KILLINGWORTH, Conn. (WTNH) — Hours before the May 1 deadline, the nonprofit organization Pathfinders has officially put in an offer to purchase Deer Lake to keep it from development. Whether that offer will be approved remains unclear.
The sale of Deer Lake in Killingworth has been a matter of debate for months now.
The Connecticut Yankee Council, which owns the Boy Scout camp, put the 255-acre property up for sale in January. The Boy Scouts of America is currently selling its properties to cover a nearly $2 billon settlement in sex abuse claims.
Since then, the community has fought to save the property, like Christina Forristall. She grew up and still lives by the lake, and was involved in the camp for years. Now she’s passing on those traditions to her kids.
“Two, three generations of my family have grown up hiking the trails, fishing in the lake, canoeing, camping,” Forristall said. “You learn to love nature, and the outdoors.”
She and others like Ted Elton, who also worked at the camp, feared the property would go to Margaret Streicker, a developer and the CEO of Fortitude Capital who sits on the Executive Board of the Connecticut Yankee Council. She offered $4.6 million for the land in March.
“To take away that property of Deer Lake would be devastating to the community of Killingworth and the surrounding communities as well,” Forristall said.
“Once it’s developed, you can’t undevelop. It’s gone forever,” Elton added.
Pathfinders’ President Ted Langevin has been working hard with the community to raise a $5 million bid on the property.
Langevin told News 8 this weekend he put in an official offer, expressing he raised the money needed to hopefully save Deer Lake.
“Ahead of a May 1 deadline, Pathfinders, Inc. has submitted an offer to the Connecticut Yankee Council of the Boy Scouts to buy Deer Lake and keep it from development. Thanks to a remarkable outpouring of support from around the country and the world, Pathfinders has raised enough money in contributions, pledges, and loan offers to present a competitive offer to the Scouts. Pathfinders is enormously grateful to all who have come forward to donate and is confident that we will be able to raise further funds quickly to pay off the loans.”– Ted Langevin, Pathfinders
Even after learning about the bid, a fundraiser went on as scheduled at High Nine Brewery in Deep River. Funds raised there would go towards paying off loans and potential programming in the future.
“It’s a really powerful thing when something that means a lot to you means a lot to other people,
It will all come down to the council to approve the offer, but Forristall is filled with optimism that the camp will be preserved.
“Not just for my family, but for future generations of all families that have really had a connection to this property,” Forristall said.
Streicker told News 8 that if Pathfinders put in a bonafide superior offer, she would be the first to congratulate them and the Boy Scouts on the pending transaction.
News 8 reached out to Yankee Council for comment.