Saratoga County

Town of Milton looks to buy Camp Boyhaven

Town looking to preserve land
Cabins at Camp Boyhaven in Milton.
Cabins at Camp Boyhaven in Milton.

MILTON — For nearly 100 years, Camp Boyhaven was a place where boys could go to appreciate the great outdoors.

Now that the 300-acre property is for sale, town officials want to make it a place where everyone can go to get the same benefit. 

Their bid to buy the land, located along the Kayaderosseras Creek between Rock City Falls and Middle Grove, is one of two finalists being reviewed by the Twin Rivers Council of the Boy Scouts of America’s board.

RELATED: Milton scouting camp to end nearly 100-year run

“We would do a lot of things with it,” said Supervisor Dan Lewza, naming fishing and camping as potential uses for the land under the town’s ownership. “We would keep the space open, but we could use it for our summer program, maybe get some horse trails back there.”

Lewza said he wants to see the land preserved, not developed. He said the state has expressed interest in purchasing some of the land from the town if the town is able to buy it and would also keep the land open. 

“I don’t want us to become like several of the towns in Saratoga County,” he said. “We have our town center, but we can also have our rural area where people can enjoy open space … their parks and trails. It’s very important that you keep a balance.”

Rich Stockton, the council’s scout executive and CEO, said nearly 10 proposals had been submitted for the property when the bidding process closed at the end of May. About half were for commercial development, a couple proposals were to run private summer camps at the property and the others also involved preserving the land, he said.

A taskforce assigned by Stockton narrowed those down to two proposals “that made sense,” including the town of Milton’s, and they were handed to the board for review, he said.

Board members expressed support for the bids but wanted to see some adjustments made, and both parties tweaked their proposals, he said. Stockton would not disclose the other bidder’s identity.

The council’s board will decide next week on a final proposal, which will allow Stockton to negotiate a final deal with the winning bidder, he said.

Stockton declined to discuss bids’ price range, saying board members wanted the process to be open but “private enough to allow people to make their bids in all good faith.”

He said the board’s 40-plus members have differing views on whether the land should be preserved or developed — the latter of which would likely garner a higher sale price and more profits for the council.

“Some of them are going to be very interested in the sentimental, futuristic part of the camp, and some of them aren’t,” he said. “Some of them are going to look at what we’re trying to do with the proceeds, which is that all the money from this project is going to go to furthering our camping operations at our other two major camps.”

Stockton said in May that the camp is being closed because attendance and usage is down and resources needed to keep it up and running, like funds and volunteers, are limited.

He expects young Scouts who went to Boyhaven to frequent the council’s remaining camps, Rotary Scout Reservation in Averill Park and Camp Wokpominee in Fort Ann, instead. 

First used as a Boy Scout camp in 1924, Camp Boyhaven became a camp for Cub Scouts and Webelos in 1991 when the Schenectady Council merged with the Twin Rivers Council, forming a district that reaches up to the Canadian border. 

Boyhaven stopped hosting overnight Cub Scout and Webelos camping programs after the summer of 2015, citing dwindling participation; the programs were moved to Camp Wakpominee. 

Since then, the camp hosted family and day camps for young scouts, as well as Boy Scout activities like the midwinter Klondike derby. Sites were rented out by scouting families on the weekends until May 31, when rentals close for good.

“The whole overall process is sad and upsetting, not just to some of our volunteers but to the board as a whole,” Stockton said. “But we do believe, in the long run, that … it’s going to help the council, and it’s going to help the kids.”

Categories: -News-, Schenectady County

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