Funding woes put future of Sherman Youth Camp in limbo

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The future of Sherman Youth Camp is on hold.

Strapped for cash, the Moffat County commissioners are unsure how they will continue to fund the camp on the western edge of the Routt National Forest.

A workshop with U.S. Forest Service personnel Wednesday brought no resolution to the matter, Commissioner Darryl Steele said.

"It's basically on hold for a little while," Steele said.

The Forest Service owns the land the camp is on, and the county owns the facilities. Moffat County leases the camp from the Forest Service. Historically, the Forest Service has charged the county $110 for a one-year lease, but this year the lease has increased to $300.

Although that is a large percentage increase, it's not the main stumbling block the county faces. To keep the camp open, a caretaker must be present on weekends. Steele wasn't sure the county could afford that position.

He's hoping to develop a memorandum of understanding with the Forest Service in place of the lease that previously has been used.

Because the camp is near Freeman and Sawmill campgrounds, both owned by the Forest Service, Steele said he'd like to share a caretaker who would oversee all three camps. The manager's wages would be shared between the county and the Forest Service.

Another meeting will be scheduled, but Steele said he already knows what question he plans to ask the Forest Service at the meeting.

"What amount of dollars are you willing to put into manpower for the campgrounds?" he said.

If the county doesn't reach an understanding with the Forest

Service or develop a memorandum of understanding, Steele said he thought the county would have the chance to remove its facilities, such as picnic tables, from the premises.

Steele didn't think any money had been budgeted for the camp in 2005.

During the 2004 budget cycle, the commissioners closed Sherman Youth Camp, because they couldn't afford to pay a weekend attendant. But Girl Scout Troop 201 volunteered to raise the money to pay an attendant so the camp could stay open.

Scouts, churches, and schools are the most frequent users of the camp.

The Girl Scouts raised a little more than $3,500, enough to open the camp for the aforementioned groups but not enough for the entire community. The county rented the camp for $50 a day, and the scouts asked the commissioners to put that money in a fund to keep the camp open.

But that was a one-time fix, and the commissioners don't expect more financial support from tthose who donated.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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