Sunday, May 11, 2014

Camp Hinds brings the military to Raymond - By Michelle Libby

After only two weeks on site, the United States military has taken over Camp Hinds in Raymond and begun transforming the grounds. 
Through a partnership with the Department of Defense Innovative Readiness Training Program (IRT), Camp Hinds and its Executive Director Eric Tarbox, the camp is set to have at least eight projects completed over the next five years, making Camp Hinds better ready to fulfill the Boy Scouts of America mission and vision. 

People who have walked or driven into the camp before will be surprised at the transformation after only two weeks. Trees have been taken down, large equipment has been brought in and future work sites have been marked. 

According to camp ranger Scott Martin, there will be a new 129-car parking lot, a change to the traffic pattern to help with speed control, four multi-purpose ranges and a 100-meter rifle range. There will be two new multi-purpose sports fields and a new archery range. 

One of the missions the Boy Scouts are trying to teach is “the safe handling of firearms,” said Martin. He also said that the camp is considering offering gun safety courses to the community through the NRA and the Boy Scouts. 

The military has moved into tents on the old baseball field just off Plains Road. This week, there are 32 Marines on the premises. The troops in camp will change every two weeks depending on the projects that need to be done. This week the two groups in camp are the 6th Engineering Battalion from Oregon and the 126th Civil Engineering Squadron based out of Michigan, who are working on taking down trees and moving earth. When it is time for things to be built, a different group, which specializes in building, will arrive. 
For the military, the set up and work at this site is training for doing the same work in a war zone. To arrive at a location, set up shelter, create a way to disperse food, dig a septic system, place a grease trap and become a self-sufficient entity, is exactly what they could do overseas. There are also two EMTs and a Navy Corpsman (a medic) on site. The kitchen set up that will be in use within the next few weeks will be able to serve 6,000 meals in an emergency situation, according to Tarbox.   

Everything being done at Camp Hinds can be found on the Town of Raymond website in a 97-page write up that had to be done detailing all of the permitting and studies that were done, including an archeological study that found that nothing of pre-historic or historic significance happened on the property. The information was posted in December of 2013. 

“It’s the entire game plan. It’s the wish wall, everything we’d want to do,” said Tarbox. From designing and permitting, the process was done in about four months, he added. 

One of the projects for next summer will be the creation of a 9,600 square foot four-season dining hall on one of the former campsites. Other projects include adding a full dormer to the training center and a new fire monitoring system, constructing new utility roads, and shoring up and replacing aging buildings in the camp. 

Martin said that all wood that is taken from the property is being used. Some will go to Hancock Lumber, pulp will be recycled locally, wood chips will go to a power plant in New Hampshire and other wood chips from stump grinding will be used as erosion mulch for Camp Hinds. 

One of the other benefits of having the military in camp is that the Boy Scouts who come to Camp Hinds this summer will be able to work with the military personnel for certain merit badges. For the environmental sciences badge, the boys will see how it can be applied in the real world. Boys doing the heavy equipment merit badge will have many different types of trucks and movers to observe. 

During the camp season, the work will change from larger projects to smaller, building type projects, so as to not affect the Scouts, said Tarbox. 

As far as the Town of Raymond is concerned, “We are really integral to one another,” said executive assistant in code enforcement Danielle Loring. The impact has been minimal to the surrounding neighbors, Loring said. The town hasn’t received any complaints.

“Raymond has been wonderful to work with the whole time,” said Tarbox. The Boy Scouts have invited the public and the selectboard to come see what’s happening and they were asked for input on everything being done at Camp Hinds, Tarbox said. 

When the town was told that the military would be living at Camp Hinds for the next five years, with help from Tarbox, they decided to apply to have projects done in Raymond. The best part of the IRT program is that the town or camp as the case may be only pays for the supplies for the project. The military provides the equipment and personnel. 

The camp is closed to the public at this time, but community members can contact Martin or the Pine Tree Council of the Boys Scouts for private tours.

Where the new shooting ranges will be.

Cadigan Parking Lot

Former archery range

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