Locals Gather To Attempt To Stop Camp Russell Sale [AUDIO]
Herkimer County Legislator John Stephens wants the nearly 100 year old Boy Scout Camp Russell to remain open, despite a plan by the Revolutionary Trails Council to sell the property.
About 100 people gathered at Herkimer College on Tuesday to hear Stephens' call to action to get the RTC to halt the sale of the camp or, at the very least re-visit the issue with input from parents, staff, Eagle Scouts and current and past scout members.
Stephens wanted to to make it clear that he organized the meeting as a private citizen, not as a Herkimer County Legislator.
In fact, Stephens, who is an Eagle Scout from Troop 8 in Ilion said it was the overwhelming response to the 'Save Camp Russell, BSA' Facebook page that he created with his son that spurred him into organizing the meeting.
"With close to 3,000 people that have joined our page and over 2,000 signatures on a petition I believe the council has to stop and take a look at what they did," Stephens said. "They need to realize there's people out there that are not in favor of this, and the majority of the people are not in favor of this."
The RTC's plan is to sell Russell and Camp Cedarlands and use that money to upgrade Camp Kingsley in Ava, but Stephens says Kingsley just doesn't have the same amenities that Russell does.
He said that he has spoken with members of the council including Scout Executive Steve McEwan and says they have been "less than cooperative" With his requests for information about the current state of Camp Russel and the financial situation leading to the decision to sell the camp.
Stephens says from here he is looking for more people to organize to present to the RTC or even the National Council a showing of support and maybe even a fundraising plan to save the camp.
If all else fails, he says the group will look into taking legal action to file an injunction against the RTC to prevent the sale of Camp Russell.