Boy Scouts to sell local Camp Strake campground to developer

July 23, 2013 4:20:15 PM PDT
The wooded area in Montgomery County where generations of Boy Scouts earned their wilderness badges could soon be home to high-end housing and shopping.

A Houston-based developer will close on a deal to buy Camp Strake by the end of the year. The Conroe-area campground was first acquired by the Boy Scouts in 1943 and has been the organization's flagship campsite ever since.

After 70 years, Camp Strake has made for great memories for thousands of Boy Scouts, but that area is also paradise for developers.

With more than 2,000 acres of trees, lakes and cabins, Camp Strake has been a rustic paradise for local Boy Scouts for 70 years. But all this will be shut down in 2015.

"I mean, 70 years, c'mon. There's a whole lot of memories at this place so that's what I'm thinking, boy scout memories. So that's sad," scout parent Tina Ward said.

You don't have to look far to see the problem.

Camp Strake is bordered by both I-45 and Highway 336. It's a rapidly growing area that now has traffic, construction and commercial properties. And ExxonMobil's new campus for 10,000 employees is slated to open just 10 minutes from there.

"When you go camping in the outdoors, you don't anticipate seeing lights and hearing trucks and having trespassers and even vandalism. Unfortunately, in an urban setting, that's the kind of thing our campers can encounter," Sam Houston Council President Thomas Varnell said.

So the scouts are selling the land to Johnson Development Corp., a Houston-based company that specializes in high-end residential subdivisions.

"We're just beginning our study and studying the development issues in the different uses," Johnson Development Corp. President/CEO Larry Johnson said.

Neither the development company or the Boy Scouts would give us a price. But it's high enough for the scouts to buy a new property about 30 miles north of the current location.

"The new Camp Strake will be located in an area in between New Waverly and Cold Springs and it's surrounded on three sides by Sam Houston National Forest so we won't have to worry about urban encroachment for many years," Varnell said.

Officials are hoping to open the new camp, which also will be called Camp Strake, also sometime in 2015. We're told all employees at the current location will be given jobs at the new location.

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