Salmen Scout Reservation
Must be completed by any unit, district, out-of-council unit, or non-BSA group who would like to use any of the facilities at Salmen Scout Reservation. Permit must be submitted at least 2 weeks prior to the reservation date. Some additional requirements may apply after permit is submitted.
Forest Fire at V-Bar
As many of you are aware, the SELA Council, guided by a Land Management Committee and with oversight by the Council's Executive Board, has embarked on an ecological restoration program for Salmen Scout Reservation / Camp V-Bar. The goal is to reintroduce longleaf pine ecosystems to the property.
Longleaf pine forests were the major vegetation type on the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains from Virginia to Texas. One of the most useful of the southern pines, longleaf trees provided masts for ships and then poles for powerlines, and, from colonial times to today, rot resistant red lumber for flooring and fine furniture. Turpentine was refined from its sap. The tree was (and is) in such demand that in many areas it has been virtually eliminated from its original range due to excessive harvesting and to the challenges in replanting it. That, and the general suppression of the frequent naturally-occurring fires that helped longleaf regenerate. This loss was a major biological disaster as the diversity of life supported by the longleaf ecosystem rivals that found in the rainforests of the Amazon.
Making V-Bar a site for longleaf renaissance will require a lot of work and a lot of time. Also a lot of fire. To continue with timber management projects we started in 2009, we were awarded a grant by the state of Mississippi to conduct the first controlled burn on the property in the coming weeks. This prescribed fire treatment was conducted by trained professionals from the Mississippi Forestry Commission, with oversight by our consulting foresters to ensure maximum benefit to the forest.
Safety is our first concern. No actions will be taken while scouts are on-site. Protection of camp infrastructure is second. We will protect structures and camp sites and back-country shelters. Maximizing ecological benefits is third. The burn reduces the risk of catastrophic wildfire at V-Bar and also reduces risk to camp buildings and infrastructure. In turn, it makes V-Bar a safer place for our scouts to camp.
Expect to see some changes when you visit camp. Burned areas will be black for a short while and then will be covered in new growth in the understory. You'll be able to see further into the woods. You may see more wildlife. As more burns are conducted over time you'll find that V-Bar is a more enjoyable place to visit and that we'll be able to offer more opportunities for scouts to earn environmental science, fish and wildlife, and forestry merit badges.
We are pleased to be moving forward with making V-Bar one of the best managed BSA camps in the nation. We assure you that all actions are carefully considered and are backed by sound science. If you have questions or concerns, please direct them to Steverson Moffat, Chairman of the Land Management Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org