Since the mid-1970’s, in the coldest part of February, volunteers with Boy Scouts of America have headed to the well-known James Bacon Memorial Park, or Bacon Park as it is commonly called, to clear heavy snow from roads so that young men from all over the Uintah Basin can spend a few very uncomfortable days learning how to eat, sleep and survive during inclement weather. Surprisingly, “The Klondike” is one of the most popular and anticipated camps offered each year, with over 600 youth attending over a two-week period.
Heavy Snow Brought Unexpected Devastation
Volunteers were devastated however when they arrived and found two of the four large pavilions (the “James West” and “Akela’s Den”) had buckled under the weight of the heavy, saturated snow and had completely collapsed. Large picnic tables under them were also a total loss. Cable Murray, a structural engineer with ties to Scouting, donated his time to assess the damage and check the structural integrity of the remaining two pavilions. The “Baden Powell” pavilion was declared unsafe and un-savable while the “Sam Wedges” pavilion was declared safe for use but in need of extensive renovation.
Around 1972, the scenic 40 acre parcel at the entrance to Ashley National Forest was donated to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Roosevelt Stake by James Bacon of Cedar View, Utah, to be utilized for programs benefitting youth.
According to Lynn Snow of Roosevelt, Utah, “Jim was an avid and dedicated life-long Scouter. He exemplified every good trait in a man. He loved the aims of Scouting and wanted all young men to benefit as he had from the programs it offered.” The land was conditionally deeded to the Utah National Parks Council of the Boy Scouts of America in 1996 with the following specific directive:
“… the conveyed property shall be used for a non-profit camping and recreation facility for the Boy Scouts of America and young women of comparable age.”
Strata Networks Leads Charge To Restore Bacon Park
“Even before it’s been formally reported, we are getting calls of concern from people and businesses who recognize the benefit James Bacon Memorial Park offers the youth of the Uintah Basin” said Scott Major, District Executive for High Uintah District. “Strata Networks called a board meeting only days after hearing of the damage and voted to donate $10,000 to the restoration efforts at Bacon Park.” Strata Networks has always supported education through annual scholarship programs, and this is just another example of the investment they make in the youth of the Uintah Basin.”
In the past Bacon Park has been utilized for Scout & Leader trainings, campouts, family reunions and group camping events. “We don’t anticipate any more traffic than already exists at the park but we do hope to redesign with spaces more conducive to girl’s camps, church group activities and short term events while still providing rental options for reunions and special events,” stated Joni Crane, District Assistant, who is facilitating fund development for recovery efforts. “I hope businesses, organizations and individuals will reflect on the legacy and dream James Bacon had for our children and if they can, call me at (830) 308-7380 and let me know how they might play a part in helping us recover from this sad event.”
Author: Joni Crane | District Staff High Uintah District, Utah National Parks Council