Located 13 miles from Custer, Medicine Mountain Boy Scout camp attracts thousands of scouts from all across the country. But camp staff worry, with pine beetles closing in on all sides of the property, the camp could look very different next year, unless they take action now.
For Boy Scout Caleb Tisher, civilization is a distant dream when he's at Medicine Mountain.
"Trees make the experience complete," said Tisher.
But it's those trees, and nearly 8 million more in the Black Hills that are under threat from the mountain pine beetle.
"Forests that are normally healthy, even under severe beetle attack, are under really heavy attack," said Frank Carroll, Forest Management Consultant.
"We have a lot of dead bug trees around us, but all those dead bug trees contain bugs. And those bugs are going to migrate onto camp property and infect our trees," said Samuel Brice, Vice President of Facilities with the Black Hills Area Council.
With 600 legacy trees on the camp grounds in immediate danger of infestation, and camp staff are struggling to raise funds for preventative spraying.
"It's growing exponentially, faster than we can control it. We're doing what we can do slow it, thinning the trees, but its taking over pretty fast," said Duane Bouta, Camp Director.
Forest experts say, the loss of these trees would be especially devastating.
"If the trees weren't there, it would be a lot warmer, no shade. Nothing to hold the dirt down when it rained," said Tisher.
"These trees and everything they represent are unforgettable, indelible, and irreplaceable," said Carroll.
The Boy Scouts and the Black Hills Area Council are asking the public's help to collect roughly $2400 to spray the endangered trees on the area. They say time is of the essence.
To contribute, please contact (605) 342-2824.