Firestone (Camp Downsizing)
Masahiro Sayano (sayano@MICRO.CALTECH.EDU)
Mon, 8 Jun 1992 08:53:05 PDT
Greetings, Fellow Scouters!
This is of primary interest to those in the Los Angeles area, but this
similar thing may be happening in your area.
Firestone Scout Reservation, the last large (several thousand acres)
camp within the Los Angeles basin area (30-40 minutes from downtown
on urban highways) is closed at present; all but 600 acres will be sold
by the Los Angeles Area Council.
This is an excellent scouting camp since it is in a rather secluded
area (Tonner Canyon) which has only been recently developed nearby
(Diamond Bar area). It is as close to a wilderness area as you can
get in an urban region. It is very well utilized by both scouts and
non-scouting organizations for camping purposes.
The reason for closing this camp, according to sources close to the
council, is financial: It is no longer economically feasible to keep
it open at its present size. The camp will be downsized and the rest
of the land sold to development. Furthermore, rumor has it that
there will be a highway built straight through Tonner Canyon.
Here's the opposing viewpoint: The money will be used to increase
the general fund of the council for generating an endowment for paying
salaries, some of which are already over $100,000. Six hundred
acres is nowhere near what is needed for camping purposes. And, if
the camp is encroached upon by housing, the neighbors may be able to
force its closure eventually (Just like the Arthur Letts campgrounds
in the Hollywood Hills area) because the camp is too noisy, causes
congestion, etc. Lastly, if money is the problem, the county or
someone wants to build a sewage treatment plant requiring 9 acres
that will bring in at least $50,000 a year, and a corner of the present
campground is more than sufficient for this. As for the road, no
agency (Caltrans, county, etc.) is intending to do so.
As a Scouter closely associated with a unit, I favor not closing
Firestone since it is an excellent camp that we have long utilized in
the past. I can understand financial hardships forcing unpleasant
decisions as well. And, since both arguments were not made with any
rebuttals or by people in the higher decision levels of the council,
I can't vouch for their authenticity.
Is this news to anyone? Can you clarify what's going on here? I
can't believe the council would make decisions detrimental to the
program needs of units for bureaucratic purposes, nor do I want to
believe that: They should be close enough to the units to see what
is necessary. And, if you are fortunate enough to have a camp like
Firestone in your area, what's your situation like?
Yours in Scouting,
Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 738
Los Angeles Area Council
Boy Scouts of America
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City