Six weeks before opening day, 2011, massive landslides threatened our precious shoreline…
The power of the great mother of them all, Mother Nature, tested our wherewithal on both sides of the lake. Nearly simultaneous landslides occurred at both Dudley and Kiniya during April and May. A record snowfall coupled with a sudden burst of higher than normal spring temperatures and heavy rainfall, all combined to bring our great Lake Champlain to the highest levels in recorded history.
On April 27th, part of the shoreline behind Cub Alley and MacLean gave way. Adirondack, Poly, Burr, Danielson and Ross Cabins teetered on the edge of the bank. Dudley’s maintenance crew immediately moved into place and joined Sheehan Construction Company in securing the foundation of all five cabins for future use. On May 14th, Camp Kiniya lost a portion of its waterfront known as Senior Beach due to a landslide that wiped out the swim area for the summer. Further, overwhelming flooding destroyed the two Junior Beach staff cabins forcing Marnie and her team to act immediately to assure housing for eight staff members.
Just when we thought it was over, Mother Nature tested us one last time at one of the loveliest parts of the property, the Dudley Chapel. Above the Chapel where the LeGrange Garden sits, a landslide took out a portion of the bank. Thankfully, this did not threaten the Chapel, despite its proximity.We like to think that the thousands of Dudleyites who have come before us were keen to fight back the great storms threatening this sacred land.
Matt, Marnie and their team went into full recovery mode immediately hiring construction teams and plotting a series of calculated plans to assure that not only would we be ready for opening day, but that this opening day, June 21, 2011, was going to be one for the ages! Three cabins (two staff and one camper cabin) were moved from the peak of the landslide bank at Kiniya into a safe position within the first 24 hours. Four Yurts were purchased to replace the five cabins offline at Dudley and two staff cabins at Kiniya. They were used for staff housing at Kiniya and as Senior cabins at Dudley as Cub Alley was shifted over to the Plebes and Plebes to the Juniors, etc. Next, the upstairs of the Avery Boathouse, Dudley’s most historic building and one that went through a tremendous shoreline restoration project just six years earlier, became a Plebe Division cabin . . . and one that was cherished by Leader #17525 Peter “Shorty” Treiber and his charges. Suddenly, it was opening day, and both campuses, thanks to the outstanding efforts of our maintenance teams, several construction crews, the outpouring of alums and families who drove to Colchester and Westport to help, were not only ready to welcome 1,000 young men and women, but were safe, secure and looking terrific.
What’s next? As the fall passes and the leaves falling turn to snowflakes, Sheehan Construction continues around the clock on a full shoreline stabilization and restoration project. As you can see from the photos, a temporary road has been built along a portion of Lake Champlain and, unfortunately, we’ve had to part with many of our trees that have been with us since the beginning. However a full reforestation project will kick into high gear in the spring, and opportunities will exist for you to sponsor a collection of trees in honor of a family member or someone special to you at Dudley or Kiniya. On top of that, when we open the gates for the summer of 2012, all five cabins in Westport will be back in full force and looking better than ever!
At Kiniya, the plan is to have two new beachfront cabins for staff next summer. Marnie, Facilities Director, #20298 Mike D’Amico, and their team are in discussion with engineers regarding the stabilization of the Senior Beach shoreline, with full intention of getting the Senior Beach swim area back for next summer.
We have much ahead of us and remain confident that the Dudley community and the strong maintenance teams will insure that each step we take will be with much thought and care for our institutions. It should be made clear that we were able to push “go” on this project ASAP thanks to the due diligence and forethought of our Board of Mangers. Years earlier, the Board decided to put aside money in a depreciation fund for “a rainy day.” This effort was critical in Dudley’s ability to immediately react, getting our stabilization crews on the project.
How can you help? We will keep you abreast as this major projects moves along. Gifts made to the Shoreline Restoration Project Fund will go directly to our largest construction project in 127 years. The hope is to fully restore the depreciation fund for future projects, as it has proved to be critically important. Information on purchasing a group of trees, helping restore areas of the shoreline and naming opportunities will follow in subsequent mailings. Please contact Development Director, #15093 Ryan Joyce, [email protected], on how to get involved and make an impact. Thank you for your continued support