Buckskin Scout Reservation (Dilley’s Mill) Now Only a “Primitive Camping Facility”
It was revealed by Commission President Bill Beard at the November 15th Pocahontas County Commission Meeting that the Buckskin Scout Reservation near Dunmore would be closed.
Allegheny Mountain Radio contacted Jeffrey L. Purdy, an Executive Board Member of the Buckskin Council of the Boy Scouts of America to learn more about this closure. The Buckskin Council was formed 26 years ago and it is a consolidation of 4 other Boy Scout Councils. They serve Scouts in 22 West Virginia counties as well as counties in Kentucky and Ohio.
Mr. Purdy, who declined doing a recorded interview for this story, did say that the Buckskin Scout Reservation – or BSR- would have all of its cabins and the dining hall shut down, winterized and mothballed for the 2017 camping season. The Reservation’s grounds however will remain available to Scout Troops as a “primitive camping only facility.”
Purdy said that this was a decision made by the Buckskin Council’s Executive Board because of the declining number of Boy Scouts attending Scout Reservation summer camps, declining numbers of youths who join the boy scouts, and declining funding.
While not wanting to be formally interviewed, Mr. Purdy did refer us to an online report issued by the Council about their decision.
According to that report, from 2013 to 2016, total summer camp attendance by Scouts at the Dunmore camp has declined by 47% – from 886 youth participants in 2013 down to 468 in 2016. Additionally, the number of Scouts spending their summer camp at the Buckskin Scout Reservation who are actually members of the Buckskin Council itself declined from 521 to 343 over the same 3 year period. Day use of the Camp has also similarly declined and is way below the attendance at other Buckskin camps – Camp Chief Logan and at Camp Arrowhead.
The report goes on to explain that the six Scout camps run by the Buckskin Council have suffered a combined $297,876 loss over the past 3 years. To keep the Buckskin Scout Reservation operating as a full service camp in 2016, the council would have to fund an additional $118.00 per scout who attended the BSR Camp in Dunmore, and with the additional cost of staff salaries at BSR factored in, it would cost the Buckskin Council over $400,000.00 to operate the Buckskin Scout Reservation in 2017, and that does not factor in the estimated $530,500 needed for repairs and structure replacements needed in the next few years at the Dunmore area facility. The report concludes that the six camps run by the Buckskin Council “far exceed our funding capacity to maintain and far exceed our camping facility needs”, thus necessitating the consolidation of camps.
The Report says that in 2017, the Council’s Boy Scout Summer Camp offerings will be limited to only two weeks. One of those weeks will be from June 18th to June 24th, 2017 at Camp Arrowhead and the only other week will be at Summit Bechtel Reserve Summer Camp from June 25th through July 1st, 2017.
In 2016, the Buckskin Scout Reservation alone offered three two week summer camp sessions – June 19th to June 25th; June 26th to July 2nd and July 3rd to July 9th 2016.
For now, the Ranger position at the Buckskin Scout Reservation will be converted to a “caretaker position”.
There was no mention in the report or by Mr. Purdy to this reporter of any plans to sell the Buckskin Scout Reservation, however, Mr. Purdy did tell Rick Steelhammer of the Charleston Gazette for Rick’s December 5th Gazette story about the closure, that the Buckskin Council has already sold Camp Minter in Raleigh County and “the sale of additional camps is something that may have to be considered.”
The Dilley Family donated the 2000 acre Dilley’s Mill property to the Boy Scouts many years ago to be used as a Scout Reservation and camp. The camp opened as the Buckskin Scout Reservation in 1961 and has provided great summers and memories to thousands of Boy Scouts since then.