Logan County History: Camp Myeerah


By: Mary E. Mortimer

Camp Myeerah was established in February 1959 when the Fort Amanda Girl Scout Council, as they were then known, purchased 265 acres of land on State Route 540 for $21,500. The land for the new campsite, located across the road from Zane Caverns, was purchased from Paul Robson, Martin Yore, and George Dague.

The Girl Scouts held an essay contest for the naming of the new camp with Judy Ann Thomlinson of Lima and Alida Raabe, of Delphos both presenting the name “Myeerah”. They chose the name Myeerah in honor of the Wyandot Princess, Myeerah, who lived near Zanesfield. Myeerah and her husband Issac Zane, devoted their lives to bringing peace and goodwill to everyone.

A grand dedication ceremony was held in June 1959. Over 200 Girl Scouts, Brownies, and Mariner Scouts in their brown, green, and blue uniforms formed a semi-circle for the ceremonies. Highlights of the ceremony included tree planting by the Lima and Elida Girl Scouts and the Scouts reading their essays. That same year, the Lima Sertoma Club built the Nova Shelter.

Jane Krites, who was a Girl Scout at Camp Myeerah and later became the CEO of Appleseed Ridge Council, shared her memories of attending the camp:
“Some of my most memorable Girl Scout times center around the frequent camping trips we made to Camp Myeerah in Logan County. The camp was primitive, beautiful, and full of adventure. Our days were spent hiking the trails, discovering treasures in the streams and shale beds, and doing camp crafts. It seemed that it always took a lot of time to fix our meals and make our campsite comfortable for a few days of living in the out of doors.

There were no toilets or water at the camp when we first went to Myeerah. That meant we brought our own water and dug our own latrines. These experiences happened during the late 1950s and into the 1960s. Life was wonderful at Myeerah, and we absorbed the wonders of nature.

The real highlight of any camping trip to Myeerah was the nightly campfires. These were made ever so special because we were always joined by a gentleman who lived on land that eventually became part of the camp. He was affectionately named “Grandpa Yore” by all the Girl Scouts who learned to know and love him. His wife joined our campfire sometimes, but not always.

Grandpa Yore was an exciting man who always had new tales to tell us about the land, early settlers, and the native Indians who once called Myeerah their home. He was able, through his animated storytelling, to make history come alive for us. He instilled in us a real love and respect for our natural world and our country’s history. I believe he was the first person to give us lessons on accepting diversity and respecting everyone. There were many nights, after we were all in our tents, that we went to sleep dreaming about the past and looking forward to another campfire with Grandpa Yore.

It was very sad when Grandpa Yore died, but we knew he would always be looking down on us and challenging us to be “Good Scouts”. I remember with pride being part of the Girl Scout Honor Guard at his funeral.”

Since a good supply of water was needed for the camp, a well was drilled, however, the water they found was black, sulfurous, and non-potable. The second attempt at a well was successful, but in drilling below the water level, they drilled into a cavern. Had they continued, and made the hole larger, they could have had their own underground entrance to Zane Caverns. A third well was drilled which supplied a good water supply.

In 1961 or 1962, the Fort Amanda Council and the Tri-Ridge Council merged to form the Appleseed Ridge Council. In 1964, more land was purchased bringing the total campsite acreage to 435 acres. Also at that time, the service road and electricity were completed at the camp allowing a larger number of girls to camp and explore the beautiful grounds. Other camp projects during the 1960s and 1970s included purchasing more land, constructing a water distribution system, building a troop house (lodge), and digging a lake and pond.

Starting in 1980, the Tri-Moraine Audubon Society began using Camp Myeerah for their Environment Education Weekend. The Tri-Moraine Audubon Society has the following statement on their website:

“In 2014, through the efforts of TMAS, the Trust for Public Land, and the Bellefontaine Parks and Recreation Department, Camp Myeerah was purchased from the Girl Scouts (now part of the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio) with funds from the Clean Ohio fund. It is now owned and operated by the Bellefontaine Parks & Recreation Department and is operated under the guidelines of a conservation easement held by the Tri-Moraine Audubon Society.

The camp was renamed Myeerah Nature Preserve. Habitat restoration is ongoing. The US Fish & Wildlife Service, Tri-Moraine Audubon Society, and Pheasants Forever have teamed up to make numerous improvements to the habitat including eradicating fields of invasive autumn olive and honeysuckle; planting prairie habitat; planting pollinator plots for butterflies and constructing small wetland areas.”

The Myeerah Nature Preserve is located at 7405 State Route 540, Bellefontaine, and is open from dusk to dawn. The site offers shelter houses, lodges, hiking, fishing, bird watching, and other outdoor recreation opportunities.

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