HISTORY OF SPINKS MEMORIAL CAMP
Marcellus Citizens, Inc. invites you to share the adventures that await you at Spinks Memorial Camp. The Forty-Four plus acres of woodlands and fields lie just south of the Village of Marcellus on Route 175. The youth recreation area is available for day hikes. Overnight camping is allowed with a permission and proof of insurance. There is a nominal fee for overnight camping however the group will be assigned a project to help with the upkeep of our camp. Water is not available at the camp but with the camp roadway, water is easily obtainable at nearby Marcellus Park.
Spinks Memorial Camp was established more than forty years ago when Amos Spinks and his brothers donated the land to the Marcellus Boy Scouts. The Marcellus Citizens Inc. was established to act as a holding company for the scouts. The land was used for many years but in time local scouting groups grew disinterested in the camp. It quickly became run down, while dead and leaning timber made the camp unsafe. The camp roadway slowly eroded and became unusable. Open fields were quickly reclaimed by nature.
In 1982, members of Explorer Post 266 began what become known as the “Spinks Memorial Camp Revitalization Program”. The first order of business was the re-establishment of the Marcellus Citizens Inc. The new organization became the chartered partner of the Post and the Post’s new number became 666. There was much work to be done and post members soon enlisted the help of Boy Scout Troops 66 and 266, along with Cub Scout Pack 166.
Much since then has been done. Dead trees and leaning timber have been removed from much of the camp, new trails, many of them suitable for cross-country skiing, have been constructed. Seven new campsites now dot the camp. The camp game field has been reclaimed and is excellent for large group camping. The camp roadway has been completely refurbished, including drainage, making it passable for all types of vehicles. (The half-mile long roadway is not plowed during the winter months.) A perennial flower garden graced the camp entrance but has fallen into a state of disrepair. A woodland garden can be found at the top of the camp along with a Memorial Arboretum. Many new trees have been planted over the years throughout the camp.
In 1991, Marcellus had the honor of local Boy Scout, Jeremy Amidon, attaining the rank of Eagle. He was the first local scout to earn this award in eight years. Marcellus Citizen’s Inc. was proud to boast that Jeremy’s project was the construction of 8 picnic tables for Spinks Memorial Camp. Many of these tables by 2008 (16 years later) should be replaced. 1993 marked the date of yet another local scout attaining the rank of Eagle. Ryan Gates’ project, the James M. Spinks Memorial Trail, starting at the flowerbed at the bottom of the camp and wandering up the hillside to the arboretum is a lasting tribute to his former scout leader. Marcellus Citizen’s Inc. is sincerely honored by Ryan’s project. Again, this trail needs a lot of maintenance to get it back into shape after 15 years of time. In 1994, two more local scouts attained the rank of Eagle, both of whom constructed their projects at Spinks Memorial. Ryan Riefler built an Adirondack style lean-to, which was a beautiful addition to the camp. The lean-to is still in excellent shape to be used by visitors. Nate Legnetto reclaimed the camp’s pond that had turned into a swamp. The pond has since been overrun by aquatic vegetation and is starting to resemble a swamp once again. All of these projects were welcome additions to the camp but need periodic maintenance to keep them viable. In 2009, Sam Schneider rebuilt the bridge over the ravine at the north end of camp.
More recently, scouts from the local troops have performed many service projects at the camp. Some of these projects include trail maintenance, bridge repair, campsite maintenance, burn barrels, fire ring seating, new outhouse and woodshed construction.
Every year, the local scout groups put on an event, called the All Scouting Outing. Held in the fall, this mini-camporee lets local girl, cub, and boy scouts get a taste of the camporee atmosphere. The Citizens provide refreshment and prizes for the scavenger hunt, while the scout troops create and run various events. Most event stations are scouting skill related, although there are some fun ones.
Future projects for the camp include an enhance access road, water well, and a second lean-to.
Marcellus has much to offer, most of it within walking distance of Spinks Memorial Camp. Marcellus Park offers baseball fields, tennis courts, horseshoe pits and a great place for a family picnic. Baltimore Woods with its many trails and exhibits lies just across the valley from Spinks Memorial Camp. Disappearing Lake is a rare oddity and depending on the time of year, groups can hike around the lake or explore the dry lake bottom. Marcellus Falls and the Martisco Railroad Museum make for a fine adventure for those seeking a five-mile hike. Nearby Nine Mile Creek offers the best in trout fishing.
If you would like to learn more about Spinks Memorial Camp, would like to arrange a tour or become of member of Marcellus Citizens Inc. contact Ed Riefler at 315-673-1901 or write: Marcellus Citizens Inc., 2992 Warners Rd., Warners, NY 13164.
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