Stop # 1: The Long House

OSR—Rise of the Phoenix

Welcome to the Land in the Sky, which, according to legend, is what Native Americans called this area--but more on this debatable origins story later. Opened in 1956, OSR’s first summer saw 80 Explorers enjoy its rugged trails and beautiful lake. The camp would grow over the years, at one point hosting more than 4,000 Scouts who stayed for two-week periods. Reflecting the changes in Scouting membership, the Reservation now serves about 1,300 Scouts every summer, who stay for one of five one-week sessions.

Consider the Legacy of the Sun Trail a crash course on where you are, the history of the region, the wildlife around you, and not least of all, a hike to see some of OSR’s truly incredible sites that are off the beaten path.

At one time a private fishing club, and then a personal estate, Nassau County Council (later renamed Theodore Roosevelt Council) bought Orchard Lake and the nearly 2,400 surrounding acres with the financial help of a very generous donation from Mr. Alfred H. Caspary. From its first summer in 1956, OSR continued to grow to the point that by the 1970s, it was not only serving thousands of Scouts at summer camp, but also running canoeing adventures down the Delaware River and up through the Adirondack Fulton Chain Lakes—not to mention an intensive and highly regarded Junior Leadership Training Course (JLTC).

Years later, with the Council and Scouting in general experiencing rough times, OSR was closed at the end of the Summer of 1991. Through the dedicated efforts of a band of volunteers who did not want to see their cherished memories of Onteora lost to future generations, the camp was reopened in 1998 with a volunteer staff who worked for several summers until OSR finally got back on its feet. It is the only Scout camp in the country that, once closed, was able to reopen--and stay open—an incredible legacy considering the number of BSA Scout camps sold off over the years. The year 2002 marked the founding of the Onteora Alumni Association, which raises funds to help improve OSR, with members volunteering countless hours to help maintain and repair camp facilities.

DIRECTIONS: Head to the porch at the back of the Long House where you will see blazes for the Red Trail. Follow the trail down towards the lake. Bon Voyage, Vaya Con Dios, Happy Travels and enjoy your hike back in time...