Scouts not prepared to build camp
We believe in the goals of the Boy Scouts and would like to encourage the development of its programs. Therefore, it is with some reluctance that we oppose the proposal that the Western Colorado Boy Scout Council has submitted to the U.S. Forest Service for the development of the Fryingpan Ranch.We do so because there are issues that suggest the USFS does not need to do a full evaluation of the council’s proposal in order to reject it:Lack of specificity in the proposal:The proposal that has been submitted has not been sufficiently developed to make an evaluation of it. The submission reads like a “wish list” rather than a concrete plan that could be assessed. The obligation to develop a proposal belongs to those making it, not to the USFS. It is doubtful that the Forest Service has excess resources to allocate to developing a plan for the Western Colorado Boy Scout Council.Lack of resources to develop and deliver such a project:Scouting in western Colorado has only a small number of participants and a very large geographic region. The Western Colorado Council is primarily a volunteer organization, and those volunteers are spread across the Western Slope of Colorado. The council lacks the depth of experience and does not have the professional staff needed to develop a realistic plan, manage the governmental approval process and oversee the execution of such a complex project in a remote and sensitive location. The council has no plan to overcome these limitations.Management weakness:The Western Colorado Council already owns a Boy Scout camp located near Norwood. The council has failed to manage critical infrastructure (e.g. sewer) at that camp. This failure was sufficiently problematic that the State of Colorado has revoked the council’s permit for the Norwood facility. Until the council can demonstrate its ability to manage property that it now owns, it does not appear appropriate for the USFS to consider entrusting the management of a parcel of environmentally sensitive public land to the council.While its ambition is laudable, the Western Colorado Boy Scout Council has not demonstrated that the ability to overcome any of these limitations.Kathryn VagneurBasalt
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