Boy Scouts reject bid to stop sale of camp to developers

A Boy Scouts council has rejected the latest offer designed to preserve a 252-acre camp in southeastern Connecticut and keep it out of the hands of developers.

Ted Langevin, who heads the nonprofit group Pathfinders, said Tuesday that his group put in a “competitive bid” last week for the Deer Lake Scout Reservation in Killingworth, well above the $2.4 million previously offered by another conservation group, The Trust for Public Land.

He said the bid was “pretty close” to the $4.6 million offered by developers. The Connecticut Yankee Council of Boy Scouts rejected the Pathfinders offer, he said, because it did not like the payment structure his group had proposed.

“We’ve encouraged our realtor to work with the Pathfinders, and any other interested party, to submit a superior offer until May 1,” the council said in a statement Tuesday.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal called the decision to reject the Pathfinders offer shocking and “antithetical to the mission of the Boy Scouts.”

“Since its founding, environmental values have been a core principle of the Boy Scouts,” the Connecticut Democrat said. “This action betrays those values and public service. The Boy Scouts are choosing money and development of a pristine part of Connecticut over a competitive offer that preserves open space for future campers and all Connecticut residents.”

The looming sale of the camp comes as the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware hears closing arguments this week to determine whether to confirm a reorganization plan for the Boy Scouts of America, which sought bankruptcy protection more than two years ago amid an onslaught of child sex allegations.

That bankruptcy could lead to the sale of land across the country as local councils contribute money to the settlement and deal with declining enrollment, experts have said.

The Connecticut Yankee Council has already turned over another camp property in Union, Connecticut, to the national organization, as well as cash from an endowment, to cover its share of the settlement fund. Proceeds from the sale of the Deer Lake Scout Reservation will be used to “improve and expand the facilities, programs and infrastructure” at two other camps it owns.

Langevin said he’s hopeful his group can raise more money and put in another bid before the May 1 deadline.

“I’m not going to say it’s not a Hail Mary pass,” he said. “It’s not going to be easy, but we have the support of our community. We have the support environmentalists and conservationists and of folks that have sent their kids to the camp, which has been a camp since 1930.”

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