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to the Editor
Writer says sale of Girl Scout Camp Cofitachiqui "disgraceful"
posted May 28, 2009
It is disgraceful that the SC Mountains to Midlands Council of Girl
Scouts of America wants to sell Camp Cofitachiqui in Edgefield county
two years after an administrative switch transferred it from Augusta’s
Central Savannah River Council. The Carolina Council is in a rush
to sell off its lands in an effort to bring scouting “inside” to
facilities like Columbia’s Urban Leadership Center. Only
three of its camps will remain.
The beautiful tract of land along the Edisto River’s westernmost
tributary was donated by Aikenite Claudia Phelps - a contemporary of
Juliette Gordon Lowe, the founder of the Girl Scouts. It is an
excellent example of the fall line zone – the transition line between
the piedmont and sand hills with a wide variety of rare plants
including loblolly bay, holly, kalmia and many wildflowers. The
land falls from sand hills to coastal plain along Paces Creek and its
tributaries. Animals include numerous birds, including nesting
pairs of pileated woodpeckers, reptiles, amphibians, beaver, deer, and
the occasional bear.
For over 50 years volunteers have built and maintained miles of hiking
trails, a 250-foot suspension bridge, numerous tent platforms and
shelters, and just recently a series of beautiful “tree house”
shelters. Thousands of girls, boys and families have forged
lifelong friendships and bonds with nature in the camp.
The Central Savannah River Council recently fought alongside local
residents to oppose a major chicken factory farm that would have ruined
the area. They helped create a special rural-residential zone to
protect the area from future threats.
The people of western SC were better served by the Georgia Council and
should rise up in protest of the sale by the Carolina chapter that is
so quick to throw away tradition, goodwill, and the hard work of local
volunteers. An injunction should be sought by local
citizens through SC Administrative Law Court requiring that the sale of
the land be to a group like the Heritage Trust, Sierra Club, Boy
Scouts, the State, or any other group dedicated to the preservation of
the land in perpetuity – as envisioned by its donor. Ms.
Phelps- would be appalled with the idea of selling off our heritage in
order to move scouting inside!
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