The efforts of a group of former campers and staff and community supporters have saved a wilderness camp that for more than 70 years has taught generations of young women life skills and environmental stewardship. Camp Little Notch a former girl scout camp abutting the Lake George Wild Forest in Fort Ann, Washington County, has been purchased by the non-profit Friends of Camp Little Notch (Friends of CLN) from the Open Space Institute (OSI).
Organizers say it is the only former Girl Scout camp in the United States to have been purchased by an alumnae organization and operated as an independent camp. Situated between Lake George and Lake Champlain, the property is an important migratory pathway for large mammals and a vital part of the Lake George watershed region.
The effort to save Camp Little Notch began in 2010 when the Open Space Conservancy, OSI’s land acquisition affiliate, purchased the 2,353-acre Camp Little Notch, a former Girl Scout camp which closed in 2008, from the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York for $3.95 million. At the time, OSI indicated it hoped to sell camp grounds to the Friends of Camp Little Notch and leased 443 acres to Friends of CLN, which reopened the camp in 2012.
In terms of programming, Friends of CLN issued the following statement reaffirming that the new independent camp “honors past traditions, while, as an independent camp, it provides for new experiences as well. As it always has been, life at camp is rustic: girls sleep in platform tents in the woods and spend time hiking, swimming, boating, singing, cooking over campfires, creek-walking, stargazing, and having some unstructured time for themselves each day. It is an intentionally diverse community, with tiered payment options and camperships to support attendance by lower income campers. The ethos of the camp, to be a welcoming and affirming place for all, has survived intact.”
“For girls and young women to have opportunities to discover and become who they are, in a supportive place, and for them to be able to slow down, unplug, be in a wilderness environment and really listen to their own voices is an increasingly rare and powerfully important experience,” Board Vice President Dr. Janet Witte, a Camp Little Notch counselor turned psychiatrist, said in the statement to the press.
One important legacy of the movement to save Camp Little Notch is the birth of the Friends group supporting it. From a nascent organization, Friends of CLN has grown to a solid, membership-based
Friends of Camp Little Notch welcomes visitors (Open Houses are held Sundays from May 24 – June 7, and from August 16 – October 11) from noon until 5 pm. Events, calendar and registration are online, www.friendsofcln.org and www.camplittlenotch.org. To reserve Camp Little Notch facilities for events such as family rentals, college trips, “women’s weekends,” retreats, reunions, or other eventscontact Camp Director Liz Caruso at campdirector@camplittlenotch.