An introduction to Onteora
Way back in 1963, I joined the rest of Troop 182 from Baldwin, New York, and headed off on my first trip to summer camp. Our destination? Onteora Scout Reservation, located in the Catskill Mountains near the town of Livingston Manor. Click here for maps of the area, showing the general locations of both Livingston Manor and Onteora.
Main Gate to Onteora Scout Reservation
"The Land in the Sky" (2009)
Onteora is one of two camps owned by the Theodore Roosevelt Council, formerly Nassau County Council, of Long Island, New York (see below for details on the name change.) The other camp is Camp Wauwepex, located in Wading River, New York (They renamed that property to Schiff Scout Reservation a few years ago, but to me it will always be Wauwepex, so I've used that name for much of the site.)
I was a summer camper at Onteora in 1963 and 1965, and a counselor in 1968 and 1969. At that time Onteora was quite a massive operation, for it was the third-largest Boy Scout camp in the country. I also made many trips up there for Order of the Arrow events, the winter camp-outs called Operation Igloo, and some weekends of fun with other alumni over the years. I met a lot of good friends there and have some great memories of the place.
After my years on the camp staff I moved to California, but I made sure to visit Onteora during some of my trips back East. Unfortunately, I learned in 1997 that the Council had closed Onteora a few years earlier, the victim of declining Scout enrollment and a tendency for more upscale camping. This was a real loss, for it was a great experience for me and I'm sure thousands of others. Happily, the Council re-opened the camp in 1998 and has been rejuvenating the property ever since, with summer camp at Onteora once again providing a great outdoors experience to Scouts from Long Island and other parts of the Eastern states. Many Boy Scout camps have been closed over the years, but Onteora has the distinction of being the only one to ever be re-opened. Now, thanks to an incredible amount of hard work by volunteers and a dedicated camp staff, the future again looks bright indeed.
I've had fun putting these pages together to salute the glory years of Onteora, and to showcase the vibrant camp it is again today. I would appreciate hearing from any other OSR campers or counselors that would like to contribute. If you have any pictures, maps or knowledge to share, please let me know. Likewise, if you would like to be part of a mailing list of other Onteora fans, please let me hear from you.