BYU-I provides no further details
After almost 40 years of operation, BYU-Idaho will close the Badger Creek Outdoor Learning Center. An official closing date has yet to be determined.
Brett Crandall, BYU-I media relation’s manager, provided little details on Monday for reasons surrounding the closure and added that he was given little notice or reason himself from school leadership.
“Last week I was notified,” said Crandall of the school’s decision to close the facility. “The decision was made to simplify campus programs. We will be releasing more information later.”
The Rexburg campus has not released an official news release on the closure, but the school’s newspaper did write an article about the closure on Oct. 13.
The BYU-I Scroll reported no exact date for the closer and quoted Crandall saying this decision was, “an effort to strategically reduce and simplify campus programs.”
Jason Thornton, Manager for the Outdoor Learning Center said to the Teton Valley News on Monday that all he knows was that operations will cease at the Tetonia center and that there is an executive council meeting today to further discuss the future of the facility.
He said losing the Outdoor Learning Center is difficult given the emotional connections so many have to the facility, but that taking Badger Creek off his plate would allow him to focus on other areas on campus.
“Badger Creek is a special place,” said Thornton. “It’s hard to compare, but we do have an outdoor activities center on campus and we would like to create that special experience here.”
The BYU-Idaho Outdoor Learning Center at Badger Creek has offered a variety of outdoor adventures, including ropes courses, horseback riding, a slip ‘n slide, zip-lining, and cross-country skiing and sledding in the winter.
The property was purchased in 1979, and its purpose was to be a place where students could learn leadership skills and grow. In a press released issued in 2015, BYU-I stated that at one point, the Outdoor Learning Center was on the chopping block because it was not financially viable.
But over the years the center expanded its program offerings and invested into the overall facilities.
The facility is mainly for BYU-I students, but it also offers services for community members, including Boy Scout troops, non-campus wards, non-BYU-I companies, families and Adventure for Youth (AFY) groups and local public school trips.
The staff ranges from about 12 people in the fall and winter to about 35 in the spring. Thornton said that the two families currently working at the Center have found a “place to land.”