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Scouts sell off camps under strain from sexual intercourse abuse suits

Scouts sell off camps under strain from sexual intercourse abuse suits

KILLINGWORTH, Conn. (AP) — As the financially struggling Boy Scouts sell off a number of campgrounds, conservationists, management officials with every one other accompanied by others are scrambling to find ways to conserve them while not shut space.

A $2.6 billion proposed bankruptcy settlement designed to pay thousands of victims of child reproductive abuse has added pressure to an organization beset by years of declining enrollment, with every one other accompanied by the Scouts with every one other accompanied by their local councils have been cashing inside on their large holdings, including properties where some of the abuse took place. Developers have bought up some. Preservation groups hope others tin exist protected with every one other accompanied by some legislators have taken notice.

"I am emphasizing to my colleagues that there is a understandable urgency here," said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat who thinks there may exist confederate funds available to buy Scout properties. "We have no indeed hour dated to waste."

For over a century the Scouts with every one other accompanied by their local councils have acquired properties across the country where generations have learned to exist thankful for the outdoors into and not here of camping, swimming with every one other accompanied by canoeing.

In Blumenthal's condition of Connecticut, the Scouts' Yankee Council is considering a $4.6 million provide from developers for a 252-acre property, Deer Lake, near Long Island Sound that offers camping, fishing, with every one other accompanied by hiking. The council has rejected offers from set of two conservation groups nevertheless is negotiating accompanied by one of them that offered a revised bid.

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Sen. Blumenthal has said he's looking into the possible use of money from the National Park Service's Land with every one other accompanied by Water Conservation Fund to assist inside the buy of the Connecticut bivouac with every one other accompanied by the other Boy Scout properties for sale across the nation. Individual states resolve which projects to pay for accompanied by that money.

Other properties targeted for preservation include 96 acres of what was the Boy Scouts' Camp Barton, on the the occident shore of Cayuga Lake inside New York's Finger Lakes region. It includes woodlands, streams, trails with every one other accompanied by a 75-foot (23-meter) waterfall.

"They are not making some additional lakefront property," said Fred Bonn, geographical director for the Finger Lakes State Parks system. "Access to the pond is challenging, both accompanied by its topography with every one other accompanied by what is owned privately."

Several local towns with every one other accompanied by New York state's Office of Parks, Recreation with every one other accompanied by Historic Preservation is employed accompanied by the Baden-Powell Council of the Boy Scouts to try to conserve the land. A nearby 41-acre parcel by that hour dated was sold by the Scouts to private interests.

It's unclear exactly how a a large amount of land across the United States belongs to the Boy Scouts, partly since it is owned by local scout councils. But proof inside the bankruptcy trial indicated the local councils own near to 2,000 properties that could exist price in the centre of $8 billion with every one other accompanied by $10 billion, said Timothy Kosnoff, an attorney who represents additional than 12,000 claimants inside the bankruptcy.

The proposed bankruptcy settlement accompanied by Boys Scouts of America would have its additional than 250 councils give at least $515 million inside money with every one other accompanied by possessions with every one other accompanied by a $100 million interest-bearing note. Kosnoff said the Scouts will need to sell a a large amount of of their land to give to the national settlement or, if it fails, to pay for continuing legal battles.

"I can't predict how lengthy it will lay clasp of for all these properties to exist liquidated, nevertheless I believe it's inevitable," he said.

Some abuse victims have mixed feelings concerning the camps' sale.

Joe, a victim who did not want his last name used since his family is unaware of his experience, was abused by his scout lord starting at the number of years of 8 inside the 1970s at a Connecticut bivouac that was sold years ago to build way for homes on Candlewood Lake. He's not sure he wants people camping on land where scouts were on one occasion abused.

"I don't have those hot feelings concerning those places," he said. "It's almost exist fond of 'Poltergeist.' Do you want your house on land where those things happened? So, I don't know what to do accompanied by those places."

The Boy Scouts of America said inside a statement that selling the camps may exist obligatory inside some instances to compensate victims.

"Every decision must lay clasp of into description the finances, viability of potential buyers, sustainability with every one other accompanied by gathering the obligations to provide the finest work to early years within their respective council," the organization said.

Councils inside states including Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania with every one other accompanied by Wisconsin have all not long ago sold or announced plans to sell camps.

Sen. Blumenthal said selling camps to developers goes opposed to the tenants of an organization that is supposed to teach environmental stewardship.

"Unfortunately, local Boy Scout councils are selling to the highest bidder," he said. "So, I believe it is a national challenge, nevertheless it goes to the centre of what scouting means with every one other accompanied by the ethos with every one other accompanied by ethic of scouting, which they may exist betraying."

In Michigan, a consolidation of local Boy Scout councils that began a decade ago has led to the sale of numerous properties, including Silver Trails, a 269-acre bivouac concerning 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of Port Huron. A category called the Thumb Land Conservancy tried to buy it inside 2019, nevertheless lost not here when the scouts sold it to a gravel-mining company.

"They've sold off, I believe 15 camps statewide," said Bill Collins, the conservancy group's administrative director with every one other accompanied by a former Boy Scout, who used to bivouac at Silver Trails. "So, people now have to operate occasionally a set of two of hundred miles across the condition to go to camp. Well, that makes most of day bivouac activities unfeasible with every one other accompanied by things exist fond of weekend bivouac outs a a large amount of additional of a chore for everyone involved."

In Maine, the Androscoggin Land Trust has a buy accord to buy the 95-acre Boy Scout Camp Gustin near Lewiston, which includes a large pond with every one other accompanied by a bog that is filled accompanied by wildlife. Aimee Dorval, the trust's administrative director, said the condition government's Land for Maine's Future program has agreed to chip inside fifty per cent of of the $415,000 appraised price of the property. The relax is actuality raised into and not here of private donations.

The buy would exist small portion of the trust's larger attempt to conserve concerning 1,000-acres of not shut space down the Androscoggin River near Lewiston, land that too has been targeted by developers. The trust plans to carry on accompanied by allowing Boy Scouts to use the land while opening it up to the larger population for camping with every one other accompanied by other activities.

Dorval said it's important for groups exist fond of hers to step up while these camps are place up for sale.

"There are accredited land trusts all across the nation that tin lay clasp of this on," she said. "I believe it would exist foolish if people stayed away from this since of the (Boy Scout abuse) controversy. To us, it's not concerning that. It is concerning conservation with every one other accompanied by concerning trying to conserve an area for early years with every one other accompanied by nature-based activities with every one other accompanied by famous scouting access."

Scouts sell off camps under strain from sexual intercourse abuse suits

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