Thursday, July 21, 2011

Stillwater Lake dam repairs completion celebrated

From The Pocono Record

After almost a decade of repairs, the dam at Stillwater Lake is finally finished.

"It's been a long road," said Craig Poland, Minsi Trails Council Scout Executive and CEO. "It's been a 10-year undertaking that we're just finishing now."

The work will be celebrated today at Camp Minsi in Pocono Summit.

Minsi Trails Council, the regional Boy Scouts governing agency and owners of Camp Minsi, have been trying to repair the dam since the Department of Environmental Protection classified the dam as high-hazard in 2002.

It wasn't until 2008 that the Boy Scouts and the DEP came together with a timetable to fix it. Repairs were pegged around $1.8 million and couldn't even go into the planning stages until the state kicked in a grant of more than $1.3 million in 2009.

The project went out to bid a year ago, and construction started in September. The lake was drawn down to accommodate the repairs and by May, they were complete.

The eight-month construction schedule managed to avoid the busy summer season at the camp when more than 1,300 Scouts visit. About 4,000 campers visit per year.

Minsi Trails Council had to cover the remaining costs of about $500,000, which came from private donations and fundraising. When additional expenses are factored in, the council still needs to come up with about $300,000 to cover construction costs.

"We're still looking for how to pay for it," Poland said. "Ultimately, we'll find our way through it."

Minsi Trails Council presides over Boy Scouts in Monroe, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton and Luzerne counties in Pennsylvania. The Boy Scouts have owned the dam and about half of Stillwater Lake for more than 60 years.

During the eight years of planning it took to fix the dam, the Scouts continued to use the lake for swimming, boating and sailing.

A ribbon cutting is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. at the camp.

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