Ensuring Property Maintenance if Camp Remains Closed

As COVID-19 continues to spread, many camps have already decided not to run traditional camp programs this summer. Even without traditional programs running, however, camp property will still need to be maintained and secured. Preventing unauthorized access to camp is critical, as well as routine maintenance. Below are some things to keep in mind if your camp will be mostly vacant for the season:

  • If possible, have a staff member live on-site. If you do this, it’s important to perform regular check-ins with the staff member(s) who are living there.
  • If someone is not living on-site, create a schedule for routine check-ins of the facilities.
    • At minimum, check-ins on the property should occur at least weekly and the times should vary throughout the week.
    • Weekly check-ins should include a walk through of the property in order to ensure that all items are still secured. Utility systems should also be checked.
  • Consider increasing signage regarding private property and no trespassing.
  • Add additional security measures if possible (cameras, alarms or other remote monitoring systems.)
  • Communicate with local authorities that the camp property will be vacant as they may be able to do additional drive-by checks.
  • If you don’t have one already, develop a plan to manage visitors as well as a plan for trespassers.
  • If the property is accessible by hikers, bikers or hunters, develop a plan for how you will manage that.
    • Will your camp allow this with permission?
    • If you do allow it, what is the process to manage this?
    • It is recommended to enforce strict guidelines and waivers if you are allowing people on your property.
  • Secure any and all equipment and vehicles throughout camp.
  • If the waterfront won’t be used, remove docks and lock away all boating equipment.
  • Ensure that any high ropes and climbing walls are blocked off.
    • Remove the holds at the bottom of the climbing wall or place a plywood cover to prevent use.
    • Remove and lock up all challenge course equipment (ladders, ropes, etc.)

If your camp is closed for the summer, you may have more time to complete maintenance on your camp property. Maintenance can be broken up into three categories: routine, small projects and large capital projects.

  • Routine maintenance—This includes any inspections that are normally completed on a schedule. For example, electrical, fire and chimneys typically have routine maintenance. Even though camp isn’t running, don’t skip an inspection or not maintain equipment. Some things to consider are:
    • Kitchen equipment—include it in inspections, even if it won’t be used this summer
    • Continue lawn care and any maintenance of earthen dams
    • Continue with tree maintenance:
      • Schedule a time for an arborist or forester to inspect trees on the property
      • Prune/remove low hanging branches over cabins & other structures (minimum of 10’ above the structure)
      • Remove dead/dangerous trees
    • Regularly remove fuel load around buildings such as pine straw, leaves, branches, etc. to mitigate fire risk
    • Schedule challenge course/climbing wall inspections per normal schedule
    • Maintain pool as needed for the summer months. Ensure pool space is secure and inaccessible.
  • Small Projects—Use this time to get small, inexpensive projects completed for camp. Take this time to catch up on any small, deferred maintenance in camp.
  • Capital Projects—These projects are those big things that you’ve been planning for a long time (new cabins, dining hall, etc.) If you have sufficient funding, this could be a great time to get them done.