DOI / VISTA Team News

DOI/VISTA Angela Allison, Assists with Rebirth of Half-Century Old Camp Brookside

by DOI/VISTA Support Office Staff
October 8, 2014

During the 1950's and 60's, Camp Brookside, located on West Virginia's New River, was built as a summer camp for the children of workers from Union Carbide's Electro Metallurgical CO. plant. Now, 50 years later, DOI/VISTA Angela Allison and the staff at the New River Gorge National River (NPS) are celebrating the renovation and re-opening of this local treasure that is slated to be a residential youth camp and environmental education center beginning in the Summer of 2015.

One hundred and fifty Community members and former Camp Brookside campers from near and far visited the site during a recent open house, bringing pictures and magazines and sharing childhood stories of their camp experiences. The park connected with many of the reunion attendees through Angela. Angela is interviewing partners, community groups, and former campers to gather ideas about the camp to document the camp's history and to coordinate programs for the camp in 2015.  Robin Snyder, chief of interpretation for the New River Gorge National River, said that discussions are underway to identify potential users of the remodeled camp. "It's looking like one use will be a residential youth camp for people 15-21 who would live here and work on nearby conservation projects for for six to ten weeks at a time. We are also looking at becoming an environmental education center, where college students would earn credits by working directly with the park's staff on such projects like water quality monitoring."

Also, this summer, The DOI/VISTA support office successfully applied and received an AmeriCorps NCCC Team for Camp Brookside. The seven person crew, River 6, worked under the direction of Angela and NPS staff, who designed a plan of work that brought a long list of projects to completion. On Friday, September 26, Camp Brookside officially opened it's doors.