Bear Creek Scout Camp has been the place of thousands of happy memories for Scouters since 1957. The vast history of this place is evident in the naturally crafted geological formations, geodes tucked into the landscape and brilliantly colored cliffs in the hill country. Its social history whispers to us from the distant past when arrowheads are discovered along the river’s edge to the current era with decades of patches on display in the camp’s headquarters.
It is because of its value to Scouting and youth, that so many volunteers dedicate their free time to preserving the camp. Rangers, together with the Bear Creek’s Scouts and loyal volunteers, have spent countless hours on the grounds as a labor of love, doing their very best to make Bear Creek Scout Camp a destination of adventure for thousands of Scouts who visit each year.
As of 2020, they have a new partner to elevate the environment there. They are known at Los Quatro Hombres. Some have commonly referred to the group as the Hunters, because of the lease agreement they hold with the Alamo Area Council, but after learning more about their vision and efforts, a more appropriate description would be conservationists – ones who focus on game management; an area of support often overlooked at scouting camps.
While many improvements offer an opportunity for proud before and after pictures, like the stage area, or privacy upgrades to the bathhouses, the sign of Los Quatro Hombres can be a bit less obvious…unless someone leaks the details. Being a humble group, as most Scouters are, the 4-man team has been somewhat reluctant to announce their good deeds – which are many.
The Alamo Area Council, for years, has offered short-term leases of the land during the Camp’s off-season to hunters not necessarily affiliated with the Council. As a standard practice, owners (the Alamo Area Council) are expected to provide leaseholders with certain amenities and guarantees in exchange for the fees charged, which means no matter if the land is leased for one weekend or many, the upkeep for hunting and maintenance needs to be consistently maintained. This was costly, both in terms of manhours and money. Sadly, there were few fruits for the effort seen by the camp or the Council as a whole.
Entering into an agreement with Los Quatro Hombres has proven to be more advantageous to Bear Creek Scout Camp than most of our members know:
- The members of Los Quatro Hombres are all registered BSA members and have current Youth Protection Training – they meet the standard like any other adult leader of the BSA.
- With careful planning and communication, the Alamo Area Council will continue to provide council-level activities and camping nights to units who wish to make reservations there.
- It has freed up reservation staff to be available 100% to Scouters vs. providing service to groups of hunters not affiliated with Scouting.
- There is not a ‘revolving door’ of guests on the premises. Los Quatro Hombres are the only ones to hold a lease on the property.
- Los Quatro Hombres provide security monitoring of undeveloped areas of camp – something the camp has not had in the past. The council is better able to respond to trespassers and poachers on BCSC.
- Because they are exploring the camp, they have identified situations in need of immediate attention or repair, such as broken water lines, well, and septic issues. This helps our Council address things in a timely manner and avoid larger issues if gone undetected.
- Los Quatro Hombres have taken it upon themselves to take care of downed trees, clean up service areas (the collection of parts and pieces near the service road), and make improvements to the camp facilities – and did so without financial assistance from the Council.
- As part of their lease agreement, Los Quatro Hombres provides labor and materials for special projects agreed upon each year.
- Acting as Bear Creek Scout Camp’s game wardens, the care that Los Quatro Hombres provides to wildlife is more consistent and better managed than anything the Alamo Area Council has been able to sustain in the past.
- Los Quatro Hombres have taken several hogs – an invasive species that both destroys the native habitat of Texas wildlife and damages the camp’s trails and facilities.
- The lease agreement with Los Quatro Hombres yields a higher financial return than the collective leases of the past.
- Unlike leaseholders of the past whose sole purpose was to hunt and take from Bear Creek Scout Camp, Los Quatro Hombres have yet to hunt for sport but have taken extreme measures to restore the native game to the area – from initiating plans to restore the devastated deer population, to generously stocking six different fish species in the Bear Creek Lagoon. (100, 6-8” Catfish; 100, 2-3” Bass; 6lbs of fathead minnows; 100 bluegill; 20, 6” hybrid bluegill; and 100 sun perch.)
The ultimate goal of Los Quatro Hombres is to make BCSC a better place for Scouting and create a more sustainable environment for wildlife – not just to hunt, as leaseholders have done in the past. Throughout the year, we will be updating Scouters on the activities of Los Quatro Hombres game managers while at Bear Creek Scout Camp through articles on our website and social media. We are grateful for the lease agreement and relationship we have with Los Quatro Hombres, so when you see one of these guys up at Bear Creek, introduce yourself and say hi. They’d love to meet you!