The Klondike Derby, the regional winter camporee organized annually by the local Boy Scouts of America district, was literally a blowout.
There was some rain but no wind as most of the participating scout troops arrived at Camp Thunderbird on Jan. 26. But as scheduled activities got under way on Jan. 27, conditions became blustery.
Sustained winds of about 30 mph with gusts up to 48 mph were recorded in nearby Shelton between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.
It soon became apparent that conditions had become unsafe. Around midmorning, with input from the BSA council representative and Thunderbird’s resident ranger, leaders decided to evacuate the camp.
“We made sure that we followed the Boy Scout Guide to Safe Scouting and our hazardous weather training to ensure that all scouts and adults made it home safe,” said Barb Dyer, Klondike committee chairwoman.
Several large trees and branches dropped on or near scout campsites during the storm, but no injuries were reported.
The “all clear” was given for the scouts and leaders to return Sunday morning to retrieve their belongings and break down their campsites.
Rebecca Ledford, an adult leader with Troop 9100 of Hoquiam, shared a photo of her son’s tent, which had been impaled by a heavy fallen branch – right where his pillow was.
“It was the right decision to cancel Klondike,” she said. “While it’s disappointing that the boys couldn’t have the fun-filled weekend that was planned, I’m eternally grateful that safety is first with the BSA.”