Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

The Boy Scouts of America Buckskin Council Executive Board recently released information concerning the future of several camp sites in West Virginia, including Dilley’s Mill Buckskin Scout Reservation in Pocahontas County.

The board reviewed attendance of the summer camp held each year at BSR and found a decline in campers the past four years.
In 2013, 886 scouts attended camp, while only 468 attended in 2016.

Scout executive Jeffrey Purdy explained that, due to decline in attendance, the board chose to limit usage of the camp.

“The Buckskin Scout Reservation, commonly known as Dilley’s Mill, will be designated as a primitive camping only facility,” Purdy said. “The cabins and dining hall will be winterized and kept in a dormant state. The ranger position will become a caretaker position much like the caretaker position that we have at Camp Roland and Camp Arrowhead.”

While the facility will no longer host the summer camp, it is not closing completely. It will still be available for use.
“I think people – when they hear that they’re not going to run summer camp – they think that means we’re closing the camp,” Purdy said. “The camp is still going to be available for weekend camping. We’re still going to have a person on-site.

“Where the camp is at – the three acres where the main facilities are, the dining hall, the campsites – will remain the same as it has,” he continued. “The difference is that we’re not going to run a summer camp there like we have in past summers. The facility is still going to be available.”

Along with changing the status of Dilley’s Mill, the board approved the recommendation of the Summer Camp Program Task Force to offer a two-week boy scout resident summer camp in 2017. The first week will be held at Camp Arrowhead, June 18 through 24, and the second week will be at Summit Bechtel Reserve Summer Camp, June 25 through July 1.

Purdy said the board made the changes due to economic issues and declining participation in programs.

“It’s pretty clear we have a challenge,” Purdy said. “It’s not just in Pocahontas County. The area of West Virginia we cover – our coal country here in southwest West Virginia – is severely challenged economically, as well.”

The future may not be clear, but for now, the board’s plan is to keep Dilley’s Mill open for primitive camping.

“That’s their current decision and, obviously, we’re not going to change that in the near future because that’s what we decided to do,” Purdy said. “That’s the current path we’re taking, trying to be more cost efficient.”

Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at sastewart@pocahontastimes.com