April 6, 2018
Dear Scouts and Scouters:
Last month, we first told you about our ongoing discussions with the Lancaster County Conservancy to preserve Wizard Ranch for future generations of Scouts and the public through a potential sale of the property to the Conservancy. An important element of this proposal was that the Council would continue to be able to conduct future Wizard Safari events on the property and that Scouting units, along with the general public, would be able to camp and hike at Wizard Ranch in the future.
Since we first posted this information in early March, nearly all of the feedback the Council has received about this proposal has been positive. We invited interested Scouters to an information meeting about the proposed sale on March 13 at the York Service Center and the feedback that evening was also very supportive.
With this positive feedback, the Council’s Executive Board, at its meeting on April 2, reviewed the details of the proposed sale to the Conservancy and a presentation by Phil Wenger, the Conservancy’s Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Wenger shared the Conservancy’s future vision for Wizard Ranch as a key element of their overall Hellam Hills Nature Preserve.
Following the presentation, and after discussion, the Executive Board unanimously approved the Council entering into an agreement of sale with the Conservancy. This step, while obviously an important decision in the sale process, does not yet finalize the issue. A separate “future use agreement” between the Council and the Conservancy, which is currently in draft form, will need to be further refined and agreed to by both parties by June 1. Additionally, the Conservancy still needs to secure all their necessary financing. There are also a number of due diligence items typical of any land sale that will need to be completed.
In concert with approving the sale of Wizard Ranch, the Executive Board also approved a resolution establishing how the proceeds from the sale of Wizard will be utilized. In short, we will create a “Wizard Ranch Fund,” which will function much like a camp endowment fund, with annual distributions being used for capital improvements (such as major renovations and equipment purchases) at any Council-owned camp in the future. The distribution model approved by the Board would initially generate nearly $80,000 per year to benefit our camps, with an eye to growing that amount over time as the invested value of the fund will hopefully increase.
We are excited about the “win-win-win” aspect of this sale – that the natural beauty and wildlife at Wizard Ranch will be preserved forever, that the Council and its Scouting units will be able to continue to use Wizard for future Safaris and weekend camping and that the proceeds from the sale will support the Council’s camp properties.
We will continue to communicate with you as we work through the various steps remaining in the process of finalizing the conveyance of Wizard Ranch to the Conservancy.
Dr. Kevin H. Mosser Ronald M. Gardner, Jr.
Council President Scout Executive