We are ending Orcas Summer Camp at Camp Moran on Orcas Island. A number of factors were part of that decision:
- In March 2022, Washington State Parks ended the seniority reservation system that allowed us to book the first weekend in August for so many years. Instead, we could only apply for a reservation one year in advance of the requested date, and our request had no higher priority than anyone else.
- State Parks instituted a mandatory gap day between one group and the next. The net effect was that we could not reserve space at Camp Moran until Sunday August 6th 2023. Camp could have been from Sunday through the following Wednesday in 2023, but we declined.
- Camp Moran had also changed their rules. Starting in 2023, they would no longer allow any tenting. We had been granted a waiver in 2022 and previous years for our group because of our long term past good behavior. However, other groups abused this privilege and the camp ranger revoked all exemptions.
We depended on tenting to take the pressure off the number of campers per cabin. Camp Moran cabins are large, holding either 12 or 14 campers per cabin. We felt that forcing all campers into cabins when COVID is still a ongoing risk was not an acceptable choice.
- The private lake access that we enjoyed for many years was turned into public lake access, and the canoes were removed. To be able to use the beach, State Parks suggested getting to the beach early in the day and stake out a little section of the beach for yourself. Sigh.
- Virginia and Marlin cannot sustain the effort it took to purchase, truck, and prepare nine meals for 115 campers. We investigated using a caterer, but the only interested caterer we found was on San Juan Island, and the logistics and cost made that untenable.
We investigated other locations and the most promising was the Millersylvania Retreat Center south of Olympia. But, after much consideration, we realized that this would be starting a new camp in a new location and much that had made Orcas Summer Camp special to us would be gone. We decided we needed instead to retire after our long successful run at Camp Moran.
We will greatly miss being with so many wonderful community members at Orcas Summer Camp. You are what made this camp so beloved.