It was on October 25, 1968, when then president W. D. Wampler of the Alabama-Mississippi Conference located in Meridian, Mississippi, signed the contract leasing 51.5 acres of land on beautiful Lake Martin from the Alabama Power Company. This was the culmination of years of planning and dreaming of having a camp for youth centrally located to their constituents. Thus, when the opportunity arose, the Conference and its constituents stepped out in faith signing the year-by-year lease for up to ten years, in order to make their hopes a reality.
Over the years, constituents of the Gulf States Conference (GSC) have inquired as to the status of our relationship with Alabama Power in relation to our lease with them. While doing research for this article, it had come as a surprise to realize that the first contract of Camp Alamisco was for just ten years. Since then, the Alabama-Mississippi Conference, now GSC, has signed three other leasing contracts (1978, 1988, 2000) in which the last contract (2000) is for a 30-year duration ending March 31, 2030. In the recent past, constituents have been timid about spending money on renovations at Camp Alamisco, for they worried that if they invested money in the camp, all could be for naught if Alabama Power were to decide not to renew our lease. While these are valid points, the reality of such a thing happening is remote.
While most of us in the Gulf States Conference are aware that we lease land from Alabama Power, one of the things we are less aware of is the particulars of the lease. While we lease the land from Alabama Power, Alabama Power is restricted as to who can lease the land that we are currently on because of the FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) license they have with the federal government. This license is required for Alabama Power to operate and maintain their hydroelectric dam and the associated lands (aka Project Lands) on Lake Martin.
In December of 2015, Alabama Power received a new 30 year license with FERC to operate the Martin Dam Project. Within this license, Alabama Power has set aside certain lands, which include the lands Camp Alamisco leases, for quasi-public uses. Alabama Power’s FERC-approved Shoreline Management Plan, defines Quasi-Public project lands as follows:
(Quasi-Public) lands are generally owned by Alabama Power and are leased to non-profit groups to provide a natural, outdoor, recreational setting for the enjoyment of said groups. These areas provide an enriched outdoor experience that contributes to the objectives of Licensee approved groups such as scouts, youth organizations, service clubs, and educational groups. Organizations interested in the use of these lands are required to submit detailed plans for facilities they propose to construct and lease, along with details of how the proposed facilities would be maintained by the organization on a long-term basis. Development of these lands is generally subject to approval by FERC through the process outlined in (Alabama Power’s Shoreline Management Plan).
The lands leased to Camp Alamisco fall into this category and Camp Alamisco’s uses of the lands are consistent with the uses defined in Alabama Power’s license documents.
Finally, in response to whether we should invest money into Camp Alamisco, I would like to draw your attention to those that have gone before us as examples. From the beginning, even though the camp was limited to such a short lease (10 years), it didn’t stop the constituents of our Conference from investing their time and hard-earned dollars into the property. They stepped out in faith, knowing that God is the One in control of the success of this ministry. It is because of this dedication to God’s calling for our young people that in 2018 Camp Alamisco will celebrate their 50th birthday proving that if God is in it, nothing can stop it. Our 2017 Camp schedule kicks off in June with Adventurer Camp – June 4; Junior Camp – June 11; Teen Camp – June 18; Family Camps – July 3 & July 6. Visit us at www.campalamisco.org to make your reservation. We look forward to you spending the summer with us!