Trish Patterson, Buffalo Mountain Camp director of development, compiled the following questions and answers with Camp Director Jason Onks and Board Chair Rev. Paul Seay:
Q: We have seen the pictures and videos, and heard many stories about the Aug. 5 flood that damaged Buffalo Mountain Camp. Now that you have had some time to assess the damage, which buildings were affected?
A: We just learned from state and Washington County officials that this flood has been designated as an 800-year event, so we are very thankful that no one in the community or at camp was injured. We are also grateful that in spite of so much water causing eight different slides on the property, many camp buildings remain in good shape, including the Retreat Center, Cabin 7&8, the new Collins Pavilion, the new Pool and Bathhouse, the parsonage, the King Climbing Tower, Farm Barn, and the maintenance building.
However, several buildings were seriously impacted, including Allison Lodge, the Worship Circle, Cabins 3, 5, and 6 and the bathhouse. With 5.86 inches of rain falling in such a short time, the office suffered leaks, the small summer staff house was completely destroyed along with the camp water system, and rocks and debris covered most of the camp property. Methodist Camp Road was destroyed but this is a county road, so the Washington County Road Department is working to return it to full service.
Q: With Ramsey Creek running through the property, why did Buffalo Mountain Camp have no flood insurance?
A: Camp has Business Income Loss coverage to address the lost revenue due to the disruption of our retreat ministry. The insurance payment for Debris Removal is also helping in the recovery process. But the camp, like most in the Dry Creek community, had no flood insurance. Although the camp cabins are nestled along the creek, Allison Lodge sits high above the creek bed and had experienced no impact in previous high-water events, nor had the cabins. Adding flood insurance for the Allison area of camp would have increased the camp’s annual insurance cost by 25-30 percent. Therefore, balancing past flood risks with year-to-year budgeting challenges, the camp had not purchased flood insurance.
Q: Can Buffalo Mountain Camp still offer its Retreat Ministry this fall and winter?
A: Yes. Now that water has been restored to the Retreat Center, Buffalo Mountain Camp is awaiting approval from the Department of Environment and Conservation for using the camp’s water. Once received, we will be back open, hopefully in October, for retreats at the Retreat Center where groups can use the meeting space, rooms and full food service, as well as the King Climbing Tower and worship circle at the Retreat Center.
We are still working on the trails and upper camp area damaged by eight different mud slides, so this area will be closed until more work is completed to the assure safety of the camp’s guests. We thank all the groups that had to rearrange their retreats scheduled at Buffalo Mountain Camp in August and September. They were so understanding when we informed them of the damage.
Buffalo Mountain Camp also appreciates those who stepped in to help accommodate the groups that had to relocate. And we invite all groups to return next fall. Buffalo Mountain Camp will be ready to welcome them back!
Q: What about Summer Camp?
A: Buffalo Mountain Camp will offer a vital summer camp ministry in 2013. We are being creative in our planning, and we know that summer camp 2013 will be different as Buffalo Mountain Camp welcomes children and youth to experience the love of Christ through camping ministry in the summer of 2013. We thank everyone for your prayers, support and encouragement as we work to get Buffalo Mountain Camp ready for Summer Camp 2013.
Please visit www.buffalomountaincamp.org to follow the recovery progress, register for our e-newsletter and contribute to the recovery efforts.