Local officials try to preserve Camp Barton

Camp Barton

Currently a petition to save Camp Barton has garnered 3,715 signatures

Local officials from three neighbouring municipalities have teamed up to convince New York State lawmakers that they should push the state to purchase Camp Barton, a Seneca County Boy Scout camp that is being sold to raise funds for the scout’s national bankruptcy settlement.

Their cause has gained momentum over the last few weeks. Currently a petition to save Camp Barton has garnered 3,715 signatures, and NY Assembly Member Anna R. Kelles, State Senator Pam Helming and Tomkins County Legislator Anne Koreman have expressed their support for the plan to save the camp.

When members of the Baden-Powell Council, owners of the camp, reached out to local municipalities for help saving the property for public use, local leaders took notice.

A public campaign was developed, spearheaded by Trumansburg Mayor Rordan Hart, incoming Ulysses Town Supervisor Kaitlin Olson and Covert Deputy Supervisor Deborah Nottke.

The group is pushing for the preservation of the camp through the purchase of the land by New York State with Covert, Ulysses and Trumansburg taking responsibility for the management of the public park it would become.

The Village of Trumansburg is invested in the camp’s future for multiple reasons; for one, the lakeshore well that sits on the 138-acre property used to be the primary water source for the town.

It’s a unique formation, said Hart. Nothing like it is found anywhere else on Cayuga Lake, he said, and though the village has now renovated and connected to wells in Taughannock Falls State Park, creating a new supply source for Trumansburg, the lakeshore well still constitutes about half of the village’s water system.

But perhaps more important to Hart is the opportunity to provide village residents with public space on the waterfront while protecting the area from subdivision and residential development.

It could be operated as public space, Hart said, with youth recreation, sports, swimming, camping hiking, a place to hold events.

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