Haliburton Scout Reserve land for sale

Scouts Canada has recently listed for sale the beautiful shoreline and campsite on Drag Lake at Haliburton Scout Reserve. The only reason Scouts Canada has given for selling this land is that it will make money. They have also revealed that there is no plan for how the money will be spent.

Here are some reasons why the land must not be sold:

  1. Money can be raised in other ways. HSR is of interest to Scouting province-wide, as well as nationally and internationally. The goodwill attached to the camp would mean that a properly-organized fundraising campaign would raise more than the $1.39 million sale asking price.
  2. There is no plan for how the money from the sale would be used. Decisions to raise money must be driven by program needs. There must be a vision for the long-term development of the program, a vision which has the buy-in of the membership. Without a plan, these dollars could quickly vanish without producing any significant program improvement.
  3. This is a bad time to sell land. Anyone can realize that the real estate market is way down.
  4. The claim that the Drag Lake area “is rarely used” is false. Many troops go there. If one wants to do a long, challenging hike at HSR, it’s the place to go. The other backwoods sites are too close. We need lots of backwoods sites so that none becomes over-used.
  5. The Drag Lake site would be the perfect place to develop into a new camp. If we want membership growth, we need more summer camping, and for that we need more summer camping facilities with lakefront. Research shows that summer camping programing is an important part of membership retention. HSR’s Kennabi Lake area is already near capacity each summer and is being badly eroded due to over-use. No other Scout property in Ontario comes close to the program potential of this site.
  6. Drag Lake offers unique possibilities. The Drag Lake site could be a base for boating programs including canoeing into the town of Haliburton. Furthermore, the lake is large enough for a real sailing program, not just zigzagging back and forth on Kennabi Lake. Scouts Canada owns little lakefront property in Ontario. Almost all of these are small camps on small lakes.
  7. The safety issue mentioned in the newspaper article is not a problem. The site is on a secluded bay of Drag Lake with less boat traffic than Kennabi Lake. The road is hundreds of metres from the site, serves only a few cottages, and poses no danger.
  8. The sale is not supported by the membership. The sale was thrown together by a tiny group of unelected and unaccountable volunteers without any member participation. If the sale were really a good idea, the members would support it in a fair vote. They should let the members decide.
  9. Even if we don’t need the land now, selling it means believing we will never want it. We need a vision for the Movement in ten years, 50 years, 100 years. Are we planning for Scouting to turn around membership decline or have we given up on growth and instead will sell off the very resources that could promote growth?

Next to people, land is our most valuable asset. If this land is sold, it will soon be covered in cottages and will be lost to Scouting forever. If we keep the land, we will decide how best to use this asset to promote the growth of Scouting. Turning this heritage into money should be the recourse of last resort.

Scouts camps belong to all of us, not just the few volunteers who have senior positions. Decisions about the land must be made by the membership of Scouts Canada in an open process.

Get involved

  1. Sign the petitionStop the Sale of Haliburton Scout Reserve Land” and add your voice to the hundreds who have already signed
  2. Join the Facebook group Petition Against the Sale of Haliburton Scout Reserve Land
  3. Spread the word among your Scouting friends. Feel free to copy and email this page
  4. Keep informed Check the SCOUT eh! website for updates

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