GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Although registration for Camp Chowenwaw’s next historical walking tour is full, the public interest is encouraging to park officials that residents admire or want to learn about the 86-year-old camp.
Camp Chowenwaw Park is tucked to the side of U.S. 17 just south of the Black Creek Marina, and drivers must pass through a new housing development to reach it. The camp has an abundance of treehouses and rentable cabins, in addition to trails, and a new pier and kayak launch.
The hour-long walk covers the park’s museum, cabins and the Big Cabin, which is usually rented for weddings. The camp’s education and volunteer coordinator, Liza McCain, said the public walks began in August.
McCain said 75 people came to the first hike and the next history hike was limited to 25 in September. There wasn’t a limit on the November hike at first, but registration was capped at 140 people Monday.
“People find the history and information we provide very interesting,” McCain said. “It’s a lot of stuff they didn’t know before.”
The meeting place for the walk is the Historic Girl Scout Museum. Museum-goers can learn about Girl Scouts founder Juliette Low, from Savannah, Georgia, who sought to combine healthy activities and citizenship for children.
Most of Camp Chowenwaw’s labor and materials originated from Clay County: clay from nearby clay pits, yellow and longleaf pine for the cabins and shingles handmade from cypress. The Reconstruction Finance Corporation, an arm of the New Deal, also assisted with the project.
The Girl Scouts ran the camp from 1933 to 2005. It was purchased by the county in 2006.
McCain said the aim of the walks was for residents to grasp a fascinating part of the county’s history.
“We want them to take away some of the history in Clay County and see the buildings we have here,” McCain. “Not a lot of people are familiar with it.”
The next historical walking tour is Feb. 15.