The Boy Scouts of America operate three “high adventure base camps,” in Florida, Minnesota and New Mexico.

Thanks to the Boone and Crockett Club, Montana will now join that list with the fourth.

The club, headquartered in Missoula, is allowing the Montana Council of the Boy Scouts to assume sole operation of a Scouting program at its Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch near Choteau.

The move will allow the ranch to be certified as a “high adventure base” for Scouting, and make it easier for troops from across the nation to enjoy its spectacular location.

“It’s a great deal for us and for the Scouts,” says Tony Schoonen, Boone and Crockett Club chief of staff. “It will help us connect young people with the great outdoors, which is part of what we’re about, and allow Scouts to see country a lot of people never see.”

The 6,300-acre ranch adjoins the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area.

“There aren’t too many councils anywhere in the country operating their own high adventure base and associated programs,” says Gordon Rubard, executive director of the Montana Council, “especially at a place where you can hike right off a private ranch and into one of the most rugged wildernesses anywhere. It’s a beautiful, special, interesting place.”

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The ranch has been hosting Scouts during an experimental stage for three or four years, according to Schoonen, but turning over management of the program to the Montana Council will allow it to become a certified high adventure base that will be marketed to Scout troops across the nation.

The Boone and Crockett Club retains ownership of the ranch, which it also uses for research and teaching in regard to the integrated livestock and wildlife conservation “that is integral to the economic viability of private and adjacent public lands.”

To begin, Schoonen says the ranch will accept up to 50 Scouts a week during six weeks in July and August. Rubard says the location and facilities provide the Montana Council with an opportunity to create a “world-class” experience for Boy Scouts.

The Montana Council also operates smaller bases near Lewistown, Bigfork and on Flathead Lake’s Melita Island.

“We want to make Montana one of the premier destinations for Scout troops from all over the country,” according to council president Chuck Eubank.

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The location of Scouting’s newest high adventure base camp has ties to both BSA and the Boone and Crockett Club.

The ranch is named for Teddy Roosevelt, who founded the Boone and Crockett Club in 1887 and, in 1910, was a staunch supporter of the cause when the Boy Scouts were launched. Roosevelt is the only person ever designated a Chief Scout Citizen by the Boy Scouts.

BSA’s three other high adventure bases are the Florida Sea Base in the Florida Keys, the Northern Tier near Ely, Minn., and the Philmont Scout Ranch outside Taos, N.M.

The changes announced Monday will allow the Roosevelt Ranch to be marketed to Scouts across the country, and streamline the process for getting Scouts on site.

The Boone and Crockett Club will continue to offer its own Outdoor Adventure Camps at the ranch. The conservation-themed camps are open to youths nationwide.

Reporter Vince Devlin can be reached at 1-800-366-7186 or at vdevlin@missoulian.com.

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(1) comment

Dub

Hummmmm, surprising that Nature Conservancy and others aren't screaming their head off!! All those little foot prints on the ground, shameful!!

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