Golf tourney will benefit BSA Scout Camp


The Southern Utah area will be hosting a BSA Benefit 18 Hole Golf Tournament at the Bloomington Country Club in St. George on Thursday, Oct. 19. Funds will be used to help with restorations Camp Thunder Ridge, which suffered some damage from the Brian Head Fire.

Golfers can purchase one of three packages to participate in the tournament: Individual Entry Fee $250, Gold Team Package $600 for a team of 4 and Platinum Team Package $1,000 for a team of 4–includes signage.

There will be some fun opportunities associated with the 18-hole tournament. There will be four chances to win a car. There will be a hole in one challenge on each of four Par 3’s. You will have a chance to win a car on each Par 3. Tournament play will be four-man scramble. The golf package will include a continental breakfast and lunch.

The Brian Head Fire was a human-caused fire that began on June 17 on lands administered by Brian Head Town, Iron County, in cooperation with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands, and grew into a large wildland fire on land administered by the Cedar City Ranger District on the Dixie National Forest. Driven by steep terrain, low humidity, and erratic winds, the fire spread quickly. The fire burned 71,673 acres of land and was the fourth largest in state history.

Lisa S. Jensen, District Executive for the Cedar Breaks/Cathedral Gorge District with the BSA, said firefighters made amazing efforts to preserve much of the camp, including the archery range and obstacle course.

“They literally got trapped in camp that night and managed to save all the main structures and the core of camp. It was truly by the grace of God that the main part of camp was saved that night,” she said.

While the main core of camp was saved the wrath of the fire, 75-80 percent of the 1,280 acres were burned, Jensen said. The restoration efforts for the camp are going to be widespread and expensive. Logging of the burned trees and their removal will be in the tens of thousands of dollars. Replanting of grasses, trees and other vegetation will need to take place. Flash flooding and soil erosion will be a concern for the next several years so flood control measures will need to be in place. Road improvement and maintenance will need to be done due to erosion and deterioration from the runoff after the fire. Some program areas and campsites will need rehabilitation.

“We will need to rebuild certain areas, such as our Low Cope Challenge Course,” she said. “This was man made and not covered by insurance. Repairs to the water system will need to be done.”

Jensen said Camp Thunder Ridge was only an idea and a vision in the minds of some dedicated Cedar Breaks Scouters back on the evening of August 24, 1968. Morris Shirts became the informal chairman of this group that decided a camp needed to be built in southern Utah. Over the next several years this same group of Scouters met many times to work out the details of location, property acquisition, overcoming objections, planning a road, acquiring water rights, developing a water system, dealing with sanitation and naming the camp.

The core committee was composed of Morris Shirts, Alma Lawrence, Garth Green, Kerry Jones, Ross Hilton, Graham Mc Donald, Norman Grimshaw, Stan Shakespeare, Kendall Gurr, Charles Blackburn and Paul Hitchcock. The committee looked at 10 different sites. The final selection was originally called Braffit Scout Camp and was acquired from the BLM under the Recreation and Public Purposes Act of 1954 for 5 percent of the actual value. The original road was not viable, so when selected as a bicentennial project, the governor involved the Utah National Guard, Companies C and D of the 1457 Engineering Battalion. They completed the project in 10 days. $5,000 was a bicentennial grant which was matched by the Utah National Parks Council. If this had been a normal project it would have taken over $500,000 and taken several months. The road was surveyed by engineering students from the local college. There were hundreds of other volunteers who worked on the projects, donating labor, material and equipment. The total actual cost of the camp was less than $20,000, which was mostly donated. The dedication of the camp was held on August 29, 1975.

“Our efforts with this golf tournament are to restore Camp Thunder Ridge to its previous beauty as much as is humanly possible,” Jensen said. “This camp has a lot of tradition and means a great deal to the people of southern Utah. It has also been a wilderness camping experience for many others, including those that have traveled to this camp from out of state. While nature will run its course, we will also need to step in and help to restore the camp. This restoration will take time, volunteer efforts and monetary support.”

Those who would like to donate money to the benefit but not play golf can contact David Peterson at 435-813-2252 (david.peterson@scouting.org) or Scott Brandt at 435-673-2029 (scott@bloomingtoncountryclub.com). They can also answer questions regarding registration for the tournament.

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