A Thank You
The challenge to Camp Loll’s Hike Day has been positively resolved. Camp Loll, and the generations of young people who will visit there, owe great gratitude to many people.
First, I thank all of you who wrote to Yellowstone National Park, your congressmen, and to others who have came to our support. I especially want to thank all who contacted me personally, sustaining this effort by your strength. Without rancor or recrimination, all of you let those who needed to know, know.
Second, we all owe our thanks to our congressional representatives. I am aware of direct involvement in support of Camp Loll from Senators Bennett and Hatch and from Representative Rob Bishop. In the midst of their extremely busy schedules and a multitude of worthy causes, they expended personal time and dedicated their personal staff support to directing attention to our needs and bolstering Camp Loll’s position. I am confident that Representatives Chaffetz and Matheson also reached out to help us. As a teacher of US Government, I have always taught, that the two-fold role of Congress is to make laws and to be the voice of the people. These great men have been our voice, the voice of thousands of young people who otherwise might not have been heard.
Finally, I would like to thank Yellowstone National Park: Superintendent Lewis, and especially Ranger Dave Ross from the Bechler area, West District Ranger, Michael P. Keator, and Chief Ranger, Tim Reid. Today, these three gentlemen spent hours explaining the challenges facing Yellowstone, especially the Bechler area, and listening to our appeals and explanations. I am grateful that Yellowstone is in such strong and wise hands. I will give details of the meeting once the Special Use Permit is finalized. For now let me assure everyone that, for this summer, our campers will notice very little change in Hike Day and by the summer of 2011 they will see some very substantial improvements.
Working with the direction of the Park Service we have been able to work out a protocol which will allow Yellowstone to better fulfill its duel obligations to provide access to the Park’s resources while maintaining the values provided by the unique experience of “wilderness”. At the same time, the values of Scouting – always the primary goal of Camp Loll’s program - will be even more effectively delivered to our campers.
Let me summarize. In the summer of 2010, Wednesday Hike Day will continue much as it has in the past, over the summer new processes and opportunities will be developed under the direction of the Bechler Ranger and the Camp Loll Staff. In the summer of 2011 two hike days, Wednesday and Thursday, will provide a more valuable wilderness experience to those who venture into Yellowstone while providing in camp opportunities which have not been available in the past. The Park will accommodate Camp Loll’s numbers; Camp Loll will redistribute those numbers in ways that will fit with the Park’s management policy to optimize the use of Yellowstone’s resources and defend its values.
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