Arnold's Crockett Cove offers a great getaway

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Debbie Martin, the wife of Aerospace Testing Alliance (ATA) boilermaker and working foreman Joe Martin, said she is enjoying the sunshine and gentle breezes blowing off the water of Woods Reservoir on the shore of Arnold Air Force Base's newest outdoor recreation area, Crockett Cove.

She is chatting with Joey Cowan, an ATA outside machinist at the center, as they watch children and grandchildren swim nearby. ATA is the support contractor for Arnold.

"We like it out here - the deer come out every morning," she said. "I don't think I've ever seen so many in one place before."

Martin and Cowan, whose families are staying at the camp for the weekend, are surprised more people don't seem to be using the cabins, but you don't hear them complaining.

Anne Wonder also recently chose Crockett Cove as the place to 'get away from it all.' Anne's husband Frank Wonder is the flight systems group lead for investment projects for ATA at Arnold.

She decided it was the perfect place to celebrate her brother, Jamey Pratt's homecoming from the Peace Corps in Bulgaria. The get together turned into a family reunion of sorts and also provided an opportunity to celebrate her brother, Bob Ptatt's upcoming 50th birthday.

"We like to camp as a family and had been debating for months which state park to go to," she said. "I had read about Crockett Cove and found out that it was opening when we'd all be together.

"Everyone thought it sounded like a great place to be, especially since we'd have the whole facility to ourselves and therefore wouldn't bother other campers with any noise we might make. We rented all five cabins. It was also close to home and with all the other activities going on was the easiest option."

Wonder and her family members stayed at Crockett Cove for two nights and made the most of the experience.

"Everyone wished we had more time to stay longer," she said. "My brothers brought over my dad's 1956 Owens wooden cabin cruiser that used to be parked at Morris Ferry for years."

Some members of her family brought kayaks and she said the swim area and dock were in constant use for fishing and watching water activities. Other members brought bicycles and explored the area around the camp. She said they enjoyed having the pavilion nearby for food and games. They picked blackberries and found shady areas to read and relax.

"Everyone had a great time and we wanted to keep the place secret for our use," she commented. "Of course, I've been telling everyone how great the place is and what fun we had there. It's a great place close to home to 'get away from it all.' We'll definitely be renting the cabins again."

The feedback from Wonder, Martin and Cowan is typical of what acting director of Arnold's Community Activities Center Charles Evans has been hearing from campers since Crockett Cove officially opened in June.

Work on re-establishing the camping area, which includes bathroom facilities, five cedar cabins, a volleyball sand court, refurbished beach and pier, began a year ago, according to Evans.

The approximately 37-acre tract of land, part of the former Camp Tannassie, a Girl Scout camp for more than 45 years, became available after the camp's sponsors (the Girl Scouts) decided to let their lease expire two years ago.

Evans, and a two-man crew, Robbie Evans and Jacky Payne, have been kept busy over the past year assembling the cabins, fixing the pier, getting the electrical hookups and plumbing done, trimming trees and doing a considerable amount of landscaping and maintenance. One of their next projects will be putting sand on the site's beach.

They have already begun the next phase of improving Crockett Cove - renovating the former Girl Scout lodge, an enclosed structure with a large fireplace, meeting room and kitchen. Evans said if all goes according to plan, they hope to add five or six more cabins to the area, all of which have a heating and air conditioning unit, microwave and refrigerators with small freezers.

The cabins do not have running water, but each cabin has a water spigot nearby and the handicap-accessible bathroom facilities, including showers which are about 50 yards away.

The cabins include two units with two rooms and three with one room. Each cabin has a front porch with swing, grill outside and picnic table. Linens are not provided; campers must bring their own sheets, pillow cases and etc. A broom, dust pan, mop and bucket are provided for cleaning purposes.

Reservations may be made 45 days in advance for active duty military and 30 days in advance for ATA, retired military, National Guard, Reserve military, Arnold Community Council members, AEDC Alliance employees, Department of Defense employees and others as approved by the center commander. The cost is $50 per night for a two-room cabin, $40 per night for a one-room cabin.

For additional information or to place reservations, call the Community Activities Center at (931) 454-6084.