BURRILLVILLE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has signed a purchase and sales agreement to acquire some 930 acres of land in Burrillville from the Boy Scouts of America, including a former Cub Scout camp that was eyed for procurement earlier this year by a New York-base business.
Cub World, a former Scout camp on Buck Hill Road that was nearly sold to “glamping” company Getaway, makes up just a portion of the $1.6 million purchased, recently approved by the State Properties Committee.
BSA spokesman David Preston said the scouts still plan to retain around 550 acres of their current holdings, including 275 used for camping at Buck Hill, plus another 275 acres just over the state line in Connecticut. RI DEM, meanwhile, will own the 180-acre camp, plus around 700 acres of additional Scout land extending south.
The land is sandwiched between the George Washington and Buck Hill Management areas, and more conservation land in Connecticut, resulting in more than 7,000 acres of contiguous protected space once the sale is complete. The land will be incorporated into the Buck Hill Management Area, which is home to many animal and plant species currently on the state-endangered, threatened, and special concern list. The area is managed by RIDEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, providing open space for recreation.
“For Scouts, the outdoors is an essential part of our heritage and we were careful, thoughtful stewards of this land in Burrillville for decades,” said Tim McCandless, Scout executive and CEO of the Narragansett Council of the Boy Scouts of America, in a statement about the purchase. “That’s why we are very pleased to be able to transfer the ownership and care of this open space to the public, so that everyone can continue to enjoy it for years to come.”
It nearly wasn’t so – at least for the lodges and space once used as an overnight camp for young scouts. Getaway had submitted plans for the property that would have seen 65 tiny cabins erected on the lot and rented out to urban visitors seeking a hassle-free scenic, woodsy escape.
The business, however, reportedly withdrew their application in April after visiting the property and hearing the noise from nearby Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
Preston explained that in recent years, the Narragansett scouting chapter merged with a council out of Massachusetts that owned a camping facility in Kingstown, and scout activities from Cub World moved there.
“Cub World really stopped operating as a summer camp several years ago,” Preston said.
“DEM anticipates reusing some structures for outdoor educational programming,” noted a request for approval of the purchase from RIDEM Director Terrance Gray.
First opened in 1997, the camp previously boasted space for up to 48 campers.