Smith Johnson

Smith Johnson

MAry Taber

Mary Taber

Our Mission

The mission of the Smith Johnson Scout Reservation is to maintain and improve the "Scout Cabin" and property according to its bylaws, to provide a safe, nurturing environment for all Pawling Scouts.

Our Vision

We support Smith Johnson's vision of a site for outdoor activities with campsites, hiking trails, pond, open fields, and a cabin for daily scout meetings.

The Scout Cabin History

In the 1950's, a need for a place for Pawling Scouts to meet was acknowledged. A committee was formed, spearheaded by Smith Johnson, and $4600 was raised by the Pawling Rotary, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and the West Mountain Mission. Land was donated by Mary Taber and construction began for a simple cement-block cabin with a fireplace. Later, thanks to a successful fundraising campaign it was possible to install plumbing, heating, flooring, and bathrooms. The Scout Cabin was dedicated on November 26, 1955 and a cabin warming ceremony was held on December 17.

In 1980, 17½ acres were added to the original property creating a nature preserve with trails, a pond, and wetlands. Scouts use this wonderful property for camping, outdoor skill building, and nature appreciation. 1980 is also the year that the property became a Not-for-Profit Corporation known as the Smith Johnson Scout Reservation Inc. and is under the care of a volunteer Board.

By 1991, many years of use had taken their toll. Repairs and improvements were generously donated by many Pawling businesses and the Rotary Club. New windows and doors, a new well, and a new heating system were installed. The grounds also received attention in the form of grading, fill, blacktop, and lighting.

Currently, the Cabin is used by many Pawling Scouts every month. It is a beautiful, convenient location, close to home, yet far enough to allow Scouts to grow and thrive. Many local scouts have their meetings at the Cabin, experience their first overnight here, and have the opportunity to practice a variety of outdoor skills.

Since the 1990s, the bathrooms and electric has been upgraded, a UV disinfection water system has been installed, as well as new floor tiles, new appliances, tables, cabinets, storage units and painting, as well as other improvements made to meet safety requirements of the Dutchess County Department of Health.

Unfortunately, the cabin strains to meet the needs of the scouts it serves. This unique property is dependent on community support to cover growing expenses for heat, insurance, property maintenance, supplies, and capital improvements. It is not owned by the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts of America, but exists only for their use. The annual Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser income contributes some to the operating expenses, but additional income is critical for survival. Improvements are sorely needed. The most pressing improvement at this time is to install a septic drainage field to avoid pumping the currently enclosed tank twice a year, adding to the yearly expenses.