Camp Gross is a youth camp, operated by the Camp
Gross Foundation. It is located 1 mile north of the Village of
Cassadaga, on New York Route 60.
The Camp itself is 60 acres of woods, wetlands and
has one of the finest waterfronts found on the Cassadaga Lake system.
Wildlife at the camp is varied and plentiful for the
nature enthusiasts. On any given day you can witness squirrels,
rabbits, raccoon, deer, turkey, ducks, muskrat, beaver and even blue
heron. Cassadaga Lake is home to a wide variety of fish including bass,
muskellunge, northern pike and a variety of pan fish.
Facilities at the Camp consist of 7 rustic cabins and
4 Adirondack style open shelters. Numerous areas also exist for tent
usage, wetlands, ponds, swimming and fishing docks.
Camp Gross is open year round for use by any
organized youth group. There are 2 picnic shelters and a modern bath
house with showers and toilets.
A registration card and drivers license must be
presented to the camp ranger at check-in.
1) Groups attending camp must provide proof of
liability insurance and completed hold-harmless agreements at least 1
week prior to use.
2) Adult supervision must be in attendance at all
times. Ratio 1:10
3) Applications must be submitted at leas t2 weeks
prior to requested use date
4) Phone reservations will be tentative until proper
paper work is submitted. Reservations are on a first come first serve
Our Mission is to provide the Youth of Chautauqua
County with an excellent, safe, handicap accessible up-to-date Camping
Facility open year round. The facilities provide opportunity for study
of nature and the environment, swimming, hiking, camping, games, sports
and fun outdoors. Youth groups using Camp Gross are enabled to advance
their goals of personal growth in knowledge, skills and attitude. The
using Youth Groups provide their own program, leadership and insurance.
All Youth Groups are welcome to come to Camp Gross. Our fees are kept
as low as possible.
We believe that Youth Camping at Camp gross started in the 1920's under
the sponsorship of the Dunkirk Rotary Club.
Camp Gross came into the possession of Robert Gross
in the late 1920's. Mr. Gross was an industrialist and Banker in
Dunkirk, New York.
In 1929, Mr. Gross gave the part of the Camp that
extends from Route 60 north to upper Cassadaga Lake to the lake Shore
Council Boy Scouts with the provision that if the Scouts' no longer
wanted the property it was to go to the Boys and Girls of Chautauqua
County. Ann Miller's family gave the balance of Camp Gross 55 acres in
the middle 1930's.
In 1987, the Scout Council decided that they no
longer wanted the Camp. A not-for-profit 501(c)(3) Corporation was set
up by interested men and women to take over the operation of Camp Gross
for the Boys and Girls of Chautauqua County. Robert Graham, Robert
Maytum, Ann Miller and August Jankowski were instrumental in this
effort. Usage in 1985 was about 3,200 camper days. A very active and
interested board was set up and has continued steady involvement to
maintain and improve Camp Gross.
In 1987, we found Camp Gross in need of many
renovations to all the facilities to bring it up to standard. In that
year the Chautauqua County Health Department and the Pomfret Building
Inspector closed the camp for health and safety violations. Our
original board immediately responded by correcting these pressing
problems and upon re-inspection, Camp Gross was reopened. The largest
building (Enoch Carlson Lodge) has a new floor, new and extended roof
covered deck all around, new doors and windows and kitchen work. Five
of our seven heated cabins are now handicap accessible. Two new
Adirondack shelters have been built along with two picnic shelters.
Five of our seven heated cabins now have both front and back doors for
safety reasons, the other two cabins have emergency exit through low
windows (none had 2 exits in 1987). All the cabins have been rewired.
Plans and some funds are in the hand to provide handicap access and
second doors for the two cabins still without these improvements. We
have built the "August Jankowski" bath house with showers and toilets
and the new Olmstead cabin by the Lake. WE have put a waterline
throughout the Camp an renovated the waterfront with a large swimming
dock (The "Doc" Forbes Dock) and a separate fishing dock (Lewis Mead
Dock). We have also built a storage barn and bought a full line of
equipment to keep the roads and open areas well maintained and open year
round. These improvements were possible only because of generous
individual, community and local foundation support and the hard work of
our volunteers and directors.
We are constantly working to increase usage by all
organized youth groups with insurance, leadership and program. Usage
was 5,384 camper days in 2001. WE have no paid employees and an
operating budget of $25,000. We are now working to replace the
Administrative Center and Ranger's Quarters and to keep Camp Gross going
Our Current Plan and Appeal:
The proposal for a new Administrative Center, Office,
Garage and Ranger's Quarters.
The purpose of the structure:
Both the present structure and the proposed structure serve Camp Gross
The Administrative Center and Ranger's Quarters are the gateway to Camp
Gross, the only part of Camp Gross visible to the casual traveler and
our window to the world. This building and its surroundings must be
most inviting and welcoming to all who pass by and especially to those
who come to stay. It serves Camp Gross office needs and is the security
base of Camp Gross. It contains the garage and shop for both the Camp
and Rangers use. A large part of the space is the home for the Ranger
and his family.
Problems with the existing structure:
The present building is over 130 years old. Many serious structural
problems have developed. The whole building tilts (sill to plate) more
than 9 inches to the west and more than 11 inches to the north. The 18
inch foundation wall has no mortar between the fieldstone and so lets
cold air and rodents in. For many years before the Camp Gross
Foundation became the owner/operator of Camp Gross there was standing
water in the dirt floor cellar more than 6 months of the year and after
each rain or snow melt. We corrected these problems several years ago
but much damage had occurred. Dangerous faults in the electrical wiring
have been corrected, however the house needs complete rewiring.
The water well and septic system have been replaced
in such a way that they can be used by the new construction. All the
existing windows are beyond repair. The texionite 1-11 siding covers
decrepit clapboards and severely weathered asphalt siding. The roof is
insulated but there is no insulation in the walls. Utility bills are
The office space is quite limited in relation to the
needs so that much of the Ranger's work must be done in the living
quarters. The living space is quite cramped for the present Ranger
family of four. Neither the kitchen nor the bathroom facilities meet
modern standards. The Garage-Shop space is very tight and cramped; when
everything is inside there is absolutely no work space.
The Directors have known of all these problems since the Foundation
became the owner/operator of Camp Gross. We have made the decision to
upgrade the Facilities used by the Campers first (with the concurrence
of the Ranger and family). Now the time has come to replace this
Over the past two years we have repeatedly discussed
our needs along with our Architect, Richard Peebles. Mr. Peebles has
drawn plans (pro-bono) to meet our requirements, the Board has approved
them and put them out to bid. We received two bids. One was rejected
because it was higher ($132,500) and because it did not include disposal
of the old house. The other bid from R and N Construction for $128,850
was accepted at our November 20, 2002 Board meeting. We have the plans
available for anyone's inspection.
These plans will provide Camp Gross with a modern,
attractive building. The Camp office space will be much larger and
there will be a bathroom adjacent for kids who have had a long drive and
can wait no longer. The garage-shop space will be nearly twice as
The Ranger's home will have a modern kitchen, two
modern baths, a much larger living room, dining room and 4 bedrooms
upstairs. It will be very attractive to all and put a bright new face
on Camp Gross roadside appearance. The directors intend to develop a
landscaping plan to make our whole Camp entry even more attractive and
welcoming. Our Contractor estimates our utility bills will be cut in
In conclusion, please let me note again that we have
been working quietly for the past tow years to raise funds for the
Administrative Center and Ranger's Quarters project. We have in hand a
little over $26,000 toward the total cost of $128,850. We think we will
be able to raise another $10,000 this coming year (2003).
As of December 1, 2003 Camp Gross has raised $66,000.
Qualifications of our organization to carry out this
Our qualifications are shown by our past performance in working with all
the Camp Improvements over the last 15 year - particularly the building
of the August Jankowski Bathhouse. We secured excellent plans, obtained
the needed funds ($100,000), kept track of the construction, volunteered
where needed and brought the project to a successful conclusion.
Location of the project: Duration of the project:
The Administrative Center, ranger's Quarters and attached Garage and
Shop will be built just behind the present house which will be torn down
when the new structure is complete.
It is our intent to start next June, 2003 and finish
in the fall. Groundbreaking will be in April, 2004.
In the short term we will be watching for the expected savings in the
Camp's utility bills. We will attempt to evaluate the public response
to Camp Gross's new look. We will ask the Ranger for the family's
response to their new quarters and to the expanded office, shop and
garage. In the long term, we expect these improvements will make the
job attractive to future Rangers and their families.
The proposal to go forward with this project has been
approved by the Board of Directors of the Camp Gross Foundation. At the
November 20, 2002 meeting specific approval was given to submit this
proposal to the Sheldon Foundation. (Approval re-affirmed 9/17/03).
New Youth Groups from the whole country will use and
enjoy Camp Gross. Usage will increase.
We ask the Foundation to consider our request. We
invite you to come to Camp Gross and tour the Camp and examine the
existing building. We will be happy to set up a mutually acceptable
President, Camp Gross Foundation, Inc.