Wednesday, July 09, 2008

NYS to Wilderness Camps: Make Way for Regulation!

Long-time reader and commenter Bowhunter asked me to post this article about the incresing regulation of Wilderness Camps in New York State. This is affecting some ministries near and dear to his heart, forcing them to bring on extra staff and denying some of the boys the chance to meet with God alone in His creation.

When it comes to outdoor wilderness camps, the forces of nature butt up against an equally daunting power: New York's vast state bureaucracy.

Some of the push for stronger regulations followed the 1998 death of an 11-year-old boy who drowned in a rain-swollen creek while attending Camp Scatico in Livingston, Columbia County.

Lately, though, the operators of wilderness camps like this one have been fighting back in efforts to make the rules more realistic.

"What used to be considered common sense now is codified. It's hard sometimes to codify common sense," said Ron Mackey, director of Deerfoot Lodge, one of a handful of true wilderness camps that remain in the state.
Among the regulations causing headaches is a new law requiring all minors - even those with full wilderness, first aid, and survival training - to be accompanied by an adult at all times. This means 17-year-olds preparing for being counsellors have to bring along "adults" on hikes intended to test their independence and survival skils.


BowHunter said...

Thanks for posting this. Deerfoot is a great camp that touches the lives of over 1000 campers and staff each summer. The laws reducing "camping group sizes" that have been imposed are really hurting their ministry. The NY DEC (department of environmental control) is a left leaning branch of the government that has the unstated goal of keeping people out of the woods! They believe that people are the problem and that if less people used the woods, nature would be alot safer. This is total crap! Deerfoot teaches kids to be respectful to creation and practice LNT (Leave No Trace) ethics. Teaching people about the woods is and how to enjoy the outdoors is the best way to protect our natural resources. Those kids will remember the fun they had and fight to protect wilderness areas when they are adults. There is a fundamental shift in thought that needs to take place before Deerfoot or other camps like it will be free to share the joy of outdoor activities with children.

Sean said...

for the houghtonites among us, i wonder how this is affecting the highlander program. with most of the participants at or below 18 this could put a damper on that program as well.

BowHunter said...

That is true sean, there would be no "solo".