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Carbide Camps reunion coming next month to Charleston

By Clint Thomas
The annual Carbide Camp Reunion for 2017 is scheduled for Sept. 22-24. Courtesy photo

The yearly reunion of Carbide Campers is slated for Sept. 22-24, for those who attended the Union Carbide-sponsored summer programs during the 1940s to 1980s, and their guests.

Last year’s cataclysmic floods along the Elk River curtailed a reunion at the Blue Creek site of the Carbide camps, as in years past. The camps at Blue Creek, held each summer from 1949 to the 1970s for children of Union Carbide employees in the Kanawha Valley, were known as Camp Camelot and Camp Carlisle. Both camps closed in 1982. A third Kanawha County Carbide camp, Camp Cliffside in Alum Creek along the Coal River, shuttered in the 1970s. A fourth Carbide recreational facility, Camp Brookside, was constructed in Summers County in 1947 and was rehabilitated in recent years.

This year’s reunion will observe the 35th anniversary of the closing of the camps. Carbide Camp Reunions have been held since 2002.

Festivities will kick off with a catered dinner at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, at the Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge #74, 4284 Woodrum Lane in Charleston. The dinner, which costs $20 per person, will include a cash bar, with free draft beer, karaoke, entertainment and a bonfire. Attendees can opt to leave early to camp on Blue Creek that night.

Visits to the Blue Creek campsites will be offered on Saturday, Sept. 23. A Camelot plaque ceremony is being planned, to highlight the replacement of the original plaque which went missing over the years.

“Visits are much encouraged, but at this time we are still not certain of the status of land ownership and accessibility,” Carbide Camp Reunion organizer Bob Lilley said. “The Hunting and Fishing Club building will apparently be available to us, but utilities, such as water and electricity, are likely not available. Be optimistic and plan to camp, hike, fish, wade and explore, but remember that roads are bad, cell phones likely will not work and that emergency services are not close. Bring your own gear for life on the creek -- and watch for critters and high water.”

Sunday, Sept. 24’s Carbide Reunion activities will include lunch at Shelter No. 4 of Coonskin Park in Charleston. L&R Catering will provide pulled pork, barbecued chicken, baked beans, macaroni and cheese and desserts. Soda and water will be provided, as well. The cost of the luncheon is $17 per person.

To find out more, visit carbidecamps.net and facebook.com/carbide.camps.

To make reunion reservations, contact Angela Allison at angela_allison@nps.gov., Camp Brookside at camp@swiftwatercafe.com, Dave Gardner at gardner993s@gmail.com, Bob Lilley at bob@carbidecamps.net, Barb Hicks Neddo at Valleypets@aol.com or Marty Wyatt at maw4wvu@yahoo.com.