Clear Creek Youth Camp is apparently too popular or not popular enough. That's the problem.
The camp, on 40 acres in the Sierra Nevada foothills west of Carson City, has traditionally been used by many local groups like the Girl Scouts and churches for retreats and other functions. It's a one-of-a-kind facility operated by the state, with great value to the capital city.
Maintenance of the 15 buildings is costly, and little has been done to improve them in the 30 years Clear Creek Youth Camp has been inexistence. It could use $500,000 to $3 million worth of fixing up.
One of the solutions has been long-term leasing, to organizations such as Right of Passage, which uses some of the facilities every day. That helps keep the money flowing to operate the camp, although the state still is putting up about 40 percent of the annual $200,000 budget.
But the more groups with long-term leases, the less availability to local organizations for a weekend. A snowboarding camp, for example, is now tying up much of the facility.
State officials are proposing that responsibility for Clear Creek Youth Camp be transferred from the Buildings and Grounds Division to the State Parks Division. The idea is that the Parks Division would be better suited to schedule and market the camp.
More use will mean more revenue. It will also mean higher expenses and a greater need to spend money to improve the buildings.
Scheduling, it seems to us, is a matter that shouldn't be too hard to resolve. Rates may have to be raised, though, if the current cash flow (at $6 a night for youth) isn't enough.
Carson City should be the No. 1 advocate for the camp, urging the Legislature to come up with enough money to keep the camp functioning. We may get the most benefit from it, but state officials would be foolish to let such a unique facility slide into further disrepair.
Keep in mind, though, that if the state is picking up a big share of the tab, then Clear Creek Youth Camp must be available to all.