The picture you see here is one that I "stole" from Andy Briggs as I have not taken a picture of the new TP, SMG parade field and parking lot for some time. As I mentioned in my previous posts there are changes afoot. One of the biggest ones that will be noticeable perhaps more so for veteran Scoutmasters than scouts is the re-modeling of the parking lot and the SMG parade field. Due to years and years of mole attacks, the field is uneven as untreated wood left to the elements. The field looked like it was subject to mortar attacks but by the end of the summer season, everything is usually pounded into submission....the moles, the mole hills and what little grass we have. As the Trading Post neared completion, the parade field was graded in order for us to move the parking lot further east. It is difficult to see in this picture, but the far eastern concrete bumpers are pretty much where the old "hill" that led up to the old Program Office was. This will not offer us much more parking, but it will make the parking far more efficient as there will be an actual lane going down the lot so you are not worried about taking your sideview mirrors off or taking out a scout that you couldn't see as he was smaller than the truck that was hiding him as you drove down the lane. One tree has been removed (gasp) which now allows us to keep a straight line for parking.....so we probably will gain some more space to fit vehicles. This will help with the flow of vehicles into and out of camp during the summer months.
If you look closely at the field, you will see tape going around it so as to keep people off the main part of the parade field. We are attempting to re-seed this area so that we have grass by the time summer comes about. A little ambitious, but it is a start and if it takes, it will look great. Regardless, in a year or two, this will be the norm. Gravel has been placed around the new TP as well as the SMG. There is a path of gravel extending from the parking lot to the base of the Burma Road (where the staff kybos are). This is done not for aesthetics, it is done as it will keep the dust down during the summer with over 300 scouts tramping on it each week. The question now is, how further do we go with landscaping?
We hear as many suggestions from about as many different people regarding this. It usually falls in somewhere between two extremes; one side being that we should take out everything except trees of a certain height to the other side where we should not touch anything....let it be natural. Of course there are a lot of things in between and of course there are some pros and cons with each school of thought but the bottom line is that we are already interfering with what is going on just by our presence. We tramp three thousand people through our facility each season and although we try to keep them on the trails, it is always a challenge. My goal is that we rid ourselves of the "weed-like" plants that we have around camp (Scottish Broom comes to mind) and plant indigenous species to the peninsula/state in choosen areas; areas that will be aesthetic and will also serve a purpose for program (plant identification) or for camp operations (giving campsites and areas some privacy). When we thinned a few trees last year it was interesting to see how much it opened up the camp, yet still made it feel part of the forest. There is some art to domesticating a wild setting but still keep it "wild". Indeed, looking at the parade field and out to the parking lot or down to the boat house seemed to be natural. It gave both the feeling of an expansive property but still retain the natural and "home-like" feeling.
This regrade of the parade field is a good start and I look forward to see how it turns out, both aesthetically and practically as we move into our 94th season.