A nationwide review of the Boy Scouts of America by Hearst newspapers has shown that one-third of Boy Scouts’ councils have been involved in logging to raise funds for the beleaguered organization.
The review found that 26 councils logged in or adjacent to protected habitat wildlife; at least 60 areas were clearcut by the Boy Scouts while salvage logging occurred in 35 areas; and many councils wrote logging plans that disregarded rules meant to protect ecosystems and resources. Furthermore, the investigation uncovered councils which logged and sold land that had been donated to the Boy Scouts with the belief that the acreage would be used for camping and outdoor activities.
Redwood tree in California’s Big Sur
While some Boy Scouts’ councils have only done logging when it was environmentally sound, seeking advice from professional foresters, the investigation found that other councils logged with impunity. According to available records the National Council in Irving, Texas participated in the most logging, striking down over 10,000 acres. Cascade Pacific Council out of Portland, Oregon follows up with nearly 5,000 acres. The Pacific Northwest dominates much of the list with Spokane, Foster City, Seattle, and Tacoma councils logging between 700-1,100 acres each. The investigation, however, cautions that much of this data is probably underestimated due to lack of records.
The revenue from the logging was used largely to shore-up Boy Scouts’ groups, which have been struggling with funding for decades. Hearst news reports that the Boy Scouts lost significant funding after the controversial decision not to allow gays, atheists, or agnostics in their organization. While councils defended their actions as necessitated by low-funding, the investigation found that local and regional executives for the Boy Scouts were making between 100,000 and 300,000 dollars in annual salaries.
Created in 1910 the Boy Scouts has built a reputation on good stewardship of land and resources for nearly a hundred years. The organization says it follows the ethical values of Leave No Trace, a set of principles designed to safeguard wilderness through such practices as ‘leave what you find’ and ‘respect wildlife’.
Last night popular satirical comedian Stephen Colbert roasted the Boy Scout organization for its actions by awarding them the “highly coveted hypocrisy badge”.
For the investigation on the Boy Scouts of America by Hearst newspapers: Profit trumps preservation for Boy Scout councils nationwide