CARVER, Mass. (WPRI) — A Boy Scouts camp that’s been a local refuge for decades just sold to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for $1.4 million on Friday.
Camp Cachalot, in Carver, Massachusetts, has served as a home away from home for Boy Scouts throughout Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island since the 1940s.
“The actual property transfer was signed in March of 1946, we just completed our 75th Anniversary celebration last year,” said Dennis Wilkinson, Cachalot historian.
Now the lights are off at the dining hall and the windows are shuttered as the camp officially closed on May 31.
Mid-may was the final weekend Boy Scout Troops could camp for a weekend and Bob Dorgan’s Fairhaven Troop did just that.
“This property, we’re told, is being sold as part of essentially a bill that our local council, all local councils, are getting,” Camp Cachalot Alumni Association Chairman Brian Bastarache said.
Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy in 2020 after thousands of men nationwide came forward claiming they were abused while in Scouts. The proposed settlement is about $2.7 billion, meaning councils across the country would contribute to that.
“This council has to give approximately $6 million, so this [camp] will be part of the $6 million,” Bastarache added.
In a statement, the Narragansett Council confirmed the sale of the camp to the Commonwealth adding, “The proceeds from the sales of real estate, along with other unrestricted assets available to us, will comprise our Council’s contribution to the survivor’s compensation Trust as part of the national organization’s bankruptcy process.”
The Narragansett Council went on to say it has not filed for bankruptcy and will continue camp at several other sites, including potentially Camp Norse in Kingston, Massachusetts, which was also sold off and is now owned by a nonprofit.
Wilkinson said the Scouts enrollment has been declining since the 1970s and this camp hasn’t been used as a weeklong summer camp since 2017.
“They decided to centralize their summer camping at Camp Yawgoog and like I said it’s been five years since that happened,” he explained.
Troops can decide if they want to go to Yawgoog, in Hopkinton, Rhode Island, or somewhere out of council like in Western Massachusetts.
“It’s a boy-led program, so in most cases, it’s a boy-led decision, and to be clear, even in a normal year, they might just want to go somewhere else just for variety,” Wilkinson said.
There is also another camp in the same state forest as Cachalot, Camp Squanto, but the alumni say there’s something special about Cachalot that they’ll miss.
“Water is crystal clear, there’s not a better place to go swimming, but it’s the group of people,” Bastarache said. “I don’t know why, but there’s a unique group of people here who are dedicated to the facility and that sort of dedicates them to each other.”