each having 20 cabins in a communal setting.

Tree Talk...Camp News

Sassy-Links And Portals



Any Scouting unit or Scout-Family is invited to visit Owasippe in the "off-season", use its facilities, and stay overnite! Tent camping is available for $25/campsite at Camp Wolverine. Cabin rentals (Spring and Fall) are available at $30/night at Camp Reneker, $50-75/night at a Lake (Wolverine) cabin, and $60/night at the Milton Gray Staff Village. All cabins have electricity, hot water, an applianced kitchen, and are propane-heated (except for Reneker cabins). Those interested should call the CAC Service Center for details and a reservation form at 312-421-8800.


Michigan DNR Parks & Recreation

Michigan State Parks in the Owasippe-Area offer off-season and on-season attractions, ie. P.J. Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon. This scenic park is located on the shores of Lake Michigan and has a campground and the Gillette Nature Center whose primary focus is the sand dunes of Lake Michigan and its eco-system. A naturalist is on duty and an interactive computer area is available. For more info, click on the above icon.


The Weather Channel - Whitehall, MI

Click on the above Weather Channel icon for current weather conditions at Owasippe.


If you served on the Owasippe Staff or as a unit leader at Owasippe, you may want to look into joining the Owasippe Staff Association or at least check-out their website for more info (CLICK BELOW). The OSA was formed in 1978 and continues to provide service to the camp program and properties while maintaining social and informational ties between camp staff and leaders...


The Boy Scouts of America Camp Study

Harris Interactive of New York designed a study for the Boy Scouts of America on the impact of summer camp in the lives of Boy Scouts. The researchers concluded that, within the typical six days of Boy Scout summer camp, boys are in an environment that comprehensively provides them with critical elements of healthy youth development.

A few very encouraging national findings from the study will be included in this and the following issue of the in Support of Values newsletter. Marketing materials highlighting the study findings will be available in May at the National Annual Meeting.

For the 2000 Camp Study, conducted by Harris interactive, parents of Scouts were randomly selected to complete surveys about their feelings toward their sons' summer camp experience. Overall, parents speak highly of and are impressed with Scout summer camp programs. Many parents believe that Scout camp provides many positive experiences that directly benefit their sons.

More than half (51 percent) of the surveyed parents said that their son's Scout camp experience had exceeded their expectations. Further, more than eight of 10 parents (81 percent) feel that they saw a positive change in their sons, such as improved self-esteem and further developed social skills, after they returned from camp.

pic courtesy of Edgar Wolff-Klammer

Operational Summer Camp Forms
Below are a selection of useful forms for you as you prepare your troop or crew to attend Owasippe, "America's Premier Scout Camp":

> Owasippe Summer Camp Prep List

> BSA Class-3 Medical Form (adults/staff)

> Camp Unit Roster

> Equine Release Of Liability

> Owasippe Site Reservation Form

> Reneker Family Camp/Cabin Registration Form


* 2006 CAMPER FEES *

$190 p/Scout CAC units 
$205 p/Scout Out-of-Council
$30 Late Fee after May 31st 
$105 Leader Fee (all councils)
$25 deposit per Scout by 02/28
$100 reservation site deposit
NOTE: 2-week Stays Available! 

MANISTEE QUEST (subj to change)
$225 pp/w/2 Ldrs - backpacking
$245 pp/w/2 Ldrs - combo trek
$315 pp/w/2 Ldrs - canoeing only 
$100 Crew Reservation Fee
NO Out-of-Council surcharge

Campsite Reservation Fee @ $100 per site/per week locks in a specific campsite of your choice and is credited toward final fees at camp due May 31. An initial per-Scout deposit of $25 is due by Feb 28 and is credited toward final boy fees.

$$$ CAMPER$HIP$ ARE AVAILABLE TO CAC UNITS AND CAN BE APPLIED FOR BY UNIT LEADERSHIP.   Out-Of-Council units should check with their home councils for the availability of financial assistance, camperships.

> Owasippe Site Reservation Form

> Reneker Family Camp/Cabin Registration Form

More Info-links On Owasippe...

> 2006 Summer Program Leader's Guide

Owasippe Summer Program Features

OSR Resources FACQs

Manistee Quest - High Adventure Treks

Owasippe Photo-Shoot

Camp Staff And More

The Legend of Chief Owasippe

> The Scarlet Sassafras

Camp Blackhawk Waterfront On Big Blue Lake

The Camp Blackhawk waterfront looking north across Big Blue Lake. The lake which is roughly 1-1/2 miles long has about 2/3 of its shoreline belonging to Owasippe Scout Reservation. Of all the section camps at Owasippe, Camp Blackhawk is the oldest having opened in 1922.


Michigan Travel Info

Click on to "Mapquest" below for a map of Owasippe Scout Reservation...or click below that for a road map of the White Lake Area around Owasippe.

Maps Of Owasippe Scout Reservation

>> Owasippe Aerial Photo

>> Michigan Road Advisories

>> Need An Owasippe Topo Map? Click Below Icon...

Owasippe Topo Map

Canoeing The White River And Landing At Diamond Bend

The above picture captures action near the Diamond Bend rollway on the White River, a national scenic river, which flows just to the north of the reservation. River trips can range from a 3-hour day trip to a 2-day overnight excursion which would culminate at the confluence with White Lake between the towns of Whitehall and Montague and in real close proximity to the only Dog N Suds remaining in the State of Michigan.


Below: Prickly Pear grows abundantly at Owasippe in open sandy prairies and fenn, often in clumps that are 3-5 feet wide. In July, brilliant yellow blooms dot the landscape that previously had been devoid of any color at all. This cactus is a protected plant unique to coastal Lake Michigan that typically is only found in the US Southwest.




Owasippe's primary lakes for fishing enthusiasts are Lake Wolverine, Big Blue Lake, Sauger Lake, and Bass Lake. The first two have boating access. There are other smaller lakes and ponds on the reservation where one may go fishing, ie. Mud Lake, Boot Lake, 9-Acre. Only Big Blue Lake requires any fishing permit as it is a public access area and is subject to the rules and regulations of the Michigan Dept of Natural Resources. However, a license would only be required of those age 16 and older. When fishing any other lake or pond that is land-locked by the reservation, it is considered "private" property and not subject to state licensing provisions.

> Bass Fishing Techniques

Owasippe's Main Gamefish, The Largemouth Bass



Owasippe's topography and environment is such that campsites are virtually free of poison ivy! As a matter of fact, there are only a few areas at camp that have the famous "three-leaflets". We are not aware of any poison sumac or poison oak in this area of the state. However, you can find poison ivy vines sporadically along the shoreline of Big Blue Lake and as shrubs near the waterfront of "Old Blackhawk" and along the White River shoreline where iT grows both as a shoreline shrub and as an inland vine. It has not been found in the higher elevations of Camps Carlen, Crown, Wolverine or Reneker. At Owasippe, it tends to like moist ground.

For MORE INFO on poison ivy and treatment for the resulting rash and itch that may occur when one is in contact, go to:


Have More Questions Or Comments?
If you have additional questions on this site's content or are in need of further assistance, you can email the webmaster, Ron Kulak, at or go to this page...

Contact Owasiron

Your E-Mail Contacts For Info

Contact CAC Camping Center For More Info & Reservations...1-312-421-8430x227, Fax-4725

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