Executive Summary of Expansion Project and Cabin Renovation
What are Trout Lake Camps (TLC) long range plans?
Over the next several years, TLC has two specific areas in which we are going to invest money into the ministry. The first area is cabin renovation at the point (the old part of Trout). Each year we collect data from parents re: their child’s experience and bathrooms/cabin conditions are continually rated the worst out of 20 different camp facilities. Many of you have stayed in these cabins and understand first-hand why they are “first in line” to get repaired. Our plan over time, is to completely renovate the cabins (new cement board siding, new roof system, new windows, winterize several of the cabins, add front entryways, etc.) so that they are ready for more ministry...decades more.
The second area we are investing into is a new camp specifically for our youngest campers, 1st through 3rd graders. Everything we build (20 cabins, activity areas, chapel, dining hall, water play areas, moving the horse area, etc.) will enhance our mission of reaching that age group for Jesus. The name of this camp is Wild Woods and it will be located on 100 acres of land that was purchased in December 2012. The 100 acres is all continuous with our existing camp, so now TLC has approximately 300 acres. The 100 acres is located on the Whitefish Chain of Lakes on a lake called Arrowhead Lake and praise the Lord...God’s ministry at TLC is debt free.
What is the petition and why are people against this project?
The petition is a Citizen’s Petition requesting that an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) be prepared by Trout Lake Camps for Crow Wing County. The petition included seven areas of concern for why they are asking Crow Wing County to make TLC complete this EAW. In summary the reasons are:
- Light Pollution: “it is expected that that entire project area will have night time lighting which will constitute a major new source of night time light pollution.”
- Waste Water: “may cause significant detrimental environmental effects”
- Storm Water: “have the potential to cause increased storm water run-off”
- Forest Land Conversion: “the project would represent a major change to the historical use and character of the entire area.”
- Noise: “the site of the proposed expansion slopes toward Arrowhead Lake, creating the potential for increased projection and magnification of sounds.”
- Traffic: “the proposed project is expected to dramatically increase traffic and congestion.”
- MN law: “the proposed project...probably meets and/or exceeds several mandatory EAW thresholds.”
What is Trout’s response to the petition?
We recognize that building a new camp to reach kids for Jesus has an impact on the surrounding community. Yes, we will use lights at night. Yes, noise levels will go up. Yes, traffic will increase. Yes, we will continue to follow local and state regulations on waste and storm water. Yes, we will continue to work with Crow Wing County Highway Department to keep our roadways safe. Yes, the land is changing into a kids camp. Yes, we will complete a EAW if required by Crow Wing County BUT...
In our opinion, at the core of this petition, it is about delaying or attempting to stop what we believe God is calling us to do...build a new camp to reach our youngest campers for Christ. We will do our best to minimize the light, noise, traffic, waste and storm water run-off and be good stewards of the resources we have been given. In fact, we are wrestling with how do we take these valid neighbors concerns, and if possible, adjust our plans so that we have less impact. We value our relationship with our community and ultimately, we want to reflect Christ in our actions and words. The challenge remains in this situation, we might not agree in a mutually acceptable position between TLC and the neighbors. Therefore, since this EAW is most likely not required, we are asking for your support to help communicate to Crow Wing County that entering into process is simply a strategy the local neighbors are using to delay the camp from being built. Bottom line for Trout is...if this is a God directed vision to build a new camp, we believe it will succeed.