A new partnership between the Boy Scouts and the Boone and Crockett Club could make Montana a premier destination for scouts from across the nation.
The Montana Council of Boy Scouts of America is assuming operation of a "high adventure base" at the Club's 6,300-acre Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch near Choteau, Mont. The ranch adjoins the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area and serves as the center of summertime scouting activities such as trekking, backpacking, mountain climbing, shooting, wildlife watching and more.
Previously, Boone and Crockett managed the program in conjunction with the council.
The most noticeable difference in the new management is the council's goal of better incorporating the ranch into a larger plan to draw even more scouts to "The Last Best Place."
"The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch is one of only two nationally certified high adventure bases in the entire Northwest (the other is in Colorado). We want to make Montana one of the premier destinations for scout troops from all over the country," said Chuck Eubank, Montana Council president.
The Montana Council also operates smaller bases near Big Fork and Lewistown, Mont., as well as on Melita Island on Flathead Lake.
"This combination of sites and potential for different kinds of adventures makes Montana a very appealing scouting destination that is truly national in scope," added Eubank.
Another important difference in the new management of the high adventure base is a more streamlined process to get Boy Scouts on site.
Gordon Rubard, executive director of the Montana Council said, "There aren't too many councils anywhere in the country operating their own high adventure base and associated programs, especially at a place where you can hike right off a private ranch and into one of the most rugged wildernesses anywhere. It's a beautiful, special, interesting place."
For more information on the Montana High Adventure Base, go to the Montana Council's webpage at www.montanabsa.org.
Apart from scouting activities, Boone and Crockett will continue to offer its own Outdoor Adventure Camps at the ranch. The conservation-themed camps are open to youths nationwide.
The Club also hosts many other kinds of educational events at the ranch's Rasmuson Wildlife Conservation Center, which contains a classroom, great room/dining hall and sleeping quarters.
"Even in tough economic times, we cannot lose sight of the importance of connecting our young people to the great outdoors," said Boone and Crockett President Ben Wallace. "All of these youth programs centered on the ranch and expanding onto adjoining public lands are providing more youth with positive, life-changing, outdoor experiences."
The Boone and Crockett Club shares an interesting line of history with the Boy Scouts of America. Theodore Roosevelt founded the Club in 1887, prior to his presidency. He was out of office in 1910 when the Boy Scouts was launched, but Roosevelt became an instant and staunch advocate for the cause. In fact, he became a committeeman of Troop 39 of Oyster Bay, N.Y., near his home at Sagamore Hill, and the first commissioner of the Nassau County Council. Roosevelt was later elected honorary vice president of the Boy Scouts and the only man ever to be designated as a Chief Scout Citizen.
For many years after Roosevelt's death in 1919, several thousand scouts and leaders in the New York area made annual pilgrimages to their hunter-hero's grave in Oyster Bay.
Boone and Crockett established the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch in 1987.