- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Some local Boy Scouts weren’t just observing government in action last week. They were active participants.
Several Scouts, their parents and adult leaders attended the La Plata Town Council meeting to protest a decision by the town that will ban them from holding camping trips at Tilghman Lake when the park reopens this month. A grand opening is planned from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 21. The flier announcing the event even lists Scouting demonstrations as part of the day’s activities.
Tilghman is the town’s largest park at 61 acres. The park is located off Radio Station Road on Box Elder Road. It’s been there for about 40 years and is considered a treasure by those who use it.
The Scouts think it’s a gem, too. They’ve invested lots of time and energy in the past to help make it what it is today. The town has recently added restrooms and security cameras, and made other improvements to the park with grant money it received. While the park has been closed, the Scouts have graciously worked on projects to spruce up the grounds and the lake and build fire pits, we were told. One young man said before the town council, “We’ve given as much as we could to help keep it clean.”
We don’t have any problem believing that to be the case. The Boy Scouts, after all, are known for being good stewards of the environment. Most often, they leave a place as clean or cleaner than they found it. Many Scouting programs are designed to teach members about the importance of taking care of nature and how to be responsible when camping, hiking, fishing etc. The lesson: Respect the environment now so it will be there for others in the future.
Town leaders said they have had problems in the past with illegal dumping and vandalism at the park. The Scouts shouldn’t be punished for what others do to the property. The mayor said that the regulations necessary to allow camping are a concern to the town council. But it should be easy to create a park use policy that addresses whatever those concerns are. With such a great track record of taking care of the environment, Scouts are often allowed to camp at some national parks when other members of the general public are denied that right, one of the Scoutmasters told the council.
Tilghman Lake is a beautiful spot, and no doubt the town wants to keep it that way. But restricting its use doesn’t make much sense. It is a town treasure and one that should be enjoyed to the fullest. The town should reconsider its decision.