For Immediate Release:
February 12, 2012
Inquiries: Joe Sener, OOEC Chairman
The Owasippe Outdoor Education Center (OOEC) disagrees with and cannot endorse the sale of the Owasippe property North of Silver Creek Road and West of Russell Road located in Section 8 and Section 9 of Blue Lake Township currently being proposed. We appreciate the effort that has gone into trying to perfect this particular sale but we must urge the Chicago Area Council to NOT proceed with this sale for the following reasons:
- The Chicago Area Council has said repeatedly over the past several years that it would not sell any piece of the property without placing the parcel into a conservation easement. Without a conservation easement, this buyer will have the ability to change the zoning on the parcel without any recourse and the property will be lost. The easement that is being proposed is not a conservation easement, it is an agreement between the buyers captured on the deed for as long as Owasippe exists. The Council would have to enforce any correction in the future. When it comes to land ownership, there is no such thing as “perpetuity” especially without a conservation easement.
- The Chicago Area Council has yet to put forward a capital fund drive to conserve Owasippe. The Council has yet to put forth a master plan for the long term use. It has yet to look at the Scouts and Scouters in the Chicago Area Council and say “We will not sell the property, now help us raise the long term capital to assure its beauty forever.” Research indicates that there are many Scouters and organizations in the council who would gladly contribute to the long-term preservation of the camp should the Council guarantee it won’t be sold.
- The OOEC believes the current assessed value of the property is at least $1,100 per acre. The total cash value of the sale includes a substantial cash contribution as well. No dollar amount can be put on this property without a conservation easement.
The OOEC considers this sale to be a step backwards that we do not believe the current council leadership should take. The OOEC strongly supports the retention of this property, the clear statement of retention of Owasippe, and the forming of a special capital fund drive sub-committee of the Endowment Committee to organize a drive to financially conserve Owasippe.
In addition, the OOEC strongly suggests that the balance of Owasippe be put under a conservation easement at the earliest possible opportunity.
Thanks to everyone who joined us in October for our first Owasippe Fall Fest! We had some beautiful weather the first weekend with more than 800 people who joined us for hay rides, a petting farm, local vendors (most with handmade goods), and some delicious hot cider and donuts. While the second weekend’s weather wasn’t quite as beautiful, it was still a memorable weekend with about 500 participants.
The entire OOEC board expressed our appreciation for the support of the general public. We got to meet so many people and share the joy of Owasippe with those who didn’t know it was open to the public.
Here are some photos of the event. We’re looking to repeat again next year!
March 29, 2011
Inquiries: Joe Sener, OOEC Chairman
The Owasippe Outdoor Education Center is pleased to announce that Mitch Dennison has agreed to join the OOEC as Development Director. Mitch’s role will take effect immediately.
The leadership and Board of Directors would like to thank Jim Schlichting for his vision, leadership and tireless efforts since the OOEC was formed, first as a Board Member and then as Development Director. Jim’s sustained efforts have been extremely valuable in his decade of work with the OOEC.
Mitch Dennison is the former National Board President of the Rosa Parks Institute in Detroit, Michigan. An active member of the West Michigan community, Mitch is currently an advisory Board Member for Baker College of Muskegon, ITT Technical Institute of Grand Rapids, the Muskegon Area Career Tech Center and the Internship Program Advisory Council for the West Michigan Strategic Alliance. He also serves as a Board Member for the Walden Green School Foundation and was a recipient of the Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2008-2009 Agents of Change award.
A veteran of the technology industry, Mitch has been building software solutions for fortune 1000 companies for over 20 years. A self-taught programmer, Mitch began his career in New York City building large-scale corporate applications. As an experienced entrepreneur, Mitch has participated in the creation of a large telecommunications company and multiple successful consulting companies. Mitch currently resides in Twin Lake, Michigan, and is an Account Manager for RC Productions in Muskegon.
When asked his ideas on the future of the OOEC, Mitch replied: “Having been raised in Muskegon as part of a family with roots that go back over 150 years in this community, it is imperative to me that we do all that we can to preserve this wonderful natural resource. As America’s first and oldest Boy Scout Camp with an unbelievably rich history, this property offers us almost 5,000 contiguous acres to be enjoyed by our local community. The possibilities with this property are endless.”