The Camp Bomazeen entrance on Horse Point Road in Belgrade is seen on July 17, 2020. The camp has been up for sale for the past two years, and a recent court ruling says proceeds from any such sale cannot go toward paying off the Scouting organization’s debt and must instead support Scouting and camping in the region. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

BELGRADE — Proceeds from the sale of Camp Bomazeen must go toward central Maine Boy Scouts of America and purposes related to camping, not toward paying down the organization’s debt, according to a recent court ruling.

The key ruling by Maine Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy also denies a motion by a group of former campers to block any sale of the 100-acre camp land.

The Office of the Maine Attorney General, which has authority to enforce terms of public charities, filed suit against the nonprofit Pine Tree Council, arguing that the proposed sale proceeds’ use toward paying off debt was not intended as a possibility in the official deed of the 77-year-old camp. The AG’s office won the filing in the Aug. 3 ruling, while a group of former campers, The Bomazeen Old Timers, saw their motion denied to prohibit the sale altogether.

Camp Bomazeen was placed on the market in 2020 by the Pine Tree Council of the Boy Scouts of America in an attempt to use the proceeds to pay off the organization’s debts. The organization found itself in dire financial straits amid declining numbers of Scouts across the area, and an emergency task force report prepared for the council recommended selling the land within months, at auction if necessary.

Although the trustees have the ability to sell the land, the court ruled that if Pine Tree Council sold it to pay off its debts, it would violate the terms of the property deed. The council argued the language around camping was related specifically to Camp Bomazeen, but the court ruled that as long as the charitable trust exists, so do its purposes intended for youth camping. The sprawling camp off Horse Point Road, with a beachfront on Great Pond, has hosted Scouts ages 7-20 since 1945.

“The Court finds that (Pine Tree Council’s) proposed use of the proceeds to benefit the PTC itself and pay off unrelated debts is inconsistent with the trust purposes,” the document read. “If PTC sells the property, the proceeds must not only be used for the Boy Scouts of America in general, but also for ‘camping purposes … and especially for the troops and members of the Boy Scouts of America in the central part of the State of Maine.'”


As a result, Murphy ruled, Camp Bomazeen “remains in trust” and “the proposed use of the sale proceeds would violate the terms of that Trust.”

In a statement Wednesday, the Pine Tree Council said it disagrees with the Superior Court’s ruling and interpretation of the property deed.

“The Pine Tree Council believes that it holds full title to Camp Bomazeen and that it can use the proceeds from any sale of the camp for the use and benefit of the Boy Scouts of America generally,” wrote Eric Wycoff, legal counsel for Pine Tree Council, adding that the council would appeal the decision to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

The deed refers to a charitable trust that was created by George Averill in 1944.

Boy Scouts fold the United States flag during a 2016 session at Camp Bomazeen in Belgrade. Kennebec Journal file

Averill wrote in the deed that the land — at the time, 330 acres along Great Pond in Belgrade — “must be at all times available for camping purposes to the troops and members of the Boy Scouts of America and especially for the troops and members of the Boy Scouts of America in the central part of the State of Maine.”

The Averill Deed also included that if a trustee sold the land upon permission from the Boy Scouts of America, the land would have to be used “for the purposes set forth and under the conditions set forth in this Trust Indenture.”


There are currently no living trustees for the camp and no replacements were chosen after their deaths. Therefore, the Pine Tree Council argued the trust be “terminated by operation” due to there being no trustees to decide what to do.

Meanwhile, the plaintiff-intervenors in the case, The Bomazeen Old Timers, argued that a trustee should be chosen. Bruce Rueger and Scott Adams, representing the Old Timers group, wanted a trustee to be appointed.

“We feel the Attorney General (win) was in the right direction in protecting the land and the financial steps of the camp,” Rueger, a professor at Colby College in Waterville and a longtime Scouting leader, said in response to the court ruling. “But we are not in a place where I feel positive about it.”

Rueger said he and Adams were figuring out their next steps in the case. The Attorney General’s office declined further comment.

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