October 24, 2008
Oswego County Welcomes Visitors to Camp Zerbe
A new hiking trail, designed by the Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District, was blazed through the woods at Camp Zerbe this fall. The project was funded by a grant from Entergy Nuclear.
WILLIAMSTOWN -- Travellers along State Route 104 between Mexico and Williamstown will find a hidden treasure at Oswego County's Nature Park at Camp Zerbe. The 540-acre park adjacent to the Happy Valley Wildlife Management Area features a variety of resources that make it ideal for nature-related programs, group activities or a leisurely afternoon outing.
Oswego County purchased the facility in 1991 from the Syracuse Boys' Club, who operated a recreational camp there for many years in the mid-1900s.
“Camp Zerbe is indeed a rich treasure for the residents of Oswego County,” said Kathleen Fenlon, Executive Director of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, which oversees the park. “The large open spaces, acres of forested land, beautiful view of Lake Lorraine and modern facilities offer something for everyone.”
The park includes the William H. Britton Nature Interpretive Center which holds displays about the area's geology and birds, plants and animals; the Patrick “Paco” Malone Meeting Center; an open-air pavilion with large outdoor grill, electrical hookup and water service; restroom and washroom facilities; a basketball court, tennis court and several large group areas for baseball, soccer, and games. Several nature trails wind through forested areas and along the shore of Lake Lorraine, a natural kettlehole lake.
The park is open daily from dawn to dusk. Registration is required to reserve use of a building or meeting space. Registration is not needed for individual activities such as hiking.
“Patrons familiar with Camp Zerbe will notice some recent improvements,” said Fenlon. “A new trail has been blazed and groomed. The trail was designed by the Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District and made possible through a grant from Entergy Nuclear. A new fire pit was installed to allow for a safe place for groups to hold campfire sing-a-longs and marshmallow roasts.”
In addition, the Paco Malone building was upgraded with a children's indoor play center and relaxation area. A tetherball pole and several seating benches add to the facility. Future plans include a canoe program on the lake. Fenlon asks that anyone with information about used canoes in good condition contact Camp Zerbe's caretaker at 298-2007.
Fenlon said Camp Zerbe is an ideal setting to hold large events for groups such as schools, scouts, churches, families and businesses from Oswego County. Rentals and reservations are available year-round. Winter usage is available with limited facilities.
Charges for use depend on the type of group and length of stay. Organized youth groups may have their rental fees waived in exchange for community service projects at the site. Reservations are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Clean-up and proper supervision of the group is provided by the group's organizers.
Teachers, youth group leaders, business owners and families who wish to use the facility or schedule an event may do so by contacting the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau at 349-3451 or 1-800-596-3200 ext 3451. Additional information may be found on the Oswego County Web site at http://www.oswegocounty.com/youth/CZerbe/Zerbe.html.
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