A Walk Through Time- Camp O’Rear

Camp O’Rear, a Boy Scout camp located in Jasper, is owned and operated by the Black Warrior Council as a primitive-style facility. It covers an area of approximately 90 acres, on which lies a portion of Blackwater Creek. Most of the area is heavily wooded, and a high cliff rises above the creek at various points.Rufus O’Rear, the original owner of the land, built several structures in the early 1900s, including a tunnel, a rock house, and a dance hall. The tunnel was never completed due to an accident at the site.

A hundred or so years ago, wolf hunting was a popular sport in this area. The red wolf (or brush wolf) commonly roamed the Walker County countryside during the late 1800s and early 1900s and was larger and more robust that the common coyote. It roamed in small groups and fed on wild animals such as sheep, goats, pigs, and sometimes, calves. The last known wolf hunt in Walker County occurred circa 1910, on the banks of Blackwater, where Camp O’Rear now stands. The red wolf was extirpated from Alabama in the early 1920s.

When O’Rear died in 1924, he left the land to the Boy Scouts of America in his will. O’Rear had played a prominent role in Walker County, serving as mayor of Jasper and earning money from mining and land investments. Later on, a local Scoutmaster named Ed Hamilton asked the Frisco Railroad to donate a train bell for the dining hall. The request was granted, and the camp received a new bell to call the young hungry boys to dinner.

Many local organizations have been a great help in maintaining the scouting program. When the swinging bridge was washed away by a high stream, the National Guard built a new bridge with materials supplied by the Jasper Rotary Club. 78

 

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