Three Harbors Council

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Three Harbors Council
Owner Boy Scouts of America
Headquarters Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Area of Wisconsin served by Three Harbors Council
Country United States
Founded 2011
Membership 24,806 (youth)[1]
Scout Executive Ed Brandon
President Richard Galling
Council Commissioner Richard Kroll[2]
 Scouting portal

Three Harbors Council is a local council of the Boy Scouts of America serving three southeastern Wisconsin counties: Milwaukee County, Racine County, and Kenosha County. Its name and logo refer to the three major port cities of Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha (in those three counties of the same name) on Lake Michigan.


The council was formed from a merger of Southeast Wisconsin Council and Milwaukee County Council in 2011.[3] Southeast Wisconsin Council was itself formed from a merger of the former Racine County Council and Kenosha Council in 1972.[4][5]


The council is subdivided into the following administrative districts:

  • The Fox River District serves the sections of Kenosha and Racine Counties west of I-94.
  • The Gateway District serves the Kenosha area, east of I-94.
  • The Lighthouse District serves the Racine area, east of I-94.[6]
  • The Heart of Milwaukee District serves the central portion of the city of Milwaukee north of I-94 to about Silver Spring Rd, and from 60th St to the lake.
  • The Southshore District serves the city of Milwaukee south of I-94 to about College Ave, and from about 27th St to the lake. This includes the south-side suburbs of West Milwaukee, St. Francis, Cudahy, and South Milwaukee.
  • The Root River District serves the southern portion of the city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County. This includes the south-side suburbs of Oak Creek, Franklin, Greendale, Greenfield, and Hales Corners.
  • The Iron Horse District serves the southern portion of the city of Milwaukee and the western portion of Milwaukee County. This includes the west-side suburbs of West Allis and Wauwatosa.
  • The Polaris District serves the city of Milwaukee north of Wauwatosa and the northern portion of Milwaukee County. This includes the north-side suburbs of Brown Deer, River Hills, Bayside, Fox Point, Glendale, Whitefish Bay, and Shorewood.[7]


map of Wisconsin with markers for the location of each current council camp
Three Harbors Council camps (click on markers for Geohack maps)

Indian Mound Reservation[edit]

Indian Mound Reservation (IMR) is named for the Indian mound at the camp in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin off of Silver Lake, and it caters primarily to the council's Cub Scouting program during the summer months and hosts several Cub Scouting day camps in cooperation with the Potawatomi Area Council. This camp is the primary recipient of Mikano Lodge. Units can rent the cabins and other facilities. The main attractions of the camp include a mine-themed program area, which after a National Service Grant Project from Mikano Lodge in 2005 now includes a panning for gold stream named Turtle Creek. The camp also features a castle and wooden land ship.

Camp Oh-Da-Ko-Ta[edit]

Camp Oh-Da-Ko-Ta, located in Burlington, Wisconsin, offers complete year-round facilities for Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops and Venturing Crews. The camp encompasses 185 acres (0.7 km2) of beautiful rolling hills and woodlands including waterfront on Dyer Lake.

Former camps[edit]

map of Wisconsin with markers for the location of each former council camp
Journal 1
Journal 1
Journal 2
Journal 2
Journal 3
Journal 3
Former camps of Three Harbors and its predecessor councils (click on markers for Geohack maps)
Main entrance to LeFeber

LeFeber Northwoods Camps[edit]

LeFeber Northwoods Camps was located near Laona, Wisconsin, 250 mi (400 km) on Hardwood Lake. The camp had an extensive history as a logging camp prior to its purchase and donation to the council in 1930. It primarily served Boy Scout summer camps and featured an excellent program drawing in campers from Michigan, Illinois, and several councils located in Wisconsin.

LeFeber was 1,120 acres (5 km2) of sub-boreal Wisconsin wilderness around Hardwood Lake with a deeply ingrained history in the region's timber industry. The camp was established in 1930 on land formerly owned by several timber companies, nestled in the midst of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, where Scouts had access to hundreds of miles of hiking, biking, and boating opportunities. From archery to woodcarving, nature study to cooking, a wide variety of program features and merit badges were offered. Merit badges, however, were only a portion of the overall program, which included archaeology, bike treks, blacksmithing, climbing and rappelling, fly fishing, golf, horseback riding, rifle & shotgun shooting, tomahawk throwing, whitewater rafting, and windsurfing. It used the patrol cooking method.

LeFeber was closed in 2015.[8]

Robert S. Lyle Scout Reservation[edit]

The Robert S. Lyle Scout Reservation was a 640 acres (2.6 km2) wilderness Boy Scout Camp. The reservation, located 25 miles (40 km) northeast of Antigo, Wisconsin, encompassed two lakes, Aninan and Perch, and had the Wolf River running through it. Like LeFeber, Lyle was one of the few Scout camps that used patrol cooking, where food is provided, but the Scouts cook the meals themselves. The camp offered a dining hall option but the vast majority of troops elected to participate in patrol cooking.

Lyle was one of the few Scout camps that ran an open program, meaning Scouts were free to work on merit badges or do activities of their choice during program time. This unique structure helped teach the Scouts time management as they figured out which part of camp they want to experience next.

Lyle was closed in 2015.[8]

Journal (Erin)[edit]

The Milwaukee Journal originally donated land in 1922 to the former Milwaukee County Council for a scout camp that was named Camp Journal.[9] This first camp was located on 7.5 acres (0.030 km2) on Watertown Plank Road west of Highway 100 in Wauwatosa (43°02′41″N 88°03′17″W / 43.0448°N 88.0546°W / 43.0448; -88.0546), which is now part of Underwood Creek Parkway.[10][11][12] However, this site was small and quickly surrounded by development, so the Journal helped the scouts buy a 45-acre (0.18 km2) plot northwest of North Avenue and Lilly Road in Brookfield (43°03′59″N 88°05′37″W / 43.0663°N 88.0937°W / 43.0663; -88.0937), moving Camp Journal to this site in 1946.[10][13] Finally in 1972, the camp was moved to its current 300-acre (1.2 km2) site in the town of Erin near Hartland (43°12′34″N 88°22′35″W / 43.2094°N 88.3763°W / 43.2094; -88.3763).[14] Camp Journal was sold to Quad/Graphics in 1997 and is now known as Camp/Quad.[15][16] Quad/Graphics allows scout units to use the camp several weekends each year, at which time scouts refer to it as "Camp Erin".[17] The company established a conservation easement on the land in 2009, so it can never be developed.[18]


Located at 42°45′00″N 88°13′52″W / 42.7500°N 88.2310°W / 42.7500; -88.2310,[19] Camp Ka-Ha-Gon was purchased by the former Racine Council in 1967.[20] It was sold to a private foundation when the Racine and Kenosha councils merged in 1971, and they sold it to the Racine County park system in 1982.[21] It is now known as Wadewitz Nature Camp[22][23] and is still occasionally used by scout units looking for a rustic camping experience near home.


Land for Camp Chippecotton was donated to the former Racine Council in 1936.[20][24] This camp was on the shore of Pleasant Lake (42°47′09″N 88°33′14″W / 42.7859°N 88.5540°W / 42.7859; -88.5540)[25][26] in Walworth County,[27] across the lake from Girl Scout camps Pottawatomi Hills (42°46′56″N 88°32′40″W / 42.7822°N 88.5444°W / 42.7822; -88.5444)[28][29] and Juniper Knoll (42°47′33″N 88°33′11″W / 42.792372°N 88.553093°W / 42.792372; -88.553093).[30] The camp was referred to generically ("the Boy Scout camp at Pleasant Lake") for many years, receiving the name "Chippecotton" (from a Menominee Indian name for the Root River) in a contest in 1953.[31][32][33][34] The camp was sold in 1962,[20] because its 100-scout capacity was now too small for the council, and the proceeds of the sale were used to develop the recently acquired Camp Lyle.[35]


The camp was given to the former Kenosha Council in 1951, and it was sold when Racine and Kenosha Councils merged in 1971.[20][36]


Camp Freeman was donated to the former Racine Council in 1947[20] by realtor L. L. Freeman on land at the current location of Colonial Park (42°44′11″N 87°49′04″W / 42.7363°N 87.8179°W / 42.7363; -87.8179).[37] It was still active in 1951, being used by scouts for events such as picnics, overnight campouts, and leader training;[38][39] however, it must have been sold to Racine soon afterwards, because Colonial Park is listed as one of the city's largest parks in 1956.[40]


This camp was operated by the former Milwaukee County Council in the town of Franklin[41] near Puetz Road west of Highway 41.[42] The land that was formerly Camp Arthur Davidson is now the site of Franklin Woods Nature Center (42°53′12″N 87°57′47″W / 42.8866°N 87.9631°W / 42.8866; -87.9631), owned by the city of Franklin.[43] It was named after one of the founders of Harley-Davidson, who bought the land and donated it to the Boy Scouts.[44][when?] He also donated another camp in 1933, which was sold in 1938 and became Brown Deer Park (43°09′33″N 87°57′09″W / 43.1593°N 87.9526°W / 43.1593; -87.9526).[45]


This camp was operated by the former Milwaukee County Council on the shore of Lake Michigan north of Milwaukee.[46] It was near Doctor's Park in Fox Point,[47] probably what is now the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center.


This camp[48][49] was in operation from approximately 1916[50] or 1930[51] until 1936[52] and owned by the Consumer's Ice Company of Burlington, WI, but operated with their permission by the Racine County Council. This camp was located on Norton's / Rockland Lake in Burlington, where YMCA Camp MacLean[53] is located today.[50][51] In late 1936 Camp Chickagami's buildings were dismantled and moved to the new Camp Chippecotton property on Pleasant Lake.[50][54]

Scout Heritage Museum[edit]

Located at 330 South 84th Street in Milwaukee, the Scout Heritage Museum seeks to show the history of Scouting in the Milwaukee area and southeastern Wisconsin as well as national Scouting history. Featured in the museum are historical photographs, rare Scouting books, badges, awards, memorabilia from jamborees and camporees, old uniforms and equipment, and author and illustrator W. Ben Hunt's collection of neckerchief slides and artifacts.

Order of the Arrow[edit]

Upon its founding, the Three Harbors Council was temporarily served by two lodges:

  • Mascoutens Lodge No. 8 was formed in 1972 when Oh-Da-Ko-Ta Lodge No. 153 (chartered in 1939) and Chippecotton Lodge No. 524 (chartered in 1957) were merged as part of the Racine County Council and Kenosha County Council merger that formed Southeast Wisconsin Council.[55][56]
  • Mikano Lodge No. 231 was founded in 1943. Its name means "Turtle" in the Ho Chunk language.[57]

The terms of the Three Harbors Council merger (dated October 1, 2011) specified that the two lodges should determine how best to consolidate within 18 months of the council merger. In 2012, the Lodge Creation Committee was formed of equal numbers of youth from each lodge with limited adult involvement, aside from the lodge's primary advisers. This committee met multiple times leading up to the 2012 summer camp season to decide on the Lodge Executive Committee structure, how the new lodge is going to utilize all four camps, a chapter system for the larger geographic area, the officers and election cycle, etc. The committee solicited lodge name, totem, and patch ideas from the membership through July 1, 2012.

On the morning of July 8, 2012, the youth of the committee decided and voted on the new name and totem. The decision became official at 10:08 am at LeFeber Northwoods Camps. It was announced that the name and totem would be unveiled at the New Lodge Kickoff on October 20, 2012. However, it was not until January 6, 2013, that the Kanwa tho Lodge 636, was unveiled by the youth committee that created it. The Kanwa tho Lodge is named after a subgrouping of the Potawatomi tribe of Indians headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Their totem is the panther, as Kanwa tho translates to "Panther Band".[58]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ 2011 Annual Report, Three Harbors Council
  2. ^ "Executive – Three Harbors Council Key Three". Retrieved October 16, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Scoutheast Wisconsin Council and Milwaukee County Council Approve Consolidation". Retrieved September 8, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Council Guide 2012 Edition, Vol 5" (DOC). Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Council Guide 2012 Edition, Vol 6" (DOC). Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Districts". Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Milwaukee County Council – Districts". Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Jones, Meg (July 12, 2015). "Northwoods Boy Scout camps head into a poignant sunset". Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Laona). Retrieved October 13, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Camp Journal Given to Boys". Milwaukee Journal. August 8, 1923. p. 13. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b "Scouts Dedicate Camp Journal". Milwaukee Journal. September 18, 1972. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Camp is the Answer for These Children". Milwaukee Journal. July 23, 1957. Retrieved April 11, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Plan Day Camp for the Retarded". Milwaukee Journal. June 11, 1956. Retrieved April 11, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Camp Journal Shifts, Grows". Milwaukee Journal. May 5, 1946. Retrieved April 11, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Thunder, Rain Join Camp Dedication". Milwaukee Journal. September 18, 1972. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Tall Pines Conservancy newsletter" (PDF). Spring 2009. Retrieved March 14, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Quad/Graphics Pledges to Preserve Camp Journal". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. July 31, 1997. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Camp/Erin" (PDF). Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  18. ^ Don Behm (June 6, 2009). "Biologists take stock of nature at Camp/Quad". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Wadewitz map" (PDF). Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  20. ^ a b c d e "ScoutingTimeline". Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  21. ^ Jim Kneiszel (December 16, 1996). "Nature's Way". Journal Times. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  22. ^ "May Roundtable – A Camping We Will Go! – Fox River District". Retrieved March 14, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Racine County – Camping". Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Scout Engineer Commends Racine on New Campsite". Racine Journal Times. June 3, 1936. p. 4. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Image : 100 years of Scouting: Boy Scouts of America celebrates centennial – canoe". Retrieved March 14, 2012. 
  26. ^ "Scout Camporee to Make History". Racine Journal Times. September 11, 1953. p. 4. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Image : 100 years of Scouting: Boy Scouts of America celebrates centennial – old". Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Winter's Dream...Summer's Reality...for Racine County Boy Scouts". Racine Journal Times. July 16, 1948. p. 20. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Camp Pottawatomie Hills Facilities and Fees". Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  30. ^ Mike Hemmingsen; Heidi Bunk (March 5, 2009), Pleasant Lake (Walworth County, Wisconsin) Integrated Sensitive Area Report (PDF), Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources – Surface Water Integrated Monitoring System, p. 7, retrieved April 9, 2012 
  31. ^ "Happenings in the City". Racine Journal Times. April 1, 1953. p. 4. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  32. ^ "Scouts Pick a Name with Symbolic Meaning". Racine Journal Times. May 11, 1953. p. 18. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  33. ^ "Racine Scout Camp Named Chippicotton". Racine Journal Times. May 7, 1953. p. 6. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Happenings in the City". Racine Journal Times. July 1, 1953. p. 4. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  35. ^ "Scouts to Get New Campsite". Racine Journal Times. July 8, 1962. pp. 1–2. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  36. ^ "SE Wisconsin Council History". Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  37. ^ "Overnight Camp Near Racine Made Available to Boy Scouts". Racine Journal Times. January 24, 1947. p. 5. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  38. ^ "Day Camps in Full Swing Keep Youngsters Busy". Racine Journal Times. July 19, 1949. p. 8. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  39. ^ "Scouters Plan Training Class". Racine Journal Times. June 15, 1951. p. 4. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  40. ^ "Hundreds of Acres in Racine's Park System Get a Real Workout in Summer Months". Racine Journal Times. November 11, 1956. p. 40. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  41. ^ "$17,500 Gift to Boy Scouts". Milwaukee Journal. April 3, 1956. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  42. ^ "2,000 Scouts Plan to Camp". Milwaukee Journal. June 13, 1957. Retrieved April 11, 2012. 
  43. ^ "City of Franklin Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan: 2025" (PDF). April 4, 2011. Chapter 4 page 22. Retrieved April 11, 2012. 
  44. ^ Davidson, Jean (2001). Growing Up Harley-Davidson. Stillwater, MN: Voyageur Press. p. 132. ISBN 0-89658-569-7. Retrieved April 11, 2012. 
  45. ^ "Services for Davidsons Tuesday". Milwaukee Sentinel. December 31, 1950. Retrieved April 11, 2012. 
  46. ^ "Youth Camps Draw Crowd". Milwaukee Journal. July 6, 1947. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  47. ^ "Week End Camp Outing for Group of Boy Scouts". Milwaukee Journal. September 2, 1938. p. 4. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  48. ^ "Burlington Events 1835-2006". Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  49. ^ "Celebrating 175 years: Boy Scouts celebrating a century of work". Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  50. ^ a b c "Bulletin". Racine Journal-Times. July 8, 1962. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  51. ^ a b "Burlington Events 1835-2006". Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  52. ^ "Bulletin". Racine Journal-Times. May 3, 1936. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  53. ^ "History - YMCA Camp MacLean". Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  54. ^ "Burlington Events 1835-2006". Retrieved May 29, 2015. 
  55. ^ "153". Retrieved March 14, 2012. 
  56. ^ "524". Retrieved March 14, 2012. 
  57. ^ "231 Mikano". Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  58. ^ "The Prairie Potawatomi". The Wisconsin Archeologist (Wisconsin Archeological Society) 4 (3): 160. 1926. Retrieved 14 January 2013.