Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Letter to Unit Leaders

Here is the letter the Trapper Trails Council is sending out to the leaders who attended Loll last year or are signed up for this season.

Let me put forward a ward of caution. Remember that we are not fighting with Yellowstone Park. We support the Park, and have always received their support. This is not a battle, nor is it a discussion that we necessarily want turned over to the newspaper editorial pages. Media discussion all-to-often develop into fights. We are not belligerents; we do not want to make Yellowstone into some sort of a foe. We support the Park Service, and want to help the Park make the wise and just decision in this case. They should not feel they are under attack nor should we give weapons to their real enemies, nor a provide a platform to those who do not like the BSA.

February 9, 2010

Dear Scout Leader,

This letter is to alert you of a challenge to Camp Loll and ask for your help in meeting it. For many years, Camp Loll has used hikes into Yellowstone National Park as a valuable tool in teaching the young people you have brought to the wilderness. The hikes to Union Falls, Scout Pool, and Terrace Falls have been of special value.
Under a new Commercial Use Authorization policy, Camp Loll has been asked to purchase a permit to authorize the camp’s use of the Park. Camp Loll has no problem in complying with this request. For many years we have worked in partnership with the National Park Service, we have greatly benefited from their support, training, and expertise. However, the permit parameters as are presently set would severely limit our scouts’ access to the Park. A provision in the permit, as it now stands, would limit the number of hikers to Scout Pool and Union Falls to 15 and to Terrace Falls to 30 a day. As three of these hikers would be staff members and six adult leaders, Hike Day opportunities in Yellowstone would thus be reduced to 36 youth per week.
We are confident that this permit is not an assault on Camp Loll or Scouting. It simply shows a lack in understanding of the value gained from the positive use of these resources. There are those who believe that treasures such as these hike destinations are best protected by locking them away; who feel that the desire of a few to find solitude outweighs the need of the many who find life long values and inspiration provided by experiencing these beautiful locations. The truth is that the full value of wilderness can only be realized by its proper use. Only by sharing these wonders with our youth will we teach of their value and insure their preservation.
Camp Loll has a stellar reputation in back country use and ethics. We are sure that you can testify to the level of training and guidance your scouts received at Camp Loll with the help of the Forest Service and the National Park. America’s youth are its future; the wilderness treasures set aside in Yellowstone are their birthright to enjoy and their duty to protect. The true value of these treasures can only be realized if they can be experienced; responsibility for their preservation only inspired by visiting them.
We are confident that the Park will support the continuation of present use practices if they can be educated to the true importance the hikes to Union Falls, Scout Pool, Terrace Falls and other Yellowstone destinations have to America, its youth, and the future of wilderness everywhere.
Please write letters, and ask others to write letters, to those who have the authority and responsibility to protect the proper and reasonable use of these resources. Our elected representatives are our voice in the American system, and those employed in our National Park are public servants who must support what is right. Here are addresses and other contact information for those who need to hear from us.

Respectfully Yours, Bill Wangsgard
Delose Conner
Director of Camping
Camp Director, Camp Loll BSA Trapper Trails Council BSA

15 comments:

Q. McB. said...

I don't understand the lack of communication. Why aren't we working with Central Backpacking Office? Who is behind these CUA's and why all the sudden change? What are their reasons?

Lysis said...

Quin,

We are working in that very direction. Your positive letter of support, promptly mailed, will be of great help in securing these very actions.

Anonymous said...

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Jason said...

Delose,

This is Jason Dalpias. I wanted to let you know that you have my full support on this issue. I sent letters via email to Superintendent Lewis, Representative Rob Bishop and Senators Bennett and Hatch. Keep up the great work!

Lysis said...

Jason,

It is great to have your working on this challenge. I would love to have copy of your letter, if that is possible. I am trying to marshal all the documentation I can for the push to come. We are in the right on this and I do believe that the right will prevail. Thank you for your note. It was very heartening.

Jason said...

Delose,

I don't have your email address, so I will post my letter here:

P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park
Wyoming 82190

Dear Superintendent Lewis:

I am writing to respectfully request that points seven and eight of a recent Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) issued to Camp Loll by Yellowstone’s Concessions Management Division be modified to remove restrictions placed on the number of day hikers. The limitations of the CUA would reduce the number of Camp Loll day hikers from approximately 200 to 45 and would thus rob over 150 American citizens each summer week the opportunity to experience the Yellowstone backcountry.

Why am I taking the time to write you about this issue? It all started with a hike. When I was fourteen years old I had the opportunity to be led on a day hike from Camp Loll to visit Union Falls and Scout Pool [Ouzel Pool]. On this hike I learned about the history of America’s first national park, received hands-on instructions in wilderness preservation and was forever changed as I beheld the awesome natural wonders of Yellowstone’s backcountry. If the restrictions of the Camp Loll CUA had been in place back when I was young, I likely would have been denied the opportunity to benefit from this life-changing day hike.

The National Park Service has often struggled with its seemingly contradictory mandate to provide “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people” (Yellowstone National Park Act, 1872) while still leaving the parks “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations” (National Park Service Organic Act, 1916). In the case of allowing all campers from Camp Loll the opportunity to visit Union Falls, Scout Pool and Terraced Falls, there exists no such dilemma. Those visitors to Camp Loll who hike into the park are properly trained in backcountry etiquette, well supervised and do not impair the enjoyment of future generations.

Please allow visitors to Camp Loll full hiking access to Union Falls, Scout Pool and Terraced Falls. Denying young Americans the opportunity to experience the wonders of Yellowstone National Park is wrong. Restricting the access our youth have to the park also squanders valuable opportunities to educate them in the proper use of the park and instill in them a love of Yellowstone National Park.

Sincerely,

Jason A. Dalpias

Lysis said...

Thank you Jason,

This letter will be a great help to many who read and seek to grasp the truth. Please encourage all you know who share your experience to contact the Park and their Representatives in government.

Taylor and Jodi said...

The letter that jodi is:

Dear,

We have recently been informed that due to a lawsuit driven by the Sierra Club, non-profit groups are required to obtain Commercial Use Authorization permits. As alumni of BSA Camp Loll staff, we recognize that certain aspects of this proposal will destroy Camp Loll’s ability to utilize Yellowstone.

During the four years we worked at Camp Loll, we were able to see the positive impact and enriching experience access to Yellowstone provided to thousands of young boys, leaders, and camp staff members. As a staff, we learned to love and respect the wilderness around us, and were trained to properly protect and defend the treasures we had to utilize. As a result, we were able to share our knowledge, passions, and experiences with the many Boy Scouts that came to Camp Loll. From Union Falls and Scout Pool, to Terraced Falls and Bechler Canyon, Boy Scouts have been able to be immersed in a wilderness like none other in a safe and organized setting. These young people have a right to witness the beauties of their great nation, and only by exercising that right will they be able to accept the responsibilities of wilderness protection, and gain a desire to preserve what is all of ours. We have personally seen these experiences change and impact countless lives for the better. For many of the boys who attend Camp Loll, it is the only time in their youth they have the opportunity to visit Yellowstone. We want them to have fond memories of the park that will motivate them to return and encourage future generations to love nature as they were able to. What a tragedy it would be to lose this.

Yellowstone needs the Boy Scouts, and the Boy Scouts need Yellowstone. With limited access to the park, thousands of boys will miss the opportunity to embrace the wilderness, and our national parks will be left with fewer citizens who desire to preserve the irreplaceable beauties.

Sincerely,

Taylor D. Sparks

Jodi H. Sparks

Lysis said...

Jodi and Taylor,

Thank you for your letters. I have had contact with Yellowstone Park this morning. I spoke with Sue William from the Concessions Management Division. She has been out of town until yesterday, and this was actually her second call. She was very professional and cordial. She listened to my ramblings with respect, took notes, and promised to carefully review the posts at the Agora. Sue said she would share all this with her supervisors and they would be in touch soon.

I did mention to Sue that she might receive some letters. She indicated that the letters were already coming in. Please keep it up. These wonderful explanations of the value of Loll and the truly meaningful service to out country that Yellowstone provides through its support of Camp Loll, are surely of value in the decisions that must be made.

Todd said...

[sent seperately to Ms. Lewis and Ms. Jennings]

By now I'm sure you have heard the pleas and arguments of scores of ardent conservationists and scouters who have been profoundly influenced by their scouting experience in the Bechler ranger district of Yellowstone National Park. I won't take much of your time.

The Camp Loll scout reservation in the Jedediah National Wilderness Area just south of the Bechler ranger district (operated by the Trapper Trails Council with headquarters in Ogden, Utah) was my home for four summers in the late 80's and early 90's. I strive to return for brief visits every year. In particular, the pristine experience of hiking to Union and Terraced Falls and Scout Pool is a scene that plays out in my mind most days I am not there!

Like others who have worked on the camp's staff, I was extensively trained in the practices of Leave-No-Trace and low impact camping. Every summer there are dozens of staffers and hundreds of scouts and scouters who transform into the Park's greatest allies during their encounter with Camp Loll. These are young men and women (and their leaders) who become lifelong advocates of nature conservation and protecting the great natural resources of our country and planet. They teach others what they learned at Loll. They pick up litter after others, no matter where they go. They will forever promote the values of the Department of the Interior, whether they choose employment in your field or otherwise become leaders of a rising generation.

In short, I would simply yet strongly request that you and your staff reconsider the CUA limitations on Park use for Camp Loll (a not-for-profit organization) that have been discussed of late. I agree that we should do what we can to protect our natural national treasures. I can appreciate the intent of your decision. However I cannot, as a taxpayer and an individual steward of the great American interior, understand or support a motion that would curtail the priceless work that is ongoing at Camp Loll - to raise men and women into 'rangers' who themselves become our greatest national treasures.

Please do what you must to understand what Loll is all about. Please balance the interests and motives of all parties. Please do what is right for the park AND the people who will forever protect it.

With Warm Regards,

Todd G. Wangsgard, PhD
Blue Springs, Missouri
Member, Sierra Club
816.810.6474
www.toddwangsgard.com

Lysis said...

Todd,

Thank you for your letter. It is most gratifying to see the depth of support and receive witness to the effectiveness of the outcome of these hikes in the lives of those blessed to take them. I am confident that as those who do not comprehend the enormity of the benefit, or the truly small cost of this program, will reach a meaningful understand by reading such testimony.

Anonymous said...

Delose,

Here is the letter I sent.

I don't have your email. I hope this helps

-Lon

Dear _______:
I am writing this letter to you to urge your continued support of Camp Loll Boy Scout Camp located on the shores of Lake of the Woods.

Over 30 years ago I was a staff member at Camp Loll for two summers. These two summers were some of the most formative times of my life. Since that time I earned an engineering degree, work in America’s Space program as a contractor for the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville Alabama. I have never forgotten the lessons I learned while working at Camp Loll.
The impact of my days at camp Loll were so lasting that in the middle of my engineering career I took a multi year sabbatical from work to take my boys back to Camp Loll so that they can learn some of the valuable lessons I learned while working there. I wanted them to learn to love and respect the environment the way I had so many years ago. Both of my sons have become Eagle Scouts. Both are active in their church activities and working on college degrees. The activities and time spent at Camp Loll help in their growth of this there is no doubt.

It has come to my attention that the Camp Loll director received material relating to a Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) from Yellowstone’s Concessions Management Division. Certain aspects of this proposal will destroy Camp Loll’s ability to utilize Yellowstone. He was not informed of any notice on the Federal Registry in compliance with the Administrative Procedures Act concerning a Notice of Proposed Rule Making. Nor was he, as a Stake Holder, consulted on the formation of this (CUA). To the contrary, in light of our long and successful partnership with the Park, Camp Loll was given assurances that our program would continue unchanged, indeed be strengthened, by the permitting process. Please help to rescue this valuable partnership.

Here are several points about Camp Loll and the people who operate the camp.

1. Loll’s hikes have had a positive effect – on those who take them who are thus made better people, on the wilderness by teaching love for and understanding of the outdoors, on the lives of youth thus steered into positive actions and values.

2. Camp Loll has followed every reasonable requirement and has thus greatly reduced its impact while actually improving the condition of the places we visit

3. The young people guided to these places have a right to enjoy them and only by exercising that right will they accept the responsibilities of wilderness protection that result from such experiences. There are a few who would restrict the wilderness to their own use – excluding in the name of solitude others who seek the same pleasure they crave. Such short sighted selfishness will do great harm to the wilderness, and to those who are deprived of its use. These people are not with Yellowstone park. For years the park service has worked with us to provide the opportunity for thousands of youth and leaders to experience and learn about wilderness protection. We want to support and work with them. The park service is under pressure and we need to let them know that we support them in their efforts to make Yellowstone available to all people, now and in the future.



Camp Loll is located in a fragile ecosystem but just think of how many boys visit that camp in any given year and the minor impact they have to the area, and then compare the impact that just a few every day tourists have on a campsite. I have seen the difference. I am sure you have too. I hope you will support Camp Loll so that this valuable teaching resource will not be lost.

Thank you,


Lon M. Stevens

Manager
Avionics Systems and Electronics
Home Email: lonm@knology.net
Home Phone: (256) 464 5542

Lysis said...

Thank you Lon. It is great to hear from you and to be working with you in this important cause.

David Dibble said...

Delose and All, thank you for all you do, here is a copy of the letter which I am sending to Mr. Lewis:


Dear Superintendent Lewis,


I am writing concerning the Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) from Yellowstone’s Concessions Management Division and its effect on Camp Loll’s use of the Park.

You have undoubtedly heard many perspectives on this issue, and I would like to briefly share a thought or two. I began working a Camp Loll when I was fifteen years old (1992), and it was one of the pivotal times in my life. I developed a great reverence for Nature and Yellowstone in particular during those first few years. Simple things such as learning how to stay on a trail, pick up trash, and leave places better than I found them were powerfully instilled on my during many of those early hikes to Terrace and Union Falls.

Years passed, and I continued to work at Scout camps for much of my life, eventually directing Holcomb Valley Scout Ranch, a BSA horse ranch in Southern California. When faced with a camp of my own, I reached deep into my own experience and was able to establish sensible and conservation-minded policies for camp based on my experiences as a young man at Camp Loll. As with Loll, Holcomb is surrounded by National Forest land. My efforts to maintain a strong and constructive relationship with the National Forest Service and to not only meet, but exceed their regulations and expectations, was largely based on the example that I had received from Delose Conner and other camp leaders during my early days at Camp Loll, and from their intense efforts to be wise stewards of the land and of Yellowstone.

I greatly respect your position in providing consistent leadership for such an incredible Park. I respectfully ask that you modify points seven and eight on Loll’s permit, to allow Yellowstone National Park and Camp Loll to continue to train and inspire the next generation of America’s youth.

Sincerely,

David R. Dibble

Lysis said...

Dear David,

Thank you very much for this letter. It is a grand testimony to the very arguments we have been making in our efforts to continue Camp Loll partnership with Yellowstone. I will keep you informed of our progress. I am determined not to lose the valuable impact that a hike to Union Falls has on our country to a misunderstanding of facts and a misdirection of power.