KILLINGWORTH, Conn. (WTNH) – Deer Lake Scout Reservation, which has been a camp for Boy Scouts in Connecticut for decades, was put up for sale by the Connecticut Yankee Council, which runs the Boy Scouts organization in the state.
Rachel Berwick lives about a stone’s throw away from the Deer Lake Scout Reservation.
“You don’t get this back,” she said. “Once it gets developed, you don’t get it back.”
News 8 learned that the Trust for Public Land, a non-profit, made an offer of $2.4 million for the 250-acre property after having an appraisal done. Then, Margaret Streicker, a developer and the CEO of Fortitude Capital who sits on the Council Executive Board of the Connecticut Yankee Council, put in a counteroffer of $4.6 million.
“I’m hoping that they may be just pause and give it some time to see how these other entities are doing, and if they can raise the money, that would be magnificent,” said Mark Clifton, a former ranger for Deer Lake for more than 40 years.
Clifton said the effort to try to save Deer Lake from development continues with a growing chorus of voices from local, state, and congressional leaders to conservation groups like Save the Sound.
“If this property is developed, it basically prevents habitat from migrating northward,” said David Anderson, the land campaigns manager for Save the Sound.
Anderson is hopeful an offer being made Wednesday by Pathfinders, which runs a summer camp on the property and has spearheaded a last-minute fundraising effort, will be accepted by the Boy Scouts.
“It seems like their mission is supposed to be about preserving nature and stewardship,” Berwick said.
The Connecticut Yankee Council originally set a deadline of March 31 for a “superior offer,” but Attorney General William Tong announced Wednesday night that the deadline has now been pushed back to May 1. Tong also said he is looking into the legal status of the property and the potential sale.
“I thank the Boy Scouts for hearing my concerns and agreeing to postpone this deadline while our inquiry into the property proceeds, and for being cooperative and responsive to our questions,” Tong wrote in a statement. “I have heard from a number of community leaders and preservationists who have a strong interest in the future of Deer Lake. I hope that this extended time will allow all sides to work together on a positive resolution.”
CEO and Scout Executive Mark Kraus sent News 8 the following statement:
“We appreciate the outreach from the Attorney General’s Office and continue to be in communication with all parties involved. In cooperation with their office, we have moved the deadline for receiving additional bids to May 1 and look forward to continuing the dialogue with all interested parties.”
Pathfinders said they made an offer Wednesday through the real estate agent and were told to expect a response Thursday morning.