The camp was established in the 1920s and has been affiliated with the Methodist Church since April 1956. Wes Bunch photo.
FORT BLACKMORE — The Stoney Creek Methodist Camp near Fort Blackmore is hoping to keep its doors open for one more summer by hosting a benefit motorcycle ride fundraiser this Saturday.
The ride is scheduled to kick off at 10 a.m. in the Gate City Food Lion parking lot, with all money raised going to help the camp cover its costs, Methodist Camp manager Phillip Lane said.
Participants in the ride will be eligible to win door prizes during stops along the route, and food will be served to riders once they complete the run.
"When it comes to the bike ride, the more the merrier," Lane said. "We've got a bunch of door prizes, everything from a muzzle-loader to gift certificates and right on down. We'll sell tickets on those and then we'll have a final drawing here at the camp."
Lane said the ride will head north from Gate City to Duffield before heading to Norton. From there, the ride will travel to Coeburn before heading south to Hanging Rock. The final leg of the ride will go through Dungannon and Fort Blackmore before ending at the Methodist Camp.
Lane said the money is needed because the camp no longer receives funding from the Big Stone Gap United Methodist District or the Holston Methodist Conference.
"The camp is going to have to be self-sufficient," Lane said. "A lot of churches in the area are trying to pull together to keep it going, and with the help of fundraisers, rentals and donations, the camp will try to survive."
Lane, who has managed the camp for over decade, said the site covers approximately 70 acres along Stoney Creek and has bunkhouses, a main blockhouse, a dining hall and other facilities.
"We're trying to get it built back up," Lane said. "We've got three bunkhouses put back on the property, the dining hall has been remodeled and it's a really nice place. We just want to try and keep it going and keep it growing. It's about the only place in the area here where you can have family gathering and retreats, so it's important to the community."
Lane said the camp's pool will not be opening this year pending much needed repairs.
The camp was established in the 1920s on land donated by Lane's family and has been affiliated with the Methodist Church since April 1956.
Since that time, Lane said the camp has served churches located in Scott, Wise, Russell and Tazewell counties and church youth groups from around the country.
Lane said roughly 10 years ago the park opened up for use by non-Methodist groups.
The camps and its facilities can be rented for multiple functions throughout the summer months.
For more information on the benefit ride, or the Methodist camp, call (276) 995-1160.