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Donation of camp creating new lakefront park

Published on

Heather Wright

Special to The Journal

A piece of prime Lake Huron beachfront property in the Bright’s Grove area could soon be opened for public use.

The board of directors of Lamrecton Camp has given the property to Plympton-Wyoming, on condition it remains in public hands.

The grounds at 3110 Egremont Road include several acres of parkland, cabins, a hall and about 100 feet of sandy beach.

The town is thrilled with the donation, said Mayor Lonny Napper.

“It is a nice big piece of property. We’re very excited about getting it.”

Lamrecton Camp opened its doors in 1926. Started by the United Church of Canada, it offered summer camps to children from around the region. Later, a board of directors was created to hire summer staff to cook and take care of the grounds.

But the number of children attending camp has dwindled and the board was losing money.

Napper and council received the keys recently and went out to tour the grounds. Some buildings are still in good shape, but the cabins would need a “capital investment” if they were to stay, he said.

Municipal council wants to take time to consider options for the land, he added.

“It is all up in the air. Everyone has ideas. We need to sit down and have a session of council to talk about it. And we want to engage the people in the area … but council has all kinds of ideas … and we want to make something that is compatible to the area.”

The gates will remain locked for now, while staff organizes a public meeting to discuss what sort of park might be created.

Napper said he wants to honour the people who donated the camp and allow people to say “farewell to Lamrecton.”

A special ceremony could be held next summer to unveil a stone explaining the history of the camp, which is about a kilometre east of Mandaumin Road.

“Down in that area there is not a lot of public access to the beach,” Napper said. “And anytime you can gain green space along the lake it is a plus.”

Camp made for great memories

 

John Scott says it was time.

Following years of declining use at Lamrecton Camp, the directors saw no other alternative but to give the 89-year-old camp to Plympton-Wyoming, the trustee said.

The municipality took ownership of the land on Lake Huron just east of Bright’s Grove in mid-August, on the condition it remain public.

“Over the past six to 10 years, use of the camp has been declining,” said Scott, a longtime volunteer. “Some of the groups that came regularly way back when, they stopped coming.”

Last summer, the volunteer board attracted just two churches to the grounds, which includes cabins, a cafeteria and a sandy beach, he said.

“There was one at the beginning of the summer and one at the end. It was becoming more and more difficult to find staff.”

Funds left over from the sale of other property was running out and the volunteers could see campers weren’t coming back, Scott said.

“The reality faced us that this was the time.”

In its prime in the 1970s, the camp was full every week of the summer, and many campers formed great memories at Lamrecton.

“They can tell you what cabin they slept in, what bunk … inside the cabins they scribbled their names and the date. We never painted over that, so people can go in and search the walls and find their name and the date and their bunkmates.”

Former campers may get a final look. Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper favours an opportunity for the public to say goodbye to Lamrecton next summer.

Scott also likes the idea.

“It lets people have that last connection, or a remember-when connection,” he said.

– The Petrolia Independent

 

 

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