The compelling reasons to leave Finch Lodge in place and build elsewhere
Note: The council has given absolutely no information in support of their statement, "The current site is deemed by most to be the best site for the dining hall for the new Cub Scout camp." (Is this simply empty rhetoric? If not - who deemed it and how thoroughly did they think it through?)
Leave Finch Lodge in place for seasonal use
The council could have three lodges for less cost than two. The council estimates costs of 1.6 to 1.8 million dollars to build an originally designed lodge. They estimate an additional $200,000 for incorporating salvaged elements from the old lodge. Finch Lodge is structurally sound and can be restored for approximately $100,000. Also, a Finch Lodge restoration could qualify for private preservation grant money. Trying to evoke history through salvaged elements would only bring ridicule from the preservation community.
Finch Lodge would be an additional facility for Scout activities. The Council "turned away multiple units that wanted to use a lodge at Cowles this spring because they were already booked." (Tim McCandless, 6/22/06) Three lodges would accommodate more groups and allow more simultaneous activities during busy months. Closing the old lodge during the coldest months would keep heat and maintenance costs low.
Finch Lodge would generate income. A restored hall of Finch's Lodge's size and historic charm would be a very attractive rental for community events, family reunions, weddings, small corporate retreats, etc.
Support and Enhance "Cub Country"
Finch Lodge would be a major asset to "Cub Country". The unique storybook interior would add an authentic feel to many different Cub Country themes (medieval knights and castles, pirates, western frontier etc.) . The old lodge's main hall would be an exciting place for program activities and would become invaluable in inclement weather.
Historic Honesty and Stewardship
Finch Lodge was designed specifically for Camp Cowles by noted architect, Julius Zittel. It is an irreplaceable National Historic Register-eligible treasure. Current and future Scouts should experience a genuine link to their Scout predecessors - not a misleading fabrication or display of artifacts. Conservation and Stewardship are important lessons in a world with limited resources.
Build a new lodge up the hill and closer to North Shore Road
Unlike the old-lodge location, and up-the-hill site allows the new lodge building to act as both a visual and a safety barrier between the vehicle areas (parking, delivery, North Shore Road traffic) and many of the "Cub Country" program areas. It could function both to help keep the Cubs within the program areas and to obstruct their views of parking lots and road traffic.
Delivery semi trucks and garbage trucks, would have easy access to the back of the new building from North Shore Road. These heavy vehicles would not need to drive through either program areas or camping areas. Trucks would not need to backup in areas of high Cub foot-traffic. Also, this utility traffic would be well away from all camping areas.
Much of the vehicle parking lot space could be built in an area behind the building. The high volume of vehicles using this parking would be far away from Cub Scout foot-traffic and off of camp roads.
Building a dining-hall lodge farther from the lake would provide a safety buffer. The front of a lodge is a natural gathering place before or after meals and is a logical outdoor play area when activities are held inside. Young children are often drawn to the lake or, in winter, to ice on the lake. Flawless supervision is not always realistic.
The road down to the old-lodge site could require cost prohibitive re-grading, reinforcing and paving to allow semi trucks to deliver food.
National and State regulations (i.e. SEPA, Shoreline Management Act, etc.) make it expensive and complicated to destroy historically significant buildings or disturb ecologically sensitive areas.
Proximity to the Ranger's residence and the maintenance facility would facilitate security and maintenance plus eliminate any need for winter plowing or sanding of the hilly, curve-filled road down to the old lodge site.
This location would have easy access to the main electrical and telephone lines on North Shore Road. Water and sewer would also be readily available.
The views from a new lodge on a new, uphill site would be more expansive and feature the lake surrounded by trees and mountains. The primary impression would be more that of nature rather than swimming docks and lakeside homes. The lodge would also conveniently overlook many of the camp's planned activities.
Proposed plans for "Cub Country" show two main camping areas. This site would be located midway between the two. It would also be central to most of the planned program areas.
The site would be farther from distractions caused by the public using the lake. Loud or unruly groups on jet skis or in boats would be less likely to disrupt meals or activities.