The mission of Smokey Timbers Foundation is to:
Provide affordable camping and recreational opportunities for youth organizations and family groups – Scouts, 4H, Churches, Schools, YMCA, Community Education, etc.
Offer educational opportunities that focus on environmental protection, preservation, and remediation
Provide a retreat site for spiritual, personal and community development activities
Preserve and enhance the physical assets of Smokey Timbers Camp
Smokey Timbers is a precious resource on pristine Lake Miltona in West Central Minnesota. Since its beginning as a Girl Scout Camp in 1958, Smokey Timbers has been creating lifetime memories and friendships for youth and families. Throughout the years its achievements have been made possible in large part by caring local friends and neighbors, many of whom reside on and around the lake. It all started when a local farm couple with the vision of a forever environmental/recreational facility gifted the 21 acres of mature forest and 550 feet of natural shoreline site to the local Girl Scout organization. Fueled primarily by local effort, development and maintenance was enthusiastically undertaken through financial contributions, plus a whole lot of volunteer provided goods and “sweat equity”.
Along the way, ownership was assumed by the Regional Girl Scout Council. Local connections faded and support for and usage of this wonderful local asset declined. In 2003 the decision was made to sell Smokey Timbers. Commercial development and extinguishment of the original vision appeared inevitable. The “locals” (Miltona area permanent and seasonal residents plus a host of others who admired the Smokey Timbers vision, accomplishments and potential) launched a response.
Once again the caring people who value the importance of natural/environmental resources stepped up and demonstrated their commitment to the Smokey Timbers vision. In 2004, thanks to those people and coordination by WesMin R C & D, funding was secured, purchase was achieved, and Smokey Timbers was “rescued”. Operation and maintenance became the responsibility of a volunteer Board, and creation of an independent Smokey Timbers Foundation began. That all volunteer Board kept the vision alive, achieved IRS 501 (c) (3) recognition and ownership of Smokey Timbers transferred to the Foundation in 2009. The transfer agreement assured the site’s future as a natural/environmental resource.
With ownership the all-volunteer Foundation accepted total Camp responsibility – operation, maintenance, improvement AND retirement of its outstanding $150,000 debt. Significant progress is evident on all fronts. Most encouraging is the increasing number and variety of guests discovering Smokey Timbers to be a destination of choice – Girl/Boy Scout and 4H groups, school and community education activities, church groups, YMCA outings, family groups, service activities, environmental education programs, etc. Additionally, notable renovation and improvement continues AND debt has been eliminated. Increasingly Smokey Timbers is being recognized as the unique asset that its supporters have always known it to be.
With the debt obligation retired, exciting new programming and facility improvement is now underway. The Foundation is confident that continuing support from “Friends of the Camp” both old and new, are assuring a bright future for Smokey Timbers as a popular location for the creation of LIFETIME MEMORIES.
Recent generous contributions by “Friends of the Camp” have provided funding to facilitate these many new improvement projects at Smokey Timbers. The following projects have recently been completed or are currently in process. Every bit of support enables Smokey Timbers to maintain the momentum and continue achieving its maximum potential. Faith in the goodness of people got it to where it is and faith will assure that bright future!
Projects completed in 2017/2018:
• Total debt retirement
• New roofs installed on three buildings
• New siding and windows installed in the bunkhouse
• Two new septic systems for current and future requirements
• Initiation of forest restoration
Projects proposed for 2019:
• Upgrade bunkhouse plumbing, electrical and heating
• New all-season Restroom/Shower building
• New well
• Retaining wall/patio near the new septic drain fields
• Restoration of the ATCC Law Enforcement Memorial Trail
More information about this wonderful Miltona asset and important part of the lake’s heritage will be gladly provided.
“Doing real science, and applying critical thinking skills at Smokey Timbers, makes learning for my students both relevant and meaningful.”
H.S. Biology Teacher
“I have brought my Troop to Smokey multiple times. The boys love the location and all that's available to do here.”
Boy Scout Master