September Through May Use
During the September through May time period some special activities may be scheduled. Depending on the activity, it may be a pack/troop/crew activity or an activity for individual youth and/or adults. These may include activities such as the following:
- Annual Fall Color Hike – September
- Tiger Cub Adventure Day
- BB Archery Day
- BSA Climbing Instructor Course
- Venturing Climbing/COPE/Shooting Weekends
- Cub Scout Haunted Castle Weekends
Check the Longs Peak Council Calendar for scheduled activities.
The Scout Ranch is a great place to camp during the winter months, but winter camping precautions found in the Guide to Safe Scouting must be followed. Remember, the Scout Ranch is at an altitude between 7,000 and 8,300 feet. In the winter months it can get really cold (lowest recorded is minus 40 degrees!). It can get really windy with gusts over 50 miles per hour. It can snow a great deal (5.5 feet recorded in one storm in March 2003 and 13 feet in one December storm in 1916!) , or the wind can blow all the snow to Kansas. It can get really dry, even with temperatures below freezing. Always check a weather forecast for the northern Colorado mountains before your departure. It can be sunny on the flat plains and snowing in the mountains, or reverse!Winter activities could include: snow shoeing, cross-country skiing, snow caving, animal tracking, sledding, wildlife watching, orienteering, and star gazing. Please stay off of all bodies of water during the winter. The lakes and ponds tend to drain out during the winter, and the ice cover, with too much weight, can break and fall into a deep hole.
General Use Information
Camp areas at the Ben Delatour Scout Ranch of the Longs Peak Council are available for Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops, Varsity Scout Teams, Venture Crews, Districts, and Council uses. During June, July, and a portion of August facilities come under the summer camp operations directive and may not be available to individual units. Units need to check with the Farr Service Center in Greeley for availability status. Please note the following:
- All trash/garbage must be packed out and taken home. There is limited and expensive trash service at the Scout Ranch. District events desiring trash service can make arrangements for paying for this service.
- The latrines are not stocked with toilet paper. Please bring your own paper.
- At times a fire ban will be in effect. This depends on weather conditions, when the last rain fall was recorded, and government directives.
- Please park vehicles properly! Protect the fragile meadows by keeping vehicles off them. Park in designated parking areas only, and not in the campsites. Do not block roads.
- Do not cut trees. There is plenty of downed firewood available. Only authorized persons may use chainsaws.
- Keep out of restricted areas: COPE Courses, Pancake Climbing Base, Shooting ranges, water treatment plant, etc.
- Locked buildings and gates are locked for a reason. Please respect this, and do not tamper with them.
- Please see that campers use designated campsites only!
- Latrines have a purpose. Please see that Scouts and adults use them!
- No pets (dogs, cats or otherwise) are allowed in any of the Longs Peak Council Camps.
- Everyone must check in and check out wit the Camp Ranger.
Camp Demming Area
The Camp Demming Area is located about one half mile past the Boy Scout Camps entrance gate on County Road 68C. It is on the north side of the road. Vehicle access is restricted to just inside of the gate, and camping areas are accessible by foot. The Camp Demming Area is a part of the BDSR “backcountry” where fires are prohibited. Cooking must be done using stoves. Districts planning to use the Camp Demming Area must also arrange for “porta-johns” as latrines are not available. Water is not available in this area, but depending on water supply conditions, it may be possible for the BDSR Ranger to provide a water truck. Please contact him at least two weeks prior to any event.
Unit Camp Program
When a Scout unit attends a camping weekend they are required to have a planned program. The adult and youth leadership must sit down and plan out the activities, meals, chapel services, games, training, etc. for the weekend. This is only mentioned because time and time again Scout units arrive in camp, and they just let their members wildly roam about and do whatever they please without supervision. This can be real trouble, and an accident waiting to happen. Adults must be in control, and supervise with responsibility.
Water is a rare commodity at the Scout Ranch. From about September 15th to June 1st of each year water systems are not available. In Camp Jeffrey the summer water comes from the Elkhorn Creek, and goes through a licensed treatment plant. This system and plant are not “winterized”. In Soaring Eagle a spring feeds the water system, and it normally dries up by August 1st. This system is not winterized. Camp Nicol’s water is from a poor 1,000 foot well, and this system is not winterized. The Elkhorn Base water is from a spring near the base, and this system is not winterized. The Family Camp water comes from the same spring that waters Soaring Eagle. Why aren’t systems winterized? The Scout Ranch is in the Rocky Mountains where water lines must be at least three to four feet below ground to keep them from freezing in winter temperatures that have been recorded as low as minus 40 degrees. To dig this deep in solid rock is simply beyond the council’s financial means.All Scout groups using the Scout Ranch in the early fall need to check before arrival on water conditions to see if a source is still available. All should plan to bring sufficient quantities for drinking and washing needs during their stay.
All overnight buildings are lighted with electric lights. When not in use all lights must be turned off. Limited outlets are available in most buildings. The recent Boulder Rotary Lodge remodel has improved electrical service in this facility. As funding allows, other buildings will have their electric service upgraded.
Cooking at the Scout Ranch must be accomplished OUTDOORS. Cooking of any kind is not allowed inside of the following structures: KOLA Lodge, Boulder Rotary Lodge, Nuzum Shelter, or the Ruth Coffin Shelter. Please use the grills and fire rings provided outside. The above listed buildings are not insured against loss due to cooking fires.
Several trails cross the Scout Ranch, and users should obtain a Scout Ranch Map (from the Farr Service Center in Greeley) prior to their arrival. The Gregg Boundary Trail makes a circle around the Scout Ranch, and is about 12 miles in length. It is marked with orange colored diamond markers. Request a BDSR Trail Guide brochure for additional trail routing information.
Backcountry camping is allowed at the Scout Ranch. Leave No Trace Camping rules must be followed. The Camp Ranger, or Campmaster, must be notified of overnight campsite locations and routing upon a unit’s arrival. No camping within 300 feet of the Elkhorn Creek is allowed. Only stoves are allowed – NO FIRES!
During the non-summer months communications at the Scout Ranch are limited. With few exceptions, cellular telephones do not work. A pay telephone is located on the porch of the Armstrong Heritage Center at the main parking lot. A quarter is needed to make a call, but a 911 call should go through without payment. In all emergency situations the Scout Ranch Ranger should be contacted at his work area or at his home near the front gate to the Boy Scout Camps.
Outpost Camp Area
The Outpost Camp Area is accessed at a gate across from the Elkhorn High Adventure Base on County Road 68C. A parking lot just inside of the gate means that access to campsites will be on foot. This area is frequently used for district camporees, and can accommodate several hundred campers. The Out Post Camp is a part of the BDSR “backcountry”, and this means that fires are not allowed. Cooking must be done using stoves.Districts planning to use the Out Post Camp Area must also arrange for “porta-johns” as latrines are not available. Water is not available in this area, but depending on water supply conditions, it may be possible for the BDSR Ranger to provide a water truck. Please contact him at least two weeks prior to any event.
Fishing is available all year round. Weaver Lake on the road into the Boy Scout Camps is stocked at the beginning of the summer, but it is also fished hard all summer long. A license is not needed at Weaver Lake. The Elkhorn Creek can have some fine fishing spots, but the recent drought years have been really hard on fish, and few may be found. A state of Colorado Fishing License is required for creek fishing.
Many groups using the Scout Ranch desire to do a conservation project. With a minimum of three hours service Scouts can earn the current year’s Project SOAR patch. Find out all about this award on the Project SOAR page.
Conservation projects must be approved in advance by the BDSR Conservation Chair, Camp Ranger or Council Program Director.
Weekend Use of Shooting Sports Ranges
Groups (with qualified/certified supervision) may reserve the shooting ranges at BDSR for weekend use. Find out more on the Shooting Sports Range Reservation page.
Wildlife is everywhere at the Scout Ranch. Black bears are normally active from early spring through late fall. They want food, and have broken out vehicle windows to get at a promising smell. Around November 1st until late spring a herd of up to 200 elk may be found grazing in meadows. Mountain lions and coyotes are active all year long as they hunt for mule deer and other tasty dishes. Ticks normally come out in early March, peak in June, and then lessen through the rest of the warm weather. Mosquitoes, and their potential West Nile Virus, come out as things warm up – especially around bodies of water – and last until the first heavy frost usually in September. Rattlesnakes can be found once spring arrives. Watch for them in rocky areas where they sun and hide in the crevices.
Mule Deer Are A Common Sight
All wildlife should be left alone. The Scout Ranch is a non-hunting area, and it is requested that all violations of this policy be reported to the Scout Ranch Ranger. Please do not feed or harass the wildlife!
During the summer and autumn months cattle can be found grazing on the Scout Ranch. The cattle belong to a contracted grazer who pays the council for right to the grass. The grazing cattle in turn keep the long grass cut down, provide some soil nutrients, and lessen potential fire danger. Cattle are not to be harassed, driven, or bothered in any manner. Injury or death to any animal will become a legal matter between the grazer and those involved.Other domestic pets – dogs, cats, ferrets, whatever – are not allowed on the Scout Ranch. Exceptions are for those individuals requiring a seeing eye dog, and for dogs performing a specific duty such as a search and rescue dog.
There are times during the year when the Scout Ranch is closed to all use. These dates are – for the most part – based on the policy that the Scout Ranch Ranger must be on site when campers or day users are on the property, and the fact that the Scout Ranch Ranger is required by employment contract to have holidays off work. Most of these dates between September and May will be holidays, days when the Scout Ranch Ranger is on vacation, or days when a council or other activity require facility full use. These dates usually include:
- New Years Eve and Day
- Martin Luther King Day Weekend
- Presidents Day Weekend
- Easter Weekend
- Memorial Day Weekend
- Labor Day Weekend
- Order of the Arrow Fall Fellowship
- Thanksgiving Day & Weekend
- Christmas Day
Check the council calendar for details. In the future when a Campmaster Corps has been organized coverage on holidays will allow for the opening of the Scout Ranch!
Snow Removal Policy
During the winter months every effort will be made to remove snow to keep BDSR roadways open so campers can access cabins and campsites. However, during heavy snow times access may only be available to selected locations that may include: the main parking lot, Coral Rock Lodge, or the KOLA Lodge area. The Scout Ranch Ranger will do his utmost to keep roads clear, but he is directed not to spend his entire week plowing snow and using up expensive fuel just to save a few hearty Scouts from a good invigorating hike.
Prior to making a reservation the following requirements must be met:
- Provide proof of a certified/trained adult first aider to be in attendance with the group or Scout unit.
- Provide proof of a trained BSA Youth Protection Trained adult leader to be with the group or Scout unit.
- Obtain an approved BSA Local Tour Permit from a Council Service Center.
See our Year-round Camp Reservations page for information on fees and how to make reservations.It is the policy of the Longs Peak Council that reservations are made on a “first come – first served basis”. District or council events may not “bump” another district or council event or a unit from a reservation.
Can a pack or troop or crew reserve the entire Scout Ranch? The answer is simply “no”. You may have a very large group, and you may take up a great deal of space, but outside of summer camp programs no one gets to use the entire property. In recent years we have had as many as 1,500 campers in several different programs on the same weekend, and it was not crowded!