Boy Scouts want new digs

 

COLORADO

The Boy Scouts, with their image as resourceful, courteous, "leave no trace" outdoorsmen, seem an unlikely focal point for an environmental controversy over public land use. But that is where the Western Colorado Council of the Boy Scouts of America has found itself since proposing a new Boy Scout camp in the White River National Forest outside Aspen.

The council has applied for a Forest Service permit to convert an existing, small tourist ranch on the Fryingpan River into the camp, expanding the ranch's capacity from 50 guests to 200 Boy Scouts plus staff. The plan includes updates on existing buildings and a $1.5 million sewer system.

"I really think that we would be a good fit up there," says Randy Derryberry of the council. "We try to teach living with the environment."

Area environmentalists, residents, and even some scoutmasters say the proposed camp is too big for the remote and pristine land.

"All of a sudden those trails in an alpine area are going to get trampled," says Telluride, Colo., scoutmaster Dan Chancellor. "Scouts are kids - they're going to leave their trails."

The Forest Service plans to complete an environmental assessment and has opened a scoping period for the proposal until Feb. 8.