Camp Roanoke is a facility owned and operated by the Roanoke County Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department. It opened in 1925 as Camp Lucius Johnson as originally intended for just boys. Camp Roanoke closed in the late 1980s, but was later purchased by Roanoke County as part of the watershed needed to construct nearby Spring Hollow Reservoir. On Saturday, January 28, the facility hosted an owl exploration event.
“Today’s purpose was kind of a hybrid learning experience about owls. We wanted to do a combination of visual and experimental learning,” Megan Williams, a Roanoke County Recreation Programmer, said. “My favorite part today was when we went out on the trail. We were walking then suddenly paused to hear owls off in the distance. To be able to just feel that silent level of excitement through all of the participants was a really awesome moment.” Added local native Roxana Navab: ““I heard about this event because I was on a hike and a friend of mine brought it to my attention. I learned a lot of new things today.”
At various points throughout her presentation, Elizabeth D’Imperio spoke to attendees about the calls, features and lifestyles of local owls. “I am an Environmental Educator for Roanoke County so my responsibilities consist of doing education programs for the general public as well as our summer camp programs,” she said. “I think a lot of people have curiosities and events like this help satisfy them.”
Located at 6498 Dry Hollow Road in Salem, Camp Roanoke is accredited by the American Camp Association and offers something for people of all ages. Older campers can enjoy off-site excursions like rock climbing and caving while younger campers have the option of free satellite transportation. In addition to programs like Evening Owl Exploration, residential overnight summer camps from Sunday through Friday are also available. During non-summer months, facility rentals are available at Camp Roanoke. “On our website (roanokecountyparks.com) people can find a list of all our programs there,” Megan said. “”During non-summer months, we are available for facility rentals and team building opportunities.”
Since 1925, campers have participated in such outdoor activities as hiking, campfires, canoeing and much more. “We are in industry of providing recreation and leisure opportunities for folks of the Roanoke Valley,” Megan said. “We have so much to offer the community.”