Baloo's Bugle

June Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 14, Issue 11
July 2008 Theme

Theme: H20hhh!
Webelos: Aquanaut & Geologist
Tiger Cub
Achievement 2


Thanks to Scouter Jim from Bountiful, Utah, who prepares this section of Baloo for us each month.  You can reach him at or through the link to write Baloo on   CD

Roundtable Prayer

CS Roundtable Planning Guide

Thank you for the rocks, the wind, the water, and the woods.  Help us as we learn to take better care of your gifts. AMEN

Water and Scouting

Scouter Jim, Bountiful UT

Most of the Scout Camps I attended as a youth, were involved in someway with water, great or small, lakes, rivers, or streams, we spent part of our time near of on the water. 

My first camp, as a new Scout, was a winter camp; on a small stream know as Mill Creek in Mueller Park Canyon, north of Salt Lake City, Utah.  From this small stream, I filled my canteen for drinking water and took the water I used to cook the first meals I had ever cooked over a campfire.

My first weeklong summer camp was at the Great Salt Lake Council’s Bear Lake Aquatics camp near the Utah-Idaho border.  We spent a week, swimming, boating, and playing in the crystal blue waters of the Bear Lake, and looking for the Bear Lake Monster.  (See story to follow.)

West of the town where I was raised is the Great Salt Lake.  In 1971, the Great Salt Lake Council held a Conservation Camporee on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake. Antelope Island is now a state park with its own herd of Buffalo.  We spent the weekend hauling rocks, boy to boy, in a bucket brigade all the way up the mountain to the top of Buffalo Point, building a trail that is still in use today. 

Farmington Bay Bird Refuge is a freshwater bay on the southeast side of the Great Salt Lake.  It is home to millions of migrating shorebirds and waterfowl, and in the winter, nesting grounds for migrating Bald Eagles.  In 1970, the father of one of the scouts in my local troop worked for Utah Fish and Game, now Utah Wildlife Resources, in waterfowl management.  He recruited our large troop of Scouts to do a Saturday cleanup of the Farmington Bay Bird Refuge.  We worked hard all day long filling a full sized dump truck with the trash that had floated, blown, or been carried into the bird refuge.  As a reward for our hard work, the next winter, we were able to camp in one of the State owned cabins used by the rangers at Flaming Gorge Reservoir on the Utah-Wyoming border and learn to ice fish.  We exchanged a day of hard work cleaning up a bird refuse, for a fun day of fishing on hard water.  Not a bad trade.

Growing up in the second driest state in the nation, I am very aware of water and the issues related to it.  In the west, battles have been raged over water for as long as anyone can remember and they rage on now.  Las Vegas is trying to take valuable underground water from a valley of farmers and ranchers in Utah and Nevada.  Environmentalists are trying to get the government to drain Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona Border to expose Glen Canyon.  A group known as Utah Rivers Council is pushing to protect many rivers of Utah from dams and development.  In one of America’s driest states, these are fighting words and arousing concerns on both sides.  But rather than fighting over water, it would be better to give something back.

July would be a great month to take our Scouts outside and do a water conservation project.  Clean up a river bank, or a lake front, and enjoy a cookout next to the water, and maybe even wet a hook.  There are many activities we can do with water, but why not give a little back in the process.  The times we gave back as youths are some of the times we remember most in our lives.  Not only does it help someone else, it makes us all feel better about ourselves and the contributions we are making to our world.

The Bear Lake Monster

The story was written in 1868 by Joseph C. Rich and was sent to the Deseret News Newspaper. It goes as follow:

"The Indians have a tradition concerning a strange, serpent-like creature inhabiting the waters of Bear Lake, which they say carried off some of their braves many moons ago. Since then, they will not sleep close to the lake. Neither will they swim in it, nor let their squaws and papooses bathe in it.

Now, it seems this water devil, as the Indians called it, has again made an appearance. A number of our white settlers declare they have seen it with their own eyes. This Bear Lake Monster, they now call it, is causing a great deal of excitement up here. S. M. Johnson at South Eden was riding along near the Lake the other day when he saw something a number of yards out in the lake which he thought was the body of a man. He waited for the waves to wash it in, but to his surprise, found the water washed over it without causing it to move. Then he saw it had a head and neck like some strange animal. On each side of the head were ears, or bunches the size of a pint cup. He concluded the body must be touching the bottom of the lake. By this time, however, Johnson seems to have been leaving the place so rapidly he failed to observe other details.

The next day three women and a man saw a monstrous animal in the lake near the same place, but this time it was swimming at an incredible speed. According to their statement, it was moving faster than a horse could run.

On Sunday last, N. C. Davis and Allen Davis of St. Charles; Thomas Sleight and James Collings of Paris, with six women were returning from Fish Haven when about midway from the latter place to St. Charles, their attention was suddenly attracted to a peculiar motion of waves on the water about three miles distant. The lake was not rough, only a little disturbed by the wind. Mr. Sleight ways he distinctly saw the sides of a very large animal that he would suppose to be not less than 90 feet in length. Mr. Davis doesn't think he was any part of the body, but is positive it must not have been less than forty feet in length, judging by the waves it rolled up on both sides of it as it swam, and the wave it left in the rear. It was going south, and all agreed it swam with a speed almost incredible to their senses. Mr. Davis says he never saw a locomotive travel faster, and thinks it made a mile a minute. In a few minutes after the discovery of the first, a second followed in its wake, but seemed much smaller, appearing to Mr. Sleight about the size of a horse. A larger one followed this, and so on until before disappearing, made a sudden turn to the west a short distance, then back to its former track. At this turn Mr. Sleight says he could distinctly see it was of a brown color. They could judge somewhat of the speed by observing known distances on the opposite side of the lake; and all agree that the velocity with which these monsters propelled themselves, was astounding. They represent the waves rolling up on each side as about three feet high. This is substantially their statement as they told me. Messengers Davis and Sleight are prominent men, well known in the country, and all of them are reliable persons, whose veracity is undoubted. I have no doubt they would be willing to make affidavits to their statements.

Was it fish, flesh. or serpent? Amphibious, or just a big fib, or what is it? I give up, but live in hopes of some day seeing it.

The Deseret News ran the story July 31, 1868. Great excitement followed. A news staff member during the next month quizzed many Bear Lake people and found hardly a person who doubted it.

However, the inevitable skeptics did appear on the scene.

The Indians had taken a great deal of interest in stories of the monster and claimed that their ancestors told them about a monster. They were telling some pretty good-sized stories about the creatures.

In 1874, a traveler named John Goodman came through the Bear Lake Valley. He described an Indian legend about two lovers whom, upon being pursued by some of their fellow tribesmen, plunged into the lake and were changed by the Great Spirit into two large serpents. However, this is just a legend.

The description of the Monster was the following: A creature with a brown-colored body, somewhat bigger in circumference than a man, anywhere from 40 to 200 feet long. Its head was shaped like a walrus without tusks or like an alligator's, and the eyes were very large and about a foot apart. It had ears like bunches, about the size of a pint cup. It had an unknown number of legs, approximately eighteen inches long, and it was awkward on land, but swam with a serpent-like motion at a speed of at least sixty miles an hour. No one ever described the back part of the animal since the head and forepart was all that was ever seen. The rest was always under water.

Make believe? No one knows for sure. Come on up to Bear Lake and find out for yourself.


Quotations contain the wisdom of the ages, and are a great source of inspiration for Cubmaster’s minutes, material for an advancement ceremony or an insightful addition to a Pack Meeting program cover

Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.  Jacques Cousteau (1910-1997)

Water is fundamental for life and health. The human right to water is indispensable for leading a healthy life in human dignity. It is a pre-requisite to the realization of all other human rights.
The United Nations Committee on Economic, Cultural and Social RightsEnvironment News Service, 27 Nov 02 

From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free. Jacques Cousteau (1910-1997), Time, 28 March 1960  

Clean water is not an expenditure of Federal funds; clean water is an investment in the future of our country.

Bud Shuster, U.S. Representative, quoted in The Washington Post, 1/9/87 *  

Rivers are roads which move, and which carry us whither we desire to go.  Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), “Thoughts on Mind and Style,” Pensées, 1660

But we have not used our waters well. Our major rivers are defiled by noxious debris. Pollutants from cities and industries kill the fish in our streams. Many waterways are covered with oil slicks and contain growths of algae that destroy productive life and make the water unfit for recreation. "Polluted Water—No Swimming" has become a familiar sign on too many beaches and rivers. A lake that has served many generations of men now can be destroyed by man in less than one generation.  Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) 36th U.S. President, Special Message to Congress, "To Renew a Nation" 8 March 1968  

No one has the right to use America's rivers and America's Waterways that belong to all the people as a sewer. The banks of a river may belong to one man or one industry or one State, but the waters which flow between the banks should belong to all the people.   Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) 36th U.S. President, signing the 1965 Clean Water Act  

My soul is full of longing
  For the secret of the Sea,
And the heart of the great ocean
  Sends a thrilling pulse through me.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), The Secret of the Sea  

The face of the water, in time, became a wonderful book- a book that was a dead language to the uneducated passenger, but which told its mind to me without reserve, delivering its most cherished secrets as clearly as if it uttered them with a voice. And it was not a book to be read once and thrown aside, for it had a new story to tell every day.   Mark Twain a.k.a. Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910)  

A river seems a magic thing. A magic, moving, living part of the very earth itself.  Laura Gilpin, The Rio Grande, 1949  

Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.

The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk.
The rain makes running pools in the gutter.
The rain plays a little sleep-song on our roof at night--
And I love the rain.
Langston Hughes (1902-1967), April Rain Song, 1921  

Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.  John Updike, Self-Consciousness: Memoirs, 1989  

The sea-shore is a sort of neutral ground, a most advantageous point from which to contemplate the world....There is naked Nature, inhumanly sincere, wasting no thought on man, nibbling at the cliffy shore where gulls wheel amid the spray.   Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), Cape Cod, 1865

Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean—roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin—his control
Stops with the shore
Lord Byron (1788-1824), "Solitude," Childe Harold's Pilgrimage  

The frog does not
Drink up
The pond in which
He lives.
American Indian proverb  quoted in Water Wasteland by David Zwick & Marcy Benstock, 1971


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