Edward N. Cole Canoe Base

From ScoutWiki, For Everyone, Everywhere involved with Scouting and Guiding...
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Edward N. Cole Canoe Base or Cole Canoe Base (also called CCB for short) is a camp reservation for the Detroit Area Council / Boy Scouts of America in Alger, Michigan. This camp has been a nationally accredited "A" Rated Camp since 1980. The camp was originally called the Rifle River Scout Canoe Base.

A view of Lake Bosco from the top of the Rifle Range hill

Location and Geography

Cole Canoe Base is located in Ogemaw County, Michigan, one mile west of Skidway Lake, Michigan, and roughly 10 miles south of West Branch, Michigan.


Cole Canoe Base has a history dating back to the mid-late 1960s first starting out as a rack of canoes sending people out to canoe on the Rifle River. In its nearly 40 year history of offering a summer camp program, it has grown to be an outstanding camp thanks to the boy scout troops that come here from across the region and the outstanding staff that work at Cole Canoe Base all summer and year round. The camp also provides experienced scouters with several canoe trips. Among these are the 50 mile, 70 mile, and as of 2005, the 100 mile.

Year What Happened
1964 Purchased from Bob and Wilma Foresman
1967 Purchased two 40-acre parcels from Consumers Power Company
1968 Purchased river frontage at base camp from Consumers Power Company. Built five campsites: Deer Run, Lucky Portage, Silver Creek, Broken Paddle, and Maple Flats
1969 First summer camp at what was then called Rifle River Scout Canoe Base
1974 Shop Built
1975 Ranger's house built
1976 Suspension bridge erected across the Rifle River and shower building built by Bolivian Peace Corps Training Units. Bosco Lake developed and filled by Army Corps of Engineers
1977 Camp renamed Edward N. COLE CANOE BASE by funds donated by Edward Nicholas Cole, President of General Motors Corp and Detroit Area Council President in 1962. Service building and Bosco Lake completed.
1978 Tenth anniversary of Cole Canoe Base
1979 Health lodge and rifle range built
1979 Memorial flag pole at service building dedicated
1983 First full service season of summer camp, also first 100% national inspection. Pavilion built and dedicated by Troop 191 DAC Thunderbird District
1985 Front entrance built and dedicated to Ken Poulson
1986 Purchased 640 acres from the Greenwood Sportsman Club by the Martins and Slaviks
1987 Dedication of the Don and Olive Martin Wilderness property
1987 Dedication of the Joseph F. Slavik and Stephen F Slavik, Sr. Wilderness property
1988 Twentieth anniversary of Cole Canoe Base
1992 Claycomb Eco-Con Pavilion opened and dedicated in July
1993 Eco-Con learning center opened and vehicle storage building built
1994 New Broken Paddle Campsite opened. New shotgun range opened. Rifle range pavilion built and archery range remodeled
1995 Otto F. Kamman shotgun range built and dedicated
1996 Big pavilion addition, new trading post and new crafts pavilion built. Waterfront Borich flagpole dedication. Bosco lake boating area pavilion built
1997 Cosgro campfire arena dedicated. Lucky Portage, Aspen, and Broken Paddle campsites adopted. Michael Wearn Chapel opened and dedicated. New latrines in Broken Paddle and High Banks
1998 Thirtieth anniversary of COLE CANOE BASE. Electrical power to Eco-Con and second Eco-Con learning center opened. Deer Run, Maple Flats, and Silver Creek campsites adopted. New gateway built, rifle river campsite enlarged and adopted. Archery pavilion built. Sporting clays event added at the Otto F. Kamman Shotgun Facility
1999 Electrical power to Eco-Con, Rifle Range, and Cosgro Campfire Arena. Rifle Range rebuilt and expanded
2000 New shower building built and opened. New latrines in Rapids, Archery/Rifle River and North landing
2001 New Latrine built in Aspen. Two new campsites developed south of Silver Creek
2002 New outpost campsite, Whispering Pines developed west of the Rifle River. OKPIK cold weather camp developed. New latrine at Deadwood/Deadwood Oaks
2003 Kamman Administration Center remodeled and dedicated. New latrine in Maple Flats. Crafts and Outdoor Skills pavilions expanded. Bouldering Wall built in Climbing Area. Flagpole added to Rifle Range. Jacket and Paddle Building Rebuilt
2004 Main Pavilion expanded and dedicated to John Dumas. Cosgro Campfire Arena expanded. New latrine at Lucky Portage. In September Vehicle Storage Building burns down and is rebuilt
2005 August 2005 the Climbing Wall was constructed in the climbing/bouldering area. Main span of swimming dock replaced. Inside of Kamman Center is refurbished. Old refrigeration unit is removed and a larger unit is built onto the Kamman Center. Rapids campsite adopted.
2006 First arm of swimming dock replaced. Overhang added to Rifle Range. Aspen campsite expanded to the east. Deer Run and White Pines latrines torn down and rebuilt
2007 N / A

Summer Program

Traditionally held from Mid-June through Mid-August (8 weeks), Cole offers an awesome program that keeps units returning time and time again.

File:DSC 0544.JPG
A picture from a closing flag retreat of "The A Team" saluting the flag prior to lowering the flag. This was taken on June 2006

Opening and Closing Flag Retreats

At the beginning and end of every week. Every troop gets to witness a real flag ceremony that the U.S. Military does. A command is given and the scouts salute the flags. This is followed by a single cannon shot and finally, each flag is presented.

Flags Normally Presented

  • File:Flag of USA.svg United States flag
  • Flag of Michigan.svg Michigan state flag
  • Detroit Area Council Flag
  • Cole Canoe Base Flag
  • Normally if a troop comes to CCB from out-of-state their state flag will be flown along with the above listed flags.

Beast Feast

Beast Feast is an tradition held every Monday in the Outdoor Skills program area. Every troop brings in a dish for every one to try out. The main thing about this festivity is waiting in line.

Crafts on Fire

Crafts on Fire was introduced to Cole Canoe Base during Summer Camp 2006. Immediately after Beast Feast on Monday, scout travel down the camp road to the Craft Pavillion for art and craft activity that contain fire.


Vespers occur on Sunday and Tuesday during the weeks on camp. This is technically a church service held at the Michael Wearn Memorial Chapel or John Dumas Pavillion if weather permits. Many scouts and staff attend service.

Eco-Con Live

Eco Con Live is an outdoor activity that takes place Wednesday evenings at the Claycomb Ecology Conservation Center.


L.O.S.T. is an event also on Wednesday at Outdoor Skills that is subjected to Orienteering. A huge orienteering course is built within the area and scouts are given tasks to do such as putting up a tent blindfolded. This was also introduced in 2006.

Scuba and Snorkeling

Scuba and Snorkling are held at the Bosco Lake Aquatics Area. You must be an experience swimmer to be able to partipate.

Movie Night

Movie Night is an event that also falls on Wednesday. A movie that has been pre-chosen is played for scouts and scoutmasters to see. This program developed as part of a plan to host a campwide program in the event of a rainout Thursday night. Due to its popularity it was moved to a regular camp event in the summer of 2002.

Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Festival

The Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Festival is a Thursday Tradition. Down at Bosco Lake, activities such as tomahawk throw & crosscut sawing competitions occur. A rootbeer chug usually follows the lumberjack events.

Ice Cream Social

The Ice Cream Social happens immediately following the lumberjack festival. This event takes place at the Wm. Kamman Administraion Center. Scouts are able to choose from vanilla, chocolate, blue canoe (blue moon), Superman ice cream. The grand one of them all is the Scoutmaster Special. This is a mountain full of every ice cream & toppings with a cherry on top. If it is allowed, the staff would be able to throw a party for the scouts.

A View of one of the Weekly campfires from the opposite side of Bosco Lake
File:DSC 07081.JPG
A person standing in front of one of the campfires held each week during the summer camp season. The person you see is over 6' 5" tall.

River Rat Rodeo

River Rat Rodeo is Friday Festivity that happens during Midday and troops compete in water activities such as war canoe.

The Traditional Closing Campfire

The Traditional Closing Campfire is always the best celebration. All troops attend this campfire following the Closing Flag Retreat. The campfire gets bigger and greater every year. The campfire is closed with a photo slideshow of how much fun the scouts had and a wonderful fireworks display. Troops prepare for to head home the next morning.

Campsites & Cabins


Cole Canoe Base has 16 wonderful campsites including a flagpole, a fire ring and latrine. The following are campsites:

  • Aspen
  • Bridgeview
  • Broken Paddle
  • Buckhorn
  • Deadwood
  • Deadwood Oaks
  • Deer Run
  • High Banks
  • Island Rapids
  • Lucky Portage
  • Maple Flats
  • Maple Highlands
  • Rapids
  • Rifle River
  • Silver Creek
  • White Pines


The camp currently has 1 winterized cabin on the Western Region of camp or on the west side of the Rifle River. White Pines is a cabin and a campsite (not confused with White Pines campsite)

See also

External links

44°10′46″N 84°04′17″W / 44.1795°N 84.0713°W / 44.1795; -84.0713