The University of Michigan Board of Regents is set to vote on a proposal to rebuild Camp Davis Rocky Mountain Field Station near Jackson, Wyoming at this Thursday’s meeting. The project, estimated to cost $6.5 million, would demolish the old cabins and bathhouses and construct 30 new ones, along with a recreational facility.
Camp Davis is a summer program by the LSA Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences in which students can take introductory courses in geology, environmental science and the humanities. The facility is located near Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park, providing an outdoor classroom to incorporate into the curriculum.
The current 120-acre field station was built in 1929 and has been offering the summer courses every year since. According to the action request to rebuild the facility, the 30 new modular cabins would be 300 square feet each and include a sleeping and living area and a bathroom with a shower.
The Johnston Hall recreational facility, which was destroyed by a tree during a storm, would be replaced and feature open recreational space, restrooms and a laundry room. The proposal includes required upgrades to the electrical, water supply and septic systems as well. If approved, the funding for the project would come from LSA.
LSA freshman Kirsten Nelson, a Camp Davis participant, said while she hopes a couple of cabins are preserved for their historical value, they are definitely in need of repair.
“I heard about the possible cabin renovations before I went out west and I was glad I would get to stay in the neat old cabins,” she said. “I love ‘roughing it’ while camping but I was surprised to see that my cabin had cracks going across the entire floor with a hole in the middle. A few days I moved in, a chizzler dug himself up through this hole and into my cabin. Although the cabins did not ruin my experience by any means, I would say that it is time for an upgrade. I think a few of the old cabins should stay at Camp Davis for historical value, but I definitely support the plan for new cabins.”
Echoing Nelson’s tone of appreciation for the cabin’s rustic nature, LSA junior Kyle Doroudian said he has sentimental memories of battling the cold and wildlife in his living quarters.
“The cabins were a lot of fun unless you don’t like the cold or are afraid of mice,” he said. “I’m sure if you’d asked me this question two summers ago, I would’ve had a lot stronger feelings about it but it’s sort of a fond memory for me now, as in it was part of the experience out there.”
LSA sophomore Bailey Delehant, who will attend Camp Davis this summer, said she feels comforted knowing the University is putting effort into maintaining the quality of the camp accommodations.
“I’m really happy to see that the UM cares just as much about updating Camp Davis as it does for the Ann Arbor campus. I think the people that work there and the students that attend care about the program a lot, and it makes me happy to know that the school cares just as much.”