Tucked away at the end of a cul-de-sac on Rippowam Road is Sturges Park. Rich in history, the original “Girl Scout Camp Catoonah” (circa 1950) was sold by the Girl Scouts nearly two decades ago and, thanks to community-minded Ridgefielders, preserved from development and donated to the Town of Ridgefield.
“The origins of the property were donations from two long time Ridgefield families. One of those families, the Sturges Family, had put a deed restriction on their land donation,” explains Phil Kearns, Chairman of the Ridgefield Parks & Recreation Commission. “It was John Sturges, son of the original donors who worked to save the property from development,” adds Kearns.
Under the umbrella of Ridgefield Parks & Recreation, the park’s campsites, a picnic pavilion, lean-tos, wooded trails, and sprawling open space have been long-enjoyed by scouts, community residents, and outdoor enthusiasts. The park also features handmade picnic tables and an outdoor fire pit, thanks to the handiwork of the Ridgefield Boy Scouts, many of whom use the park as a backdrop for their Eagle Projects.
Today, Sturges Park adds another chapter to the Ridgefield history books by unveiling an authentic log cabin. “This cabin has been almost 17 years in the planning and the result of many, many years of volunteer efforts along with the support of the Park and Recreation department,” says Kearns.
“There was a void in town for an area specifically designed for scout groups and to accommodate a campout event,” he adds.
The cabin is a product of Southland Log Homes with materials and building expertise donated by Don and Jim Sturges of Sturges Brothers, Inc. “Don and Jim Sturges of Sturges Brothers Inc have donated significant labor and materials toward the project and have been supervision the construction,” says Kearns.
Once completed, the log cabin interior will include picnic tables and bunk beds for overnight campers. It will be available, free of charge, by local non-profit organizations that support the youth of Ridgefield.
In harmony with the natural landscape, the 2,000 square foot fully-accessible cabin features an eight foot covered porch on three sides. “It is a classic log home type of structure made exclusively of logs joined together,” says Kearns. For those with physical disabilities, access to the cabin is made possible through handicap parking, wheelchair accessible trails, and a ramp connecting to the cabin.
Want to be part of Ridgefield history? Kearns and Sturges are accepting monetary donations to add finishing touches to the cabin. In addition to electrical work, and lumber for interior furnishings, the funds will be used for a wood stove to heat the cabin.
You are invited to send donations to “Friends of the Ridgefield Parks and Recreation”, a non profit organization, that is responsible for important Town projects including Spray Bay, Governor Park, and the playground at Ballard Park.
Non Profit groups interested in booking the space for events or meetings can contact Jane Byrnes at Ridgefield Parks and Recreation.
Images by Amber Boudeur