Buckskin Council Takes First Step Towards Selling Portion Of Scout Reservation In Pocahontas
Charleston, WV – The West Virginia Buckskin Council of the Boy Scouts of America has approved selling a portion of the Buckskin Scout Reservation in Pocahontas County. The resolution passed by the council clears the way for Scout Executive Jeff Purdy to begin negotiations on selling a 1200 acre tract of land. The main scout camp lies on an 800 acre parcel of land across the road and is not part of the deal. Purdy will now try to broker a deal with the Trust for Public Land, an intermediary agency that buys land to keep it off the market until a government agency, like the National Forest, can purchase the property.
Purdy spoke to the Pocahontas County Commission in December 2009 about the scout camp. He gave them a little history on the Pocahontas Camp, also known as Dilly’s Mill.
“The Buckskin Council originally had one property, the Buckskin Council Reservation here at Dilly’s Mill until 1991 when they merged with two other councils, the Appalachian Council and the Chief Cornstalk Council” says Purdy. “Those two councils brought a total of three camps with them as well. So when they all merged to become the Buckskin Council we ended up with four camp properties.”
The Council sold the property near Beckley, leaving them with Dilly’s Mill, Chief Logan in Logan County and Camp Roland in Virginia.
“Most Boy Scout councils the size of ours do not own three camp properties of this size” says Purdy. “It’s not uncommon for some councils to look at our we land rich and cash poor’. However, [we] recognize that the Buckskin Council is different because we cover 23 counties, and what’s close to one group of scouts may not be close to another group of scouts.”
The decision to sell all or part of the Pocahontas County Buckskin Reservation was one of five options that a council task force suggested to help stem the estimated $80,000.00 per year losses at the three camps. No matter which argument was most persuasive, the council voted almost unanimously to sell the property, after agreeing to a price of not less than $1800.00 per acre.
Art King, Council Board President, says the council is conducting an appraisal of the property. Linda Frost, Project Manager for the Trust for Public Land says they will conduct their own appraisal as well.
Frost says the sale could be a long process. Once the appraisals are done and a price is agreed to, the National Forest would have to secure funding to buy the land from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a principal funding source for all federal land agencies.
This request by the National Forest would compete with other land acquisition requests from around the country, also seeking to make it into the Presidents annual federal budget proposal. It would also have to make it through Congress. Still, despite the long process, Frost is hopeful it will go through.
Council board President Art King says the 1200 acre parcel is rarely used. He says although there is some timber in the acreage, it’s not enough to justify keeping the property.