Proposed Turnpike Expansion To Impact Girl Scout's 'Camp Cookieland'

Monday, March 14th 2016, 2:10 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

The Girl Scouts are rallying the troops after learning the proposed turnpike will impact their camp Cookieland.

Members and girl scouts met over the weekend to discuss their next steps.

Camp Cookieland is on 107 acres east of Oklahoma City. The Girl Scouts bought the land way back in 1948 using cookie money and personal funds.  

The proposed turnpike would run along the west end of the camp. This weekend, council leadership broke the news to Girl Scouts, volunteers and parents.

“They’re obviously concerned about noise and light pollution, they’re concerned about environmental factors as well,”  said Shannon Evers, CEO of Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma.

She said members also raised concerns about future development around the turnpike and how that would further impact the quality of the outdoor experience for the girls. 

The proposed route would allow the turnpike authority to avoid a nearby mobile home park. Officials say they have been working with Girl Scout leadership to find a solution.

"At the request of the Girl Scouts, we are in right-of-way discussions at this time. We will find a solution that is fair and just for the Girl Scouts,” said OTA Interim Director Neal McCaleb.  

But Evers said it won't be up to her or her staff what happens next to the camp.  

“We are definitely turning it into a learning experience for the girls," she said.

Girl Scouts will meet with Turnpike Authority executives and engineers at a summit at the end of March and make a decision on the best route for them and Camp Cookieland.

“There’s no better way to teach girls leadership then to throw them in and give them an opportunity to develop a real world scenario and learn right alongside with the adults,” said Evers. 

Construction on the turnpike would not begin until late 2017 at the earliest.  

The council said their 2016 summer camps will not be impacted by the OTA's proposed turnpike expansion and camp registration is open now.