Hiawatha Seaway Council
1943 – 2007
Harrisville, New York
This land, where Camp Portaferry is now located, is rich in history.
Originally part of the great McComb’s Purchase, many relics have been found, the most recent being two dugout canoes. In this land, moccasined feet walked, followed by the French settlers. Many moved on. One of the men who stayed was from Ireland. He acquired the land around the lake and named it Portaferry after a town in Northern Ireland located between Lake Strangford and the Irish Sea. Thus, our camp was named Camp Portaferry.
In 1921, the Jefferson-Lewis Council operated Kamp Karmargo at Lake Bonaparte. Due to an expanding scouting program, it was thought that larger and more adequate facilities were needed. On January 18, 1943, the land now known as Camp Portaferry was visited and an option to purchase was made. In May 1943 members of the Executive Board visited the area and about 200 acres was purchased.
A special Camp Development Committee was appointed in 1943. The National Engineering Service of the Boy Scouts of America visited the camp area and provided design and layout for construction of Camp Portaferry. In 1947, the purchase arrangements were completed and construction was started.
In 1951, the Finley farm, consisting of about 167 acres, located east of the original purchase, was bought. Finally in 1957, an additional 60 acres that comprised the Watson farm was purchased. Today, Camp Portaferry consists of about 450 acres of mixed forest land and a 40 acre lake.
Throughout the years, many people and organizations made Camp Portaferry possible through donations of labor, services, and facilities.
In 1983, a consolidation between the Jefferson-Lewis and Saint Lawrence Councils was completed. Camp Vigor-of-the-Woods was sold and the proceeds placed into a trust fund. The interest from the trust fund is used to supplement camping activities of the Seaway Valley Council.
In 1999 the Seaway Valley Council merged with Hiawatha Council to form the Hiawatha Seaway Council which owns and operates Camp Portaferry as the dining hall camp part of the Adirondack Scout Camps.
Camp Portaferry was retired from service in 2007.