Save Silver Trails Scout Camp From Becoming A Gravel Pit

The Michigan Crossroads Council of the Boy Scouts of America has decided to sell (or lease for gravel) Silver Trails Scout Reservation, a 270-acre camp along the west side of Black River about 2 miles west of Jeddo, Michigan. Details are yet to be confirmed, but a BSA official said the pending buyer (or lessee) is a company related with Dan's Excavating, Inc. or Ajax Paving, Inc. and would mine potentially the entire camp for gravel. The current agreement with the company may be binding, or a commitment to sell with terms contingent on gravel testing results and other items. The gravel company has already conducted soil borings. A possible sale (or lease) price was said to be $1.8 million. Whether sale or lease, impact to Silver Trails would still be devastating. Prior to this decision, there is no indication that the Michigan Crossroads Council notified any local unit of government, organization, scouters, or other parties that might want to protect the camp. Instead, the Michigan BSA has apparently determined that a gravel pit is the only future for Silver Trails.

For over a half-century, Silver Trails was owned locally by the former Blue Water Council, serving Saint Clair and Sanilac Counties. In 2012, the council was dissolved in a consolidation of the entire lower peninsula of Michigan. Silver Trails was financially stable under ownership of the Blue Water Council and the 7 years since the new Michigan Crossroads Council took the camp and a substantial endowment from the former council. In truth, Silver Trails is not really their land, but a product of our community and rightfully ours. The camp was established in 1945 on parcels that were sold for $1 to the former Blue Water Council. The land was essentially donated by these owners for the betterment of our community. The local Exchange Club built the main gate in 1945 and local Rotary Clubs donated and built the Rotary Lodge or Mess Hall in 1948. For 67 years, local scouts, scouters, volunteers, and organizations maintained and improved Silver Trails. Thousands of hours of work and thousands of dollars were invested in the camp by local people in the Blue Water Council.

Thousands of area youth have camped at Silver Trails and participated in many programs and events like summer camps, cub day camps, polar bear camps, klondikes, camporees, conclaves, and much more. Many area scouts have worked on camp staff. BSA consolidation in Michigan was promoted as a means to improve the scout program at local levels, but has instead decreased camp opportunities for our youth, soon to be eliminated with Silver Trails sold and graveled. The Michigan Crossroads Council has sold at least 5 other camps in Michigan since 2012, and national BSA many more across the US. 

For many of us, Silver Trails is one of the most beautiful places in the world, located along high bluffs above the Black River where Silver Creek winds through mature forest and other small streams cut through deep shaded ravines. If you have not stood in the old-growth forest north of Silver Creek on a late summer afternoon as woodland birds call across the glowing cathedral of Hemlock, Beech, and Sugar Maple trees, you are deprived. Silver Trails is truly irreplaceable.

Ask the BSA Michigan Crossroads Council to please stop this impending sale and give a local unit of government or an organization a fair chance to buy the camp. 

You may contact the following:

 

Donald Shepard

Scout Executive/CEO

BSA Michigan Crossroads Council

137 S. Marketplace Blvd.

Lansing, MI 48917

517-940-4210

donald.shepard@scouting.org

 

Gary Gilger

Deputy Scout Executive

BSA Michigan Crossroads Council

715-563-6853

gary.gilger@scouting.org

 

Christopher Hopkins

Chief Information Officer

BSA Michigan Crossroads Council

603-218-9841

christopher.hopkins@scouting.org

 

Jane Parikh

Public Relations Manager

BSA Michigan Crossroads Council

269-275-3544

jane.parikh@scouting.org

 

Barb Campbell

Receptionist

BSA Michigan Crossroads Council

517-940-4210x1000

barbara.campbell@scouting.org

 

Further Contacts

  • Contact scouts, scouters, and former scouters.
  • Contact your political representatives and anyone else that may be concerned.
  • US President Trump serves as the Honorary President of BSA.
  • All former US Presidents serve as Honorary Vice Presidents of BSA.

 

To help in the effort to protect Silver Trails and to donate to a dedicated acquisition fund, please see the Friends of Silver Trails web site at: SaveSilverTrails.info . Donation through the PayPal link can be made by debit card, credit card, or PayPal account.

 

Update #51 months ago
The SaveSilverTrails.info site has been updated. See http://savesilvertrails.info/updates/

Please complete the survey about the Michigan Crossroads Council and camp sales. See https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdL-CQdvtNRBmEZqOUVrQrYXr9kcF-8Tyj2rUctuFwhRo7I7w/viewform?usp=sf_link

We encourage you to email the Friends of Silver Trails for detailed updates such as Grant Township meetings. Please contact Rob Lester at rlester1967@sbcglobal.net or Terry Hoy at terry.hoy16@gmail.com
Update #43 months ago
Six Rivers Land Conservancy can access The Conservation Fund to buy Silver Trails now. Thumb Land Conservancy will help Grant Twp apply for MI Natural Resources Trust Fund grant. They score high for funding. All parties should give Grant Twp a chance to buy the camp. MI and US officials must hear from all of you now. See SaveSilverTrails.info. Issues include intent of camp donors, unfair sale, conflict of interest, pretense of MI 2012 consolidation, use of sale revenue, BSA administrative cost.
Update #34 months ago
The Friends of Silver Trails web site is up: http://savesilvertrails.info/. Links to political contacts, donations, and soon with updates. The PayPal link makes donating by debit, credit, or PayPal easy. Donations are tax-deductible and will be used for acquisition of Silver Trails or as otherwise determined by Friends of Silver Trails. Three scouters so far will donate $1,000 each if 50 others donate at least the same. If every petition signer gave $100, we'd have almost $500,000.
Update #24 months ago
BSA has publicly stated that Silver Trails was basically sold. Grant Township wants to pursue acquisition, which is very possible with State grant funding. Most importantly now, we need time, something BSA chose not to give, but the new owners can. If Mid Michigan Materials is truly the benefactor of scouting and youth in our area they claim to be, they will at least give us time. Lenders and donors need to step up now to buy us that time. If every signer gave $100 we would be well on our way.
Update #14 months ago
The information in this petition was confirmed by the Field Service Scout Executive for the Woods and Water Field Service Council.
Jerry Moody, formerly of Croswell Troop 322, started a challenge. Jerry and 2 others pledged $1,000 each if 50 do the same. Funds used to buy Silver Trails or as determined by Friends of Silver Trails. Until their web site is up, Thumb Land Conservancy, a 501(c)3 non-profit, can accept funds/pledges: ThumbLand.org . 5 Blue Water Council scouts on TLC board.
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