Camp Drake Selective Tree Harvest
If you have been to Camp Robert Drake anytime in the past year and a half, you might have noticed that there are some trees marked with Red X’s. Scout Executive Jared White, shared at summer camp each week that Camp Drake is participating in a selective tree harvest. This harvest should take place between late 2021 through Winter of 2022. Pike Lumber Company from Indiana will be doing the work. The supervisor for our project, Dane Larsen is a Forester who has extensive experience in both timber harvests and forestry. They are also familiar with all the requisite Illinois State laws.
Our Council first engaged with this company around sometime in early 2018. In early 2020 during the pandemic, we visited with them about the lumber sale because many things were uncertain, and we thought this harvest might be an answer to helping us solve any financial issues that might arise. Fortunately, through the support of our generous donors, our council persevered through the Pandemic, and made it through any financial hardships.
This isn’t the first harvest done at Camp Robert Drake. The last harvest on record happened in the late 1970’s. Mother Nature also does her own ‘harvest’ when trees come down during storms. Many of you might remember the bad storm that came through Tall Pines about 10 years ago. There has been much speculation about how Camp will look after the harvest. Please keep in mind, this isn’t a clear cutting of Camp Drake. 1,400 trees will be impacted, which represents roughly 1% of the trees in our 160 acres of woodlands at Camp Robert Drake. Parts of Camp Drake will certainly look different, but the company involved has committed to leaving the camp better than it was!
As a Council we will ask our many volunteers to invest time and effort to get Camp Drake ready for our 90th summer. We hope everyone will join us for the Spring Camporee and Camp workdays.
Why are we doing this? Several reasons, but two are intertwined: Safety and Finances.
In short, there are some health and safety issues that need to be addressed at camp to continue to provide a safe and healthy camp experience. The National BSA camping accreditation standards are being updated every year to ensure the safety of all Scouts involved. Our Council’s main concern remains the safety of all our Scouts and Leaders. Our goal is to make our Scouts feel safe and protect them from any barriers that might limit their ability to participate in Scouting. We also want to ensure that we are able to provide a summer camping program to the Scouts of our Council.
To help meet those standards, proceeds from the timber harvest will go towards building a new shower house. It will provide privacy for campers of all ages and genders. Scouts will have that feeling of safety as they will have a locking bathroom and shower facilities to themselves.
Secondly our emergency management plans call for us in severe weather to run into the ravine for safety. This Shower House facility will serve as a Storm Shelter for Scouts to shelter during severe weather. Currently, we either gather in the dining hall, or seek shelter in the ravines. Neither is ideal and a new facility will help protect our Scouts, volunteers and Camp staff.
In addition, some of the trees being removed are a danger to campers with large limbs or even entire trees that could come down. We want to reduce that risk as well. There may be some restrictions placed on camping at Drake during this harvest to ensure the safety of our Scouts, but we will let you know those when they arise
Camp Drake was built out of the remains of a mining operation and had no trees when it started. Over Camp’s 90 years, a variety of trees have grown, and as a Council we have been more reactive than proactive in handling the forest. And once this harvest is complete, we will work with volunteers to make sure our planning is more proactive in the future.
Remember Camp Robert Drake is more than just trees. It’s a great facility that allows our Scouts to have long lasting memories in a safe setting.
To find the Camp Drake Selective Tree Harvest Media Statement, click here.
Below you will find pictures of what the proposed building will resemble. These are not actual photos, just a representation of the proposed building.
Here are some links that talk about the benefits of land managment and a tree harvest: