We have some amazing camps throughout Montana Council. Over the last month, I’ve visited our three main facilities: K-M Scout Ranch, Camp Melita Island, and Grizzly Base. Each has a distinct role in Scouting, providing outstanding amenities and a uniquely beautiful setting.
K-M Scout Ranch: Blending Tradition and Modernity
In May, Camp Ranger Nick took me on a tour of K-M Scout Ranch’s top-of-the-line facilities, starting with campsites and the new shower and bathrooms. Each bathroom has a door to the outside and is completely closed off from the others, ensuring safety, privacy, and convenience. (I’m told the hot water does not run out!) The campsites have cement platforms and metal frames for tents and some form of shelter for gathering. They are comfortably spread out and even have a Wi-Fi router that can be restricted based on adult leadership preferences.
Nick explained the rigorous restoration of Taylor Lake, where fish can now survive year-round, and outlined planned improvements at the shooting range. At the ATV center, I saw the large number of four-wheelers and the trailheads for miles of ATV and mountain bike trails.
Heading to the completely upgraded water system, Nick outlined the infrastructure supporting camp, including new plumbing and septic systems. The water tanks are state-of-the-art, with a monitoring system broadcasting across the camp and the internet, ensuring water safety and levels are maintained.
We went on to see one of the cabins built for summer camp staff and where staff leadership can stay. This cabin can also be used in the off-season and is a great resource for anyone visiting.
My final stop was the jaw-dropping dining facility and welcome center. This has to be one of the most amazing dining halls in the entire country. It has ample room for Scouts to eat inside while opening massive garage doors provides additional dining space on the deck overlooking the valley. The kitchen handles feeding hundreds of Scouts three times a day and has room for future upgrades. The lodge also houses training rooms, a Scoutmaster lounge, medical facilities, the camp office, and trading post.
What’s impressive about this building is how well laid out it is and how practically it can be used – it even has an elevator. The lodge is a special gemstone. I’m not sure any Scout camp across the country is as well organized. If you have not visited K-M, you are truly missing out.
At the end of the tour, I couldn’t believe this was a Boy Scout property and I felt a sense of gratitude for all those that took the time to carefully transform this camp into something beautiful and useful for the next generations of Scouts.
Camp Melita Island: An Island Adventure
Camp Melita Island is simply magical. I’ve never put on a PFD and hopped into a boat to travel to a Scout camp before, so this was exciting. Its historic dining hall supports a camp on an isolated island that recently went through a forestation rehabilitation project.
Campsites are simple with a cement platform and a metal frame for a tent, with each site having a stunning waterfront view. Several Scout skills areas are centralized in the middle of camp, but most do not attend Melita for beginner Scout skills. This camp has an aquatics program like no other – including sailing – because it is situated on one of the most beautiful, crystal-clear lakes in the entire nation. The logistics to make this camp happen are different and challenging, but well worth it. This camp sits in a little piece of heaven.
Grizzly Base: RUstic Charm Amidst Nature
Grizzly Base sits between the farmlands at the bottom of the Flathead Valley and the shadows of the Jewel Basin. Surrounded by pine trees and rolling hills, this Scout camp is more rustic when compared to the other camps. While Grizzly Base does not host a summer camp, it has offered many varied programs and events and receives visitors from across the country. This camp gives you the sense that it is well-loved by those who visit it.
I’ve traveled across this great nation and have seen more Scout camps than I can count. For any Scouting council to have one amazing facility is rare, but in Montana we have several. I hope we can appreciate and take full advantage of these remarkable facilities right in our own backyard.
Yours in Scouting,
Director of Field Service