Blue Ridge Mountains Council

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Blue Ridge Mountains Council
Blue Ridge Mountains Council CSP.png
Owner Boy Scouts of America
Location Roanoke, Virginia
Country United States
 Scouting portal

The Blue Ridge Mountains Council is a Boy Scouts of America council located in Roanoke, Virginia that serves Scouts in southwest and south central Virginia. The Blue Ridge Mountains Council owns and operates the Blue Ridge Scout Reservation in Pulaski County, Virginia. The local Order of the Arrow lodge is the Tutelo Lodge.[1]


The council is part of Area 7 of the Southern Region of the BSA. The council service center is in Roanoke, Virginia. The council has over 470 units sponsored by over 300 community organizations. BRMC is divided into six districts:

  • Great Valley District
  • Dan River District
  • Mountain Empire District
  • New River District
  • Patrick Henry District
  • Piedmont District


Blue Ridge Scout Reservation[edit]

Blue Ridge Scout Reservation
Blue Ridge Scout Reservation.png
Location Pulaski County, Virginia
Founded 1949

Blue Ridge Scout Reservation is located in Pulaski County, Virginia on a 17,500 acres (71 km2) property, almost 8% of the total county area. The reservation consists of Camp Powhatan, and Camp Ottari, with a network of over 100 miles (160 km) of mountainous trails crossing the land between the two base camps. It is the largest council-owned Scout Reservation in the United States and provides summer camping experiences to over 10,000 participants each summer.


After the Civil War's Battle of Cloyd's Mountain near Radford, Virginia, the Union Army pushed farther south. One company stopped for the night on a tract of land on what is now the Blue Ridge Scout Reservation. One of the soldiers who worked for a Philadelphia iron works discovered that the rocks there contained a great deal of iron ore. After the war was over, the employee interested his firm, R.D. Wood and Sons, in the land. The company purchased the tract to establish iron mining there. By 1885, it was a thriving operation. By 1905, it was inactive. It was during this time that the Iron Furnace was built, which would later become the emblematic structure on the Reservation. When the last member of the original family, Walter Wood, died in 1934, he willed the land to Radford College, now Radford University "to be used to the best possible advantage." Radford College chose to sell the land in order to fund a concert organ for its music program. The Virginia General Assembly authorized the sale. The Blue Ridge Mountains Council (Roy Webb, a local of Pulaski, also put in bids for land, and got a little over 300 acres in the sale, including the Iron Furnace, a hiking trail that Mr Webb cut out was named after him, it runs off Dead Pine Mnt) put in the successful bid of $56,100 and acquired the 15,000-acre (61 km2) tract, plus two farms with 216-acre (0.87 km2) combined.

In 1949, the Blue Ridge Mountains Council established a camp on 400 acres (1.6 km2) on Maxs Creek in Pulaski County. Buildings were constructed along Maxs Creek and an earthen dam was built to form a 7-acre (28,000 m2) lake for swimming. The site was called "New" Camp Powhatan, referring to the council's "Old" Camp Powhatan located near the Jefferson National Forest. The other base camp, Camp Ottari, was opened in the summer of 1962. After occupying a site leased by the Appalachian Power Company for over 10 years, the Claytor Lake Adventure Base was established in the summer of 2008.

Camps Powhatan and Ottari[edit]

Camp Powhatan is positioned under the Jersey Ridge on the Blue Ridge Scout Reservation. Camp Powhatan extends a big-camp experience, as it is the largest council-owned Scout camp in the United States. The Camp offers over 30 areas of learning, providing Merit Badge instruction in Aquatics, Scoutcraft, Handicraft, Shooting Sports and Nature. Camp Powhatan also provides Adult Leader Training. A 60' Climbing tower on Jersey Ridge, and Blob on Lake Powhatan offer high adventure activities for Scouts. Camp Powhatan is renowned for its state-of-the-art facilities, including its Dining Hall, Nature Center, Scoutmaster Lounge, Health Office, and Trading Post.

The Dining Hall at Camp Ottari

Camp Ottari is situated between Bench Mountain and North Ridge. The camp encompasses rugged, mountainous terrain, and a large lake, allowing it to boast incredible vistas, and mild mountain weather. Merit badge instruction is offered in Nature, Handicraft, Scoutcraft, Aquatics, and Shooting Sports. Because of its larger lake, the camp offers Small Boat Sailing through the Ottari Marina. Camp Ottari provides Adult Leader Training in its state-of-the-art training center, and features the Little Laurel Woodshop, where Scoutmasters can use traditional hand tools to create woodworking projects to take home or leave as a permanent reminder of their Troop's time at camp — a popular tradition at Camp Ottari.

Claytor Lake Adventure Base[edit]

The Claytor Lake Adventure Base is an aquatics base, which opened in the summer of 2008 making it the newest camp on the Blue Ridge Scout Reservation. It is situated on the 4,500-acre (18 km2) Claytor Lake. At the base, Scouts spend the week motor boating, large boat sailing, small boat sailing, water skiing, kayaking, snorkeling, rowing, and wakeboarding. The program offers Scouts the opportunity to participate in an overnighter on a large sailing vessel, where they’ll depart the base, drop anchor, and spend the night out on the lake. Scouts who are age 14 and older can choose to focus on scuba diving, where they’ll earn a PADI scuba certification during the week. The Base also offers a wakeboarding school, for Scouts interested in honing their skills in wakeboarding. The Claytor Lake Adventure Base is renowned for its impressive facilities, progressive programs, and excellent food. It is a provisional program, offering leadership for Scouts aged 13 and older.
Claytor Lake Adventure Base

High Knoll[edit]

Mountainboarding is a popular feature on the High Knoll Trail

The High Knoll Trail is a backpacking program encompassing a network of over 100 miles (160 km) of mountainous trails that span the Blue Ridge Scout Reservation. It is based out of Camp Ottari. Crews hike during the day, and make camp at one of a series of outposts in the evening.

Backpackers must be 13 years old and 1st class by June First to participate in High Knoll.

  • Huff Farm — offers experience on a working horse ranch. Scouts learn skills in roping and horsemanship. A trail ride is offered, and a Chili dinner is served in the evening.
  • Rendezvous — Participants learn to use a black-powder rifle, throw tomahawks and knives, and develop skills that enabled settlers to survive the frontier of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • Wild Goose — Participants learn basic skills and gain experience in Mountainboarding.
  • Point Camp — offers bouldering, rock climbing, and rappelling on a natural rock face.

New River Adventure[edit]

The New River Adventure is a high adventure program designed to satisfy the demands of older Scouts. It is based out of Camp Powhatan on the Blue Ridge Scout Reservation. The program utilizes a nationally accredited C.O.P.E. course featuring a Giant's Ladder, Sky Walk, Zip-line, and a 60' climbing tower, amongst other features. During the week, participants take a trip whitewater rafting on Class I-V rapids on the New River Gorge National River, one of the most popular whitewater rivers in eastern North America. While in the New River Gorge, participants may also take part in natural rock climbing at several sites, including Endless Wall, an international rock-climbing destination. During the week, Scouts can also participate in spelunking in the area’s limestone caves, whitewater canoeing, and mountaineering. The New River Adventure is a provisional program, which provides leadership for Scouts at least 13 years old by January 1.

Voyageur Trek[edit]

The Voyageur Trek is a canoeing program, in which participants embark on a five-day, 50-mile (80 km) canoe trip on the Roanoke River. Throughout the program, Scouts learn about the French Canadian Voyageurs that forged the first paths in the New World. During the trek, Scouts hone paddling skills, learn to read whitewater, fish the waters of the New River, and go whitewater rafting in the New River Gorge. The Voyageur trek is a provisional program, and Scouts must be 13 years old by January 1 to participate.

Fish Camp[edit]

Fish Camp is a provisional program based out of Camp Ottari which instructs Scouts in the skills of fishing and fly-fishing. Throughout the week, area anglers instruct Scouts about the environment and biology that influences fish behavior. Participants fish in the lakes and rivers on, and surrounding, the Blue Ridge Scout Reservation. This program is renowned for its float trip on the New River, and fly-fishing trip beneath the waterfalls of the Cascades. Fish Camp is a provisional program, offering leadership for Scouts aged 13 years and older.
Fish Camp

Mountain Man[edit]

The Blue Ridge Scout Reservation encompasses 17,500 acres of mountainous terrain

Mountain Man is a provisional program located in the Laurel Hollow on the Blue Ridge Scout Reservation. Daniel Boone's Wilderness Road is located several miles from the encampment. Participants experience Appalachian Virginia by learning the skills of the 18th century woodsmen that settled in the area. Scouts dress in period clothing and participate in shooting muzzle-loading black-powder rifles, building fires using flint and steel, blacksmithing, leather working, throwing tomahawks and knives, cooking, and wilderness survival. The Mountain Man program is popular for its Tavern Night at the Whippoorwill Commissary, which serves ice-cold root beer on tap and frequently features live mountain music. Mountain Man is a provisional program, offering leadership to Scouts aged 13 and older.

Brownsea Island[edit]

The Brownsea Island Adventure is a summer camp program designed to help younger Scouts learn the patrol method, and develop basic Scout skills. It is offered at both base camps Powhatan and Ottari. Scouts are divided into groups of 8-10 boys, and paired with a Life or Eagle Scout who serves as their guide. Participants learn the essential skills of Scouting, and complete many of the requirements for Tenderfoot through First Class through interactive lessons, daily competitions, and a hike.

Camp Powhatan's Brownsea Island program offers first-year Scouts the opportunity to earn merit badges as well as participate in many Brownsea Island activities and games. The program is widely regarded as the best in the country as the National Camp School First-Year Camper Curriculum uses the Brownsea Island Module Guidebook as an example of an ideal curriculum.

Program and activities[edit]

Foxfire is the name of the National Youth Leadership Training course offered by the council. The NYLT course develops Scouts into trained troop leaders, by focusing on the concepts of what a leader must be, what he must know, and what he must do. Scouts are divided into patrols and participate in the Quest for the Meaning of Leadership. Participants experience presentations, activities and patrol competitions. Foxfire is a provisional program where participants must be 13 years old and First Class by the beginning of the Program to participate

Order of the Arrow[edit]

Tutelo Lodge

The Order of the Arrow is represented by Tutelo Lodge. It supports the Scouting programs of the council through leadership, camping, and service. Within the Southern Region Section 7A, Tutelo Lodge has won the Quest for the Golden Arrow (the section's athletic trophy presented at Conclave) for 15 straight years. The lodge has also been a Quality Lodge for the past few years, and is now working toward the new Journey to Excellence standard.

See also[edit]


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