Boy Scouts of America’s Cascade Pacific Council in 2015 opened discussions with Mike Keiser, owner of Bandon Dunes golf resort, about leasing 200 acres of property in Tillamook County for a golf course. BSA owns and operates Camp Meriwether and Camp Clark, which sit on about 800 acres of forested coastline adjacent to Cape Lookout State Park. CPC approached Keiser about leasing 200 acres between the two camps for a golf course.
CPC released some initial Questions and Answers about the project, which is available at the bottom of this article. The organization is seeking means of increasing revenues from property the Board considers underutilized, according to their Long Range Property Plan. However, the golf course proposal has caused controversy to erupt inside CPC membership; many Scouts raised questions about the project.
Oregon Coast Alliance unequivocally opposed a golf course at Camp Meriwether: the property is forested and includes an undeveloped coastline. The camp is largely surrounded by public lands, including Cape Lookout State Park and Sand Lake Recreation Area. A golf course would fragment the area ecologically, and greatly increase the amount of traffic and use. It is also an incompatible use with the adjacent State Park. In mid December 2015 ORCA formally asked the CPC Board to suspend discussions with Keiser in order to explore alternative possibilities for generating revenue from the Camp Meriwether property that would be less intrusive and more conservation-minded. There was no reply.
However, in April 2017, Cascade Pacific Council released a statement that the golf course plan would not move ahead, due to the poor configuration of the Camp Meriwether land for that use. ORCA applauds this wise decision. It is to be hoped that CPC will take a hard look at the priceless beauty of the Camp Meriwether property and use it for Boy Scout activities that respect the land’s ecological health in this fragile coastal region.