HEBER CITY— When finished, the enormous and elaborate LDS Young Women/Family Camp planned on an 8,176-acre tract in Wasatch County east of Heber City will emphasize the last word in its title.

Camp.

Asked where shower facilities will be in the 351 cabins clustered through 13 primary camp sites, project manager Steve Trammell laid his pen on a map and pointed it to one of the three restrooms at each site.

"Sister Nadauld said we are not to make this a summer resort experience for our young ladies," Trammell said, speaking of Margaret D. Nadauld, general president of Young Women for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "The running water will be in the restrooms and that is where they will shower."

"The idea is to help develop the young women's outdoor skills, sense of self-reliance and fellowship. We're saying enhance yourself and your relationships in a beautiful, natural, healthy setting. Much like the activities available to boys in the BSA (Boy Scouts of America)," said church spokesman Dale Bills.

So the setting will be somewhat rustic but also high in rugged beauty, strict organization and planning to maximize the camp experiences, which are scheduled to run 10 1/2 weeks, from the time schools are out in June until the end of August.

As of now, 5,721 acres are planned for camp development, to be phased in over the next four to six years, with the first two camps scheduled for occupancy in 2002. The church will quarry another 150 acres on the west edge, carrying out one million yards of rock for road-building and to bed sewer and water pipes.

The camp will rise from an elevation of 5,500 feet at the northwest tip off 1200 South, at the entrance to the "Lower Camp" region. It will climb through rolling humpbacks of pines and aspens to an elevation of 9,909 feet just on the back side of the "Upper Camp" region.

It's breathtaking, vista-rich terrain.

"And it will be the largest of more than 100 camps we've built across the country," Bills said.

Each camp includes 27 cabins, each housing 14 campers and two counselors.

The population of roughly 450 in each camp site multiplies out to 5,850 throughout the 13 sites. Through the middle of the summer, the sites will be given over to young women ages 12 to 18. Two family-camping segments bookend the girls' sessions. Cub Scouts also will be able to use seven day-camp sites during family segments.

Girls earning "achievement recognition" may backpack with leaders to several "remote camps" throughout the property for a back-country experience. A six-acre lake on the property, Deer Valley Reservoir, will be used for canoeing and fishing. No swimming, though.

"The water coming out of those mountain springs is 43 degrees," Trammell said.

There will be two helipads for emergency medical situations, and doctors and nurses on staff.

Trammell, on a special church mission to mastermind this project, said work will begin this construction season, first improving the water-source springs and laying water and sewer pipe.

Denis Morrill, attorney for the church, said he can foresee no obstacles stalling the camp's progress.

The Wasatch County Planning Commission has signed off on development and Trammel hopes some changes made to plans have answered concerns of noise, traffic, sewer routes and fire protection by nearby residents.

Next step is a public hearing before the Wasatch County Commission April 9. Commissioners generally have been expressing support for the project.


E-MAIL: gtwyman@desnews.com