Boy Scouts of America celebrates 60 years of camping at Ben Delatour Scout Ranch

By Kelly Moll,

Development Director for the Longs Peak Council, Boy Scouts of America

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The Longs Peak Council, Boy Scouts of America celebrates 60 years of serving youth through summer camp and year-round programs at Ben Delatour Scout Ranch.  Established in 1958, the Longs Peak Council, Boy Scouts of America purchased the Pinecroft Ranch from George Weaver. The Scouts raised $10,000 for the down payment for the 1,500-acre ranch.  In November 1958, Mr. Ben Delatour donated $65,000 to allow the Scouts to buy the ranch that now bears his name. In 1959, the Ben Delatour Scout Ranch was open for the first season of operating a summer camp.

Ben Delatour, a retired banker and philanthropist, came with his family to Fort Collins in 1945.  Although, Mr. Delatour had never been a Boy Scout said, “I had some spare money at the time and thought it would be a good investment to donate it to the Boy Scouts.”

The Ben Delatour Scout Ranch currently is a 3,200-acre property and is utilized as an outdoor laboratory.  Programs are designed to develop respect for our natural environment along with leadership and survival skills that children will carry with for their lifetime.  Programs include rock climbing, rappelling, hiking, shooting sports, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, high and low ropes courses, woodcarving, leather work, basketry, robotics, nature, astronomy, environmental science, fish and wildlife management, forestry, geology, mammal study, soil and water conservation, first aid, emergency preparedness, fire safety, space exploration, orienteering, pioneering, wilderness survival, Indian lore, and of course camping.

“We are very fortunate to have Ben Delatour Scout Ranch as our outdoor laboratory.    It serves many purposes but most importantly provides youth and volunteers the experience of a lifetime.  Through discovery and exploring in the outdoors it provides an opportunity to unplug from our digital world by allowing us to connect with each other and nature.  We look forward to many more years in serving youth through these exciting outdoor programs at Ben Delatour Scout Ranch,” said John L. Coleman, Jr., Scout Executive and CEO for the Longs Peak Council, Boy Scouts of America.

In 1999, the Longs Peak Council, Boy Scouts of America opened the Jack Nicol Cub Scout Camp on the Ben Delatour Scout Ranch property, designed for families with younger Scouts to participate in overnight and day programs.  The camp was constructed for families to do things together. They can participate in the outdoors together through experiential learning. 

Jack Nicol Cub Scout Camp was named in honor of Mr. Jack Nicol of Fort Collins.  Mr. Nicol, a real estate agent and community philanthropist donated the Nicol Building in downtown Fort Collins which was sold to help fund the Jack Nicol Cub Scout Camp in 1999.

In 2011, a land preservation agreement between the Longs Peak Council and the United States Forest Service and in partnership with Colorado State Forest Service forever protects the Ben Delatour Scout Ranch from the threat of development.  This was made possible with assistance from the federal Forest Legacy program and Great Outdoors Colorado, the land agreement secures one of the last, large forested properties in the Cache la Poudre watershed and enables the Ben Delatour Scout Ranch to serve as an outdoor classroom for youth.

The Longs Peak Council, Boy Scouts of America serves over 9,700 young men and women in northern Colorado, southern Wyoming and western Nebraska.  

To learn more about the Longs Peak Council:  www.longspeakbsa.org

Ben Delatour Scout Ranch Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BenDelatourScoutRanchBoyScouts/

To join Scouting:  www.BeAScout.org