HUNTSVILLE – Rotary club members are shining a spotlight on a downtrodden outdoor adventure camp.
Pitman’s Bay on Mary Lake has been a dedicated area for youth activity in the community since the 1940s. When the land was transferred to the Town of Huntsville, there was a caveat that it needed to be kept in trust for youth.
The camp on the property built by the Huntsville Scouts in the 1950s has three buildings, one of which is condemned. The water there is not potable.
The Huntsville Youth Club now uses the nearly 100-acre property for day camps during the week and the town rents the area out on the weekends.
The site has natural appeal. It has wooded and open areas as well as water access.
And now members of the Rotary Club of Huntsville want to spruce it up.
Rotarians Cameron White, Hugh Holland and George Young made a presentation to Huntsville council on May 22 asking for its partnership in the revitalization of the camp.
The Rotary club has participated in projects such as washroom upgrades at the camp in the past.
Young said the camp has been in need of upgrades for years.
He said part of what he would like to see is water system upgrades for drinkable water along with building upgrades and trail systems.
He said there is potential for cross-country skiing and nature trails on the site among several other passive recreational uses.
“My comment to council was, let’s do a multi-year plan for the place and understand it doesn’t all have to be done at once,” said Young. “And also understand it doesn’t all have to be tax dollars.”
He suggested the town could join forces with organizations such as the Rotary club, businesses and individuals to boost the property’s appeal and maintain a piece of the community’s history.
Council seemed to support the idea and decided to hold a public meeting at an undetermined date to gauge the community’s interest in the project.
Mayor Claude Doughty realized something needed to be done at the camp.
“I’d like to have a site meeting down there with interested parties to actually look at it,” said Doughty. “We need to go through a public process and figure out what it is we want that place to be.”
He alluded to the history of the camp and that the land was transferred to the town in trust for youth in Huntsville.
“That needs to be respected,” he said.