HISTORY OF THE TEN MILE RIVER SCOUT CAMPS

By the middle of the 1920s Scouting was growing at a tremendous pace. There were, at that time, living in the great city of New York men who were dreaming of vast unspoiled woodland acres as a solution to a problem, which weighed heavily on their minds and hearts. This group was the Boy Scout Foundation of Greater New York, which was headed by a man of great foresight as well as an abundance of Boy Scout training. His name was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who, in 1929, became Governor of New York State and eventually guided the destiny of the United States as President throughout the Depression era and World War II.


When Roosevelt organized the Boy Scout Foundation in 1922 and became its President, the camps at Kanawauke Lakes in the Palisades Interstate Park were being leased by the Boy Scouts of New York City. At the time, Roosevelt set three objectives, one of which was a permanent camp for the N.Y.C. Boy Scouts, adequate for all time.


Year after year camp attendance had risen steadily until the possibilities for expansion were exhausted.The camp was simply too small and no more wild lands were available in the vicinity with which to enlarge the camping facilities. Underprivileged youth campers, mainly from New York City, filled other nearby lakes.


Accordingly, about 1924, Roosevelt's far reaching vision and limitless energies started the ball rolling toward the acquisition of a new Boy Scout camp site large enough to meet any future needs. The campsite search committee, including two judges, Frederic Kernochan and James Cropsey, searched diligently for two years within a fifty-mile radius of New York City, but to no avail. It was deemed absolutely essential to acquire a very large parcel of land, since it was assumed that camp attendance would continue to grow at the rapid rate of the 1920s. The land also had to contain lakes, streams, swamps, timberland, and few main roads. Other requirements included relative isolation from settled communities, accessibility by rail, water and public highways and an adequate water supply. While multiple sites were considered, some seriously, no such campsite could be found within fifty miles of New
York City.


After examination of many maps and another year of careful investigation, it was found that options could be placed on thirty-two small parcels of land and farms in the region of Ten Mile River, all of which adjoined to form an area of approximately ten thousand acres. Furthermore, this aggregation of land contained all of the several essential requirements desired.


THE LAND IS PURCHASED


The real estate firm of Gaul & Kampfer, in Yonkers, N.Y., was authorized to purchase the property from the landowners, but not to disclose the role of the Boy Scout Foundation. It was thought that the Foundation had access to substantial money and that there were many who would prey on that money if afforded the opportunity.


In April of 1927 the Foundation started a $1 million fundraising campaign to pay for the purchase and development of the new camp, whose location was not publically disclosed at the time. The Monticello Republican Watchman first announced the massive land purchase in its August 12, 1927 issue. As a testimony to the trustworthiness of those involved, no one except the purchasers knew where the new camps were to be established until all of the necessary land options were acquired. On October 7, 1927 the thirty-two proportionate landowners were invited to Monticello for the purpose of signing the deeds and receiving payment for their lands.

© 2019 Ten Mile River Scout Museum.

Ten Mile River Scout Museum

1481 County Road 26

Narrowsburg, NY  12764

845-252-2063