Please check back regularly to get the latest information on news, upcoming meetings and ways to help.
**** LATEST NEWS *****
Posted 9/25/19 @ 3pm
St. Clair County Board of Commissioners Meeting
6:00 PM Thursday, September 26
All Scouts who are opposed to the sale of Silver Trails are asked to gather on the north side of the St. Clair County Administration Building, 200 Grand River Avenue, Port Huron, at 5:30 PM on Thursday, September 26, to ask the St. Clair County Board of Commissioners to help stop the sale. The Board Meeting begins at 6:00 PM and near the beginning of the meeting there will be a Public Comment period when Scouts can speak to the Board about the situation.
This meeting was originally scheduled for Thursday, September 19th, but was rescheduled to September 26th.
Posted 9/23/19 @ 8pm
Grant Township Planning Commission Meeting
7:00 PM Tuesday September 24
The Grant Township Planning Commission meeting is tomorrow evening, September 24, at 7:00 PM. They will probably discuss renewal of the current AMC Mid Michigan Materials gravel operation. The Friends of Silver Trails will meet briefly after the Planning Commission meeting. The Grant Township Hall is located at 7942 Wildcat Road, about 1 mile south of Jeddo, just south of Harris Road.
There has been some question about the Grant Township zoning status of Silver Trails and their zoning ordinance in general. See the following link for the Grant Township Zoning Ordinance. We can discuss this at the meeting: http://www.stclaircounty.org/Offices/metro/LocalCommunityInfo/Grant%20Township/Grant%20Township%20Zoning%20Ordinance.pdf
Some of you requested a draft letter of interest for Grant Township meetings and decisions regarding Silver Trails. See the draft letter below. You can modify the letter as you like:
Greetings Grant Township Clerk,
Please add my name and contact to any of INTERESTED PERSONS / PARTIES that shall be notified on upcoming or future public hearings, use, or zoning regarding the following property:
SILVER TRAILS SCOUT RESERVATION
7140 JEDDO ROAD
JEDDO, MICHIGAN 48032
Parcels 74-21-006-3001-000 and 74-21-006-3002-000
In order to limit cost, please e-mail me at: [insert your e-mail here]
If you have any questions or concerns, please call me at: [insert your phone number here]
[insert your name here]
Posted 9/16/19 @ 5pm
St. Clair County Board of Commissioners Meeting
All Scouts who are opposed to the sale of Silver Trails are asked to gather on the north side of the St. Clair County Administration Building, 200 Grand River Avenue, Port Huron, at 5:30 PM on Thursday, September 19, to ask the St. Clair County Board of Commissioners to help stop the sale. The Board Meeting begins at 6:00 PM and near the beginning of the meeting there will be a Public Comment period when Scouts can speak to the Board about the situation.
Some of the Commissioners may claim that the sale of Silver Trails is a private transaction between two businesses and that they cannot get involved. This is not true. The Boy Scouts of America is a non-profit organization that has benefited from public support for decades. They have an obligation to be mindful of the public trust. Silver Trails was donated and purchased at bargain prices from generous landowners who wanted to benefit youth in our region. Thousands of our community members in Saint Clair County, Sanilac County, and beyond, have labored and donated to support Silver Trails and have benefited from this beautiful camp since its opening in 1945. Silver Trails is a product of our community for our community. The Michigan Crossroads Council now wants to take that away, having owned Silver Trails barely 7 years. This sale is not a private transaction between two businesses over a simple piece of property. Rather, the proposed sale of Silver Trails to a gravel company is essentially a theft of our camp and a kick in the face to all the supporters, campers, and everyone who made great memories at Silver Trails. The Saint Clair County Commissioners need to acknowledge this and step-up and be real leaders.
A Letter From Fred Fuller, Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 223, Algonac
The sale of Silver Trails Scout Camp is not a done deal, though many people seem to think it is. BSA’s Michigan Crossroads Council (MCC) has said a Purchase Agreement has been signed and they can’t get out of it, but they refuse to let any of us registered Scouters see the Purchase Agreement. Why? As several people familiar with real estate transactions have said: “No one who has legal advice signs a Purchase Agreement without having options for canceling it.”
Here are reasons why the Friends of Silver Trails thinks this is not a done deal:
- The truth about this secret, suspicious deal between the MCC and the gravel company is being exposed.
- The Michigan Attorney General’s office is investigating what may be conflict of interest and/or violations of law in the deal.
- Many Scouters are asking the National BSA to investigate the very unScoutworthy way MCC has operated in this situation.
- Over 5,000 people have signed an online petition expressing their opposition to the deal.
- An online survey is finding there is very strong opposition among Scouters to the sale.
- Scout troops are refusing to participate in popcorn sales and other MCC programs to show their outrage at turning Silver Trails into a gravel pit.
- Grant Township, where the camp is located, says they don’t want to see Silver Trails become a gravel mine and they currently have the zoning authority to deny it. They might get sued, but they say they are ready for a lawsuit, and Friends of Silver Trails will help them raise money for it. The Township Board has a plan to purchase the camp using a state grant, if the MCC will sell it to them.
- Our County Boards of Commissioners (Sanilac, Huron and St. Clair) could be persuaded to get involved in trying to come up with a solution to this theft of local resources.
- Our State Senator, State Representatives and U.S. Senators could be persuaded to use their powers to halt this deal.
Some of us remember when a Nuclear Waste Dump was proposed to be located between Yale and Capac, and everyone thought that was a done deal. But local people fought back and it was stopped. Unexpected things can happen if we are organized and persistent!
Troop 223, Algonac
Campground To Gravel Pit
The Michigan Crossroads Council of the Boy Scouts of America has decided to sell Silver Trails Scout Reservation, a 270-acre camp along the west side of Black River about 2 miles west of Jeddo, Michigan. Details are yet to be confirmed, but a BSA official said the pending buyer is a company related with Dan’s Excavating, Inc. or Ajax Paving, Inc. and would mine the entire camp for gravel. The current agreement with the company may be binding, or a commitment to sell with terms contingent on soil testing results and other items. The gravel company has already conducted soil borings. A possible sale price was said to be $1.8 million. There is no indication that the Michigan Crossroads Council notified any local unit of government, organization, scouters, or other parties that might want to protect the camp. Instead, the Michigan BSA has apparently determined that a gravel pit is the only future for Silver Trails.
For over a half-century, Silver Trails was owned locally by the former Blue Water Council, serving Saint Clair and Sanilac Counties. In 2012, the council was dissolved in a consolidation of the entire lower peninsula of Michigan. The new Michigan Crossroads Council took Silver Trails and has owned it for only about 7 years. In truth, however, Silver Trails is not really their land, but a product of our community and rightfully ours. The camp was established in 1945 on parcels that were sold for $1 to the former Blue Water Council. The land was essentially donated by these owners for the betterment of our community. The local Exchange Club built the main gate in 1945 and local Rotary Clubs donated and built the Rotary Lodge or Mess Hall in 1948. For 67 years, local scouts, scouters, volunteers, and organizations maintained and improved Silver Trails. Thousands of hours of work and thousands of dollars were invested in the camp by local people in the Blue Water Council.
Thousands of area youth have camped at Silver Trails and participated in many programs and events like summer camps, cub day camps, polar bear camps, klondikes, camporees, conclaves, and much more. Many area scouts have worked on camp staff. BSA consolidation in Michigan was promoted as a means to improve the scout program at local levels, but has instead decreased camp opportunities for our youth, soon to be eliminated with Silver Trails sold and graveled. The Michigan Crossroads Council has sold at least 5 other camps in Michigan since 2012, and national BSA many more across the US.
For many of us, Silver Trails is one of the most beautiful places in the world, located along high bluffs above the Black River where Silver Creek winds through mature forest and other small streams cut through deep shaded ravines. If you have not stood in the old-growth forest north of Silver Creek on a late summer afternoon as woodland birds call across the glowing cathedral of Hemlock, Beech, and Sugar Maple trees, you are deprived. Silver Trails is truly irreplaceable.
Efforts are underway to work with Grant Township and other organizations to buy the camp.
How You Can Help
Your efforts on behalf of Silver Trails are still very important. Public attention and political pressure are needed to convince those in control that Silver Trails is truly a priority for our community.
So please, if you have not already, contact your Saint Clair County Commissioner, Michigan State Representative, and Governor.
Click the link below for the contact information for these individuals.
The PayPal link makes donating by debit, credit, or PayPal easy. Donations are tax-deductible and will be used for acquisition of Silver Trails or as otherwise determined by Friends of Silver Trails. Three scouters so far will donate $1,000 each if 50 others donate at least the same. If every petition signer gave $100, we'd have almost $500,000.
To donate, click the Donate button below to be taken to our PayPal donation interface to make your donation.