Marcellus Citizens, Inc. invites you to share the adventures that await you at Spinks Memorial Camp. It is situated in the town of Marcellus in southwestern Onondaga County, the fifty-nine 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, while overnight camping is allowed with a permit. There is a $1.00 fee per camper per night camping, and 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 fifty 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, and it quickly became run down. Standing dead and leaning timber made the camp unsafe, and 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.
Since the project, much has since 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 wooded area of the camp. The camp game field has been reclaimed and is excellent for large group camping. The camps access roadway has been completely refurbished, including drainage, and pull-offs, making it passable for all types of vehicles. However, the half-mile long roadway is not plowed during the winter months, parking on the road at the base of the hill or at Marcellus Park is available. A perennial flower garden graces 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, Jeramy 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) need to be refurbished. 1993 marked the date of yet another local scout attaining the rank of Eagle. Ryan Gates’ project, created the James M. Spinks Memorial Trail, starting at the flowerbed at the bottom of the camp and wandering up the hillside to the arboretum. It is a lasting tribute to his former scout leader. Marcellus Citizens Inc. is sincerely honored by Ryan’s project. The trail needs a lot of annual maintenance to keep it in shape after 20 years of time. In 1994, two more local scouts attained the rank of Eagle, both of whom constructed their projects at Spinks Memorial Camp. Ryan Riefler built an Adirondack style lean-to, which was a beautiful addition to the camp. The lean-to is still in excellent shape and is be used by visitors and campers for overnight shelter. Nate Legnetto created the camp’s pond that had been a former wet area. The pond has since been over-run by aquatic vegetation and needs to be dredged out and restored. 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 and renovated benches at the fire ring. In 2017, Max Heinekamp built 6 additional picnic tables for camp use. Also in 2017, John McManus constructed an additional lean-to for the south side of the camp.
More recently, leaders and 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, and construction of a new outhouse and woodsheds.
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. There are fun event stations, as well as ones that focus on scouting skills.
Future projects for the camp include an improved access road, water supply, orienteering course, geo-caching station, and a small pavilion.
The Marcellus area has much to offer, most of it within walking distance of Spinks Memorial Camp. For example, 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 315-256-6313 or email: eriefler28@gmail.com.