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Grand Teton Council Boy Scouts to move out of Treasure Mountain campground

Driggs

DRIGGS — After decades of conversations with the Caribou-Targhee National Forest Service, the Grand Teton Council will begin the process of moving out of the 76-arce Treasure Mountain campsite located in Teton Canyon, Wyoming.

The site has been home to scouts since it was established in 1937 by the eastern Idaho-based council of the Boys Scouts of America. The scouts have used the site since 1937 through a special use permit with the Forest Service. That permit was allowed to expire in December 2021.

According to Forest Service public records obtained through a public information request by EastIdahoNews.com, council president Fritz Schmutz wrote on June 25, “The venue is above our capacity and would be better carried forward by an organization with greater resources and property management expertise.”

He added that this, “was a difficult decision to make.”

According to public records obtained as far back as 2010, the Forest Service has repeatedly asked council officials to address growing infrastructure issues and needs at the site including concerns over food storage, faulty and unsafe electrical wiring and leaking pipes that created access to unsafe drinking water.

In a file folder that is 6-inches thick with correspondence between the council and the Forest Service over the last decade, the council ultimately did not address Forest Service concerns and requests.

The camp, which is accessible through Driggs and located in Alta, Wyoming, was last used by the Boy Scouts in 2018.

The council has inked a new special use permit in an effort to bring the campsite to a close and transfer the facility back to the Forest Service. The new permit expires in October of this year, and details cleanup efforts at the site. This is the first phase of what could be a multi-year cleanup project, according to Teton Basin District Ranger Jay Pence.

Public records show removal of scout-related infrastructure will cost a little more than $250,000.

The council will be responsible for removing and disposing of existing infrastructure, repairing disturbed areas of the camp to prevent erosion, replanting vegetation in bare areas with a mix of natural vegetation and remediating the shooting range.

The site is open to the public, although access to the site is limited for safety purposes and to allow the council unfettered access to complete their work. Private structures will remain locked and closed to public entry.

As for the future of the area, Pence is hopeful but remains focused on the present.

“Right now we just want to work with the scouts to clean up the unsafe pieces of the facility so the site can be safely used by the general public,” Pence said. “It’s helpful to have this permit in place to remove the unsafe infrastructure. With the increased use of the site by the public, especially around Treasure Lake, that will be important moving forward. I really respect how much effort the Grand Teton Council has made and how open and honest the council has been. I really respect their leadership and know how difficult this decision was for them.”

A call to the council for comment was not immediately returned.

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