Scouts who had been evacuated from Spanish Peaks Scout Ranch, including some from Liberal’s Troop No. 73, center foreground, participate in a flag raising ceremony in town before being allowed later in the day to return to the camp. Photo courtesy Huefano World Journal
Editor’s Note: Liberal’s Boy Scout Troop No. 73 was camping at Spanish Peaks Scout Ranch on July 8 when they had to be evacuated from the camp due to flash flooing on Bear Creek. The story was reported on the front page of the Huefano World Journal.
After contacting Huefano World Journal Editor Gretchen Orr a few days ago for permission to run this article, she replied “absolutely,” and sent the story. She also reported it flooded again at the scout ranch Wednesday night.
“The camp was evacuated again last night in a torrential downpour,” she said. “We’re all pretty punchy.”
By BRIAN ORR
• Huerfano World Journal
HUERFANO, Colo. — The Spanish Peaks Scout Ranch, which suffered heavily in last year’s East Peak fire, is still suffering the aftermath of that disaster, when heavy rains sluiced off the barren and baked slopes, and caused heavy flooding on the morning of July 8.
At 3 a.m., the women’s cabin door was pushed open by floodwaters from upper Bear Creek, and the staff escaped out the back door, only to find they were trapped on all sides. With nowhere left to go, the women climbed the cabin chimney and huddled on the roof until the water receded to a point they could escape uphill.
A quarter mile up slope, at the staff men’s tents, water was flooding underneath the tent platforms, causing the male staff to retreat to the higher, and more solid showerhouse.
“It sounded like a jet engine under our tent,” said one staffer.
Shortly before 4 a.m., Sheriff Bruce Newman was able to drive up to the camp and made the decision to evacuate.
School buses from RE-1 were called up, and when the floodwaters had receded to a point where they could get in, all campers and staff piled in. Staff with personal cars were allowed to take those out.
By 11 that morning, the upper Bear Creek had receded to a point the scouts could return to their camp. By 1 p.m., they had re-loaded into their buses and returned to a very mudy, very soggy camp.
Damage assessment will take days, as their maintenence shed, commissary and women’s cabin all had flood and mud damage, and bridges had been knocked off their foundations.
Editor’s Note: Here is part of Orr’s response to the L&T request for re-printing the article:
“Absolutely we would be delighted to have you rerun this.
“Three of my kids are staff at SPSR, and the entire staff loves the scouts from Liberal – I believe they have achieved legendary status, not just for the steaks they bring out and cook for staff each year, but also for being so helpful and wonderful in the midst of all the evacuation mess. What a fine group of people!”