Press-Republican

Local News

November 16, 2010

Eagle Island Camp for sale

â Expenses, dipping attendance cited for National Historic Landmark property

(Continued)

UPPER SARANAC LAKE —

DIFFICULT DECISION

Heart of New Jersey CEO Susan Brooks issued a statement calling the decision "a difficult one for all who were involved" and citing "the path taken to make sure it was inclusive and thorough."

Council spokeswoman Nancy Zimmerman said Monday the property is now being winterized.

No price has been set for the sale.

"We're at the very tip of the iceberg," Zimmerman said. "We're trying to get people in place now for the committee and set up a task force to manage the selling process."

FRIENDS SURVEY

But another group of former campers has already put a finger to the wind.

Friends of Eagle Island is looking to raise capital to buy the island, with the intention of keeping the property running as a wilderness camp for girls.

They just launched a survey canvassing their membership of 1,000 or more supporters.

Spearheading the effort, Friends Chairwoman Dorcas Hardy said they have "not given up on serving the girls who find meaningful opportunities on the island."

In a statement, Hardy said Friends of Eagle Island set their focus "in order to honor the intent of financier Henry Graves Jr., who gave his summer retreat to the Girl Scouts so that children might spend their summers on this beautiful, pristine island forever. This camp experience has served to strengthen and enlighten girls for a lifetime."

'BEAUTIFUL'

The pending sale of a large and hugely significant historic property has caught the attention of Adirondack preservationists at Adirondack Architectural Heritage.

Executive Director Steve Engelhart said he was not surprised to learn of the Heart of New Jersey decision to divest.

"They haven't opened in two years, and the new group of Girl Scout administrators in the organization seem to have no connection to the place. They don't seem to understand the kind of unique camping opportunity Eagle Island Camp provides."

Engelhart could not predict or estimate a selling price for the historic real estate.

"They or their realtor will go about some process of valuating its worth basing it on comparables," he said.

"But when you put something like this on the open market, anybody can buy it. We can't assume the buyer will value the historic buildings — we'd like to think so, that interested parties will see they are very wonderful, beautiful and attractive."

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