Treasure Mountain Scout Camp under new operation after 81 years
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IDAHO FALLS – For more than 80 years, the Grand Teton Council has operated Treasure Mountain Scout Camp in Alta, Wyoming, but that’s about to change.
Grand Teton Council CEO Clarke Farrer tells EastIdahoNews.com they are working with the U.S. Forest Service, who owns the property, to transfer operations to The Church of Jesus of Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The details are still being finalized, so it’s not yet clear when the change will officially take place.
“Once they have an agreement (finalized) with the forest service, we will vacate our special-use permit and they will take over the property,” Farrer says.
Negotiations with the LDS Church began more than a year ago.
Farrer says lack of funding has made it difficult to maintain the camp since the church decided to end its long association with the Boy Scouts of America in 2019. Funding shortages got even worse during the COVID-19 pandemic since most of the scouting activities at the camp this year have been canceled.
The combination of these two things made it necessary to make a change, Farrer says.
“Two years ago, we had over 26,000 kids registered in scouting and six camp operations,” Farrer says. “We’re now down to just under 2,000 kids and we can’t financially maintain six camps … so we decided to (eliminate) the number of camps we had.”
Scouters participated in a Treasure Mountain improvement and clean up event this past weekend to prepare for the change.
Thousands of scouts have attended Treasure Mountain scout camp over the years. For many, one of the most memorable activities is the hike to a large, flat peak scouts call Table Rock.
There are some other trails that lead into Alaska Basin and Eddington Canyon that people also enjoy.
Farrer says Treasure Mountain Scout Camp has a reputation of being among the most beautiful scout camps in the world because of its majestic view of several landmarks. One of them is Chief Rock, a landmark Farrer says is the size of a small house that sits in a natural bowl-shaped amphitheater in the middle of the camp.
“You see this commanding view of Grand Teton Peak (on the east side) with Table Rock right in front of it,” Farrer says. “Looking to the south is the mountain from which Treasure Mountain got its name.”
In front of Treasure Mountain is another popular landmark called Big Medicine Falls.
Farrer says another reason Treasure Mountain was popular was the staff.
“Over the years, the staff at Treasure Mountain has been absolutely — I don’t know how to describe it — energetic, very enthusiastic, very committed to making sure everybody at the camp had a great experience,” he says.
The beginnings of Treasure Mountain Scout Camp dates back to 1939. Farrer says a committee officially selected it as a boy scout camp after looking at dozens of sites in the area. Chief Rock is one of the main reasons it was chosen, he says.
Farrer says he’s going to miss being part of Treasure Mountain Scout Camp, but he’s glad to know its operation will continue. A Latter-day Saint Church representative declined to comment on future plans for the camp because the transaction is still in progress.
Going forward, Farrer says the future of Grand Teton Council will largely depend on their ability to raise funds and on the support of the community.
“When the local scouts opened Treasure Mountain (81 years ago), our membership then looked about like it does now,” he says. “We’ve now dropped down to where we were 80 years ago and we have to start building back up again. The council will continue as long as we can be smart … and remain fiscally viable.”
Grand Teton Council still operates Little Lemhi Scout Camp in Swan Valley, Island Park Scout Camp and Salmon River High Adventure base camp. The council also operates a cub scout day camp north of Rigby called Krupp Scout Hollow.