Judy Silverberg: 603-271-3211
Jane Vachon: 603-271-3211
Mike Normandin: 603-455-5435
December 22, 2010
Barry Camp Will Open! Donations Still Needed
N.H. Sportsmen Bring Back a Treasured Conservation Camp
Berlin, N.H. – As the year comes to a close, a statewide effort to renovate and bring back Barry Conservation Camp in Berlin, N.H., is marking a successful midpoint milestone and asking for help to reach its endowment goal and finish the job. The good news is that, thanks to the efforts of New Hampshire's outdoorsmen and women, the project is halfway to its goal of raising $50,000 – enough to support a decision by N.H. Fish and Game to officially reopen the camp for the summer of 2011. Plans are well underway for campers to arrive in late June and sessions are scheduled through the first week in August, 2011. Watch for details at http://extension.unh.edu/4H/4HCamps.htm.
Meanwhile, the biggest need remains funding. "None of this happens without money," explains Mike Normandin of the Belknap County Sportsmen's Association a volunteer who is coordinating the renovation effort. "We hope you, or a club or organization you belong to, will consider giving to this worthwhile project." If you can help, please send tax-deductible contributions to the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire, PO Box 3993, Concord, NH 03301 (specify Barry Camp Fund).
A growing list of key supporters across the state demonstrates the broad range of support for the project. Contributors include the Belknap County Sportsmen; New Hampshire Trappers Association; Pointer Fish and Game Club; N.H. Chapter of Safari Club International; N.H. Council of Trout Unlimited; the Basil Woods, Ammonoosuc and Great Bay chapters of TU; Pemigewasset Valley Fish and Game; Goffstown Fish and Game; Sullivan County Sportsmen; Mt. Cardigan Fish and Game; Cheshire County Fish and Game; the Enfield Outing Club; and the N.H. Locked Moose Antler Project. Community groups are getting into the action as well, including the Coos County Fire Wardens and Conservation Commissions from the towns of Bethlehem, Littleton and Walpole.
Why is the project so important? Over the past 25 years, thousands of New Hampshire youth have learned how to shoot, hunt, fish and enjoy the great outdoors at this rustic summer camp set in the remote beauty of the White Mountain National Forest. The camp closed in 2009; it needed big repairs and a cash-strapped N.H. Fish and Game Department had no means to fix it. The state's last dedicated facility for introducing youngsters to the outdoor life was fast becoming no more than a memory.
Enter N.H. sportsmen. In 2010, led by Mike Normandin and the Belknap County Sportsmen's Association, they decided that they would do whatever it took to get Barry Camp up and running again. The goal was to have kids there in the summer of 2011. "This camp is too important to the future of hunting and fishing in New Hampshire to let it close forever," says Normandin.
This was no easy task. Roofs needed replacing; windows, doors and walls on the six cabins were out of kilter; the creaky recreation hall was barely habitable; a new water system would have to be installed. Toughest of all is raising $50,000 to cover repairs and create an endowment to keep the camp on stable footing in years to come.
Outdoorsmen and women stepped up to the plate to help. "We've been at the heart of this push, but it's been gratifying to see the response from other fish and game clubs and outdoor organizations," says Normandin. "This is a true statewide effort -- a chance for us to work together on a project that will affect the future of something we all care about."
Throughout the fall of 2010, volunteer work crews hustled to repair many of the buildings and get new roofs in place before winter settled over New Hampshire's North Country. N.H. Fish and Game installed a new water line. Clubs and businesses donated money and materials, and dozens of volunteers showed up to renovate and cap the cabins with shiny new metal roofs.
The work is not over yet. "We're off to a great start, but there's plenty more to do," says Normandin. "Next spring, we plan to finish the renovating and re-stain all the cabins. Also, we hope to revamp the shooting ranges, build roofed structures at firing line and install new shooting benches being built by Boy Scouts over the winter months."
There's even one cabin left to be adopted – the Coyote's Den is waiting for a club or organization to tackle its renovations and forge a lasting link to this historic camp; this last cabin is in better condition than many of the others were in, so its restoration should be a manageable project. Several smaller projects also await attention.
Thanks to these ongoing efforts and generous donations, the triumphant shouts of youngsters hitting a target with rifle or arrow, catching a fish, or climbing a mountain will once again echo through the quiet forests surrounding Barry Conservation Camp this summer. A new generation will have the chance to slow down their lives and sample and savor the outdoor life.
"Let's face it, Barry Camp is probably not going to pull youngsters away from today's electronics, but it is a great place to expose kids to the outdoors -- something they should not miss out on," says Normandin. "It's been wonderful to see the outdoor community come together with a common purpose to bring the camp back."
To learn more about the Barry Conservation Camp restoration project and how you can help, visit www.wildnh.com/barrycamp.
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