Camp offered for G-8 journalists, visitors

Many of the hotels in the Frederick area were already booked for the weekend of May 18 to 20 when the White House announced the G-8 Summit would be held at Camp David.

College graduations, various festivals, a women’s health fair, Native American Pow-Wow and other public events are scheduled for that weekend, along with weddings and family social events. That’s not counting vacation and business travelers who already booked the rooms.

Many were caught off guard when the event, bringing leaders and their entourages from the world’s eight most powerful nations, was moved from Chicago to the presidential mountain retreat.

But the crunch for space has sparked some to offer space for journalists or others who may need a place to stay close to Camp David.

David Hutchison, a board member of Camp West-Mar, has offered the 78-acre site for short-term rent. The camp is located on Md. 77 not far from Camp David.

The camp, owned by the American Legion and normally used by the YMCA and Boy and Girl Scout groups, can accommodate 120 people in five barracks buildings, Hutchison said. The camp has a dining hall and bathrooms.

“It can hold a large contingent of people out of the public view,” Hutchison said.

“I can arrange for food, 24 hours a day, and security,” said Hutchison, who works in security at the Carroll County court system.

Carol Atherly and her husband, Mike, live near Gambrill State Park, about five miles from Camp David.

The Atherlys said they have a private room, with private bath, meals and free Wi-Fi, available.

John Fieseler, director of the Tourism Council of Frederick County, said he has been providing information on what is available in hotel space, as well as dining and shopping and sightseeing.

“Something like this could draw 2,000 journalists or others interested in the summit,” Fieseler said Monday.

Kara Norman, director of the Downtown Frederick Partnership, said she did not have any direct inquiries.

“We are letting the tourism office handle most of that, they are a bigger organization. But we know downtown Frederick will benefit from folks coming to dine and shop,” Norman said.

“I know the businesses in Thurmont and Frederick are anticipating the summit, but not sure what will happen,” Fieseler said. “A lot of what will happen is being held close because of security. We hope to know more closer to the event.”

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