BLEECKER - The Woodworth Lake Scout Reservation, a woodsy retreat where local Boy Scouts have camped for decades, has hosted its final Scout function.
The reservation will be sold, a Scout official said.
Richard Stockton, Scout executive of the Boy Scouts' Twin Rivers Council, said the 1,200-acre camp has been purchased by a private individual. He would not provide the buyer's name or the price of the property.
Cub Scouts salute during a flag ceremony this month at Woodworth Lake Scout Reservation in Bleecker. “This a special place in Fulton County and the Adirondack Park,” said Andy Cordone, father of a Cub Scout. (Photo courtesy of Andy Cordone)
The council says Woodworth Lake no longer is viable as a Scout camp.
"This is not a property that the council can afford to maintain, nor does it have the unit use to justify the continued expense, as it does not support itself each year through camping revenue," a news release from the council stated. "The council leadership is sensitive to the sale of any Scout property and those individuals that have been associated with its use and well-being."
Stockton said the council is waiting until the contract expires at the end of August before transferring the property to the new owner.
"We are just waiting for the time on the contract to end," Stockton said.
In May, Stockton said it is too expensive to maintain the 20 buildings on the Woodworth Lake site.
The Woodworth Lake reservation opened in 1949, costing $100,000 at the time to construct. The camp included three ponds and a lake. It has been used year-round for day camp, Scouting activities, community use and short-term camping. The site includes, among other things, a rifle and archery range, a dining hall and cabins. When it opened, religious services were held at the camp, and the memorial lodge could hold up to 300 people.
"It used to be a full summer camp," Stockton said. "Camporees" and other events were held there regularly.
"We have five summer camps [in the council], and we can't afford to maintain five summer camps," Stockton said.
In May, Stockton said, Scouting events normally held at Woodworth Lake will take place at other camps such as Camp Boyhaven in Saratoga, Camp Wakpominee in Fort Ann and Camp Rotary in Poestenkill.
Local people have expressed disappointment and sadness at the sale of Woodworth Lake.
Andy Cordone of Northville brought his son, a member of the Cub Scouts, to the last Scouting event held at the camp.
"There was so much history there," Cordone said. "Everyone there was upset."
Cordone said it was a blow to the local Scouting community.
"For Fulton County, they are closing the only Scout camp," Cordone said.
Clifford Cook, a member-at-large of the Boy Scouts' Sir William Johnson District and caretaker of Woodworth Lake, said Friday was his last night as a member of the Scouting program.
"This is my third camp in 35 years that the council closed," Cook said.
Camp Saratoga, where Cook volunteered at for several years, was closed in 1990.
Cook said he believed Twin Rivers Council officials did not do their best at running the facilities.
"They don't do their job to the fullest extent," Cook said.
Cook said he had fond memories of the camp, taking his six grandchildren to the camp to let them play.
Mark Ford, a member-at-large of the Sir William Johnson District, said it was sad to see the camp close.
"Well, I am certainly understanding of the situation the council is in," Ford said.
"Obviously, it is a prime location for a camp," Ford said.
The Twin Rivers Council oversees Scouting in 13 counties, including Fulton, Montgomery and Hamilton counties. The council serves more than 11,000 youths and 6,000 registered adult volunteers.
Stockton said the council had more campsites than any other district.
The council oversees several Scout districts, including the Sir William Johnson District, which serves Fulton, Montgomery and Hamilton counties.
Editor's note:?Readers are invited to share their scrapbook photos from past outings at Woodworth Lake for publication in a special edition of "Remember When?" devoted to the history of the Scout camp. Send photos and caption information to Features Editor Bill Ackerbauer at firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail c/o The Leader-Herald, 8 E. Fulton St., Gloversville, NY?12078.