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Scouting at Crane Division

Introduction | Camping & Hiking | General Info & Recreation | Facility Use Requests

Section I: Introduction
The Crane Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center is located in south-central Indiana on approximately 64,000 acres of rolling countryside. Originally developed as a state park or forest in the 1930s, the facility was commissioned as a Naval Ammunition Depot on 1 December 1941. The base was renamed for Commodore William Montgomery Crane, the first chief of the Navy's Bureau of Ordnance.

During World War II, Crane's mission was manufacture and storage of conventional ammunition, primarily shells for Navy guns, bombs, and pyrotechnic devices. In the more than half century since the war, Crane has evolved into a center of excellence for the engineering and development of electronics and advanced technology weapons systems. However, conventional ammunition is still made and stored on the base, and safety rules, particularly those relating to the use of fire, are strictly enforced.

Crane's outer boundary is roughly 10 miles on a side, enclosing just under 100 square miles of gently rolling, mostly wooded terrain. There are several bodies of water on the base, the largest being 800-acre Lake Greenwood. Several miles of scenic hiking trails lead from the Crane Natural Resources Center around the Lake. A Lake Greenwood Trail brochure is available from the Natural Resources Center or the Crane Public Affairs Office.

A much smaller lake is located next to Camp Oberlin, a campground located on the northwest corner of the base (see map). The camp is available at no charge to scout troops by request on a first-come, first-served basis. See Section II for additional information about reserving Camp Oberlin.

The more than 50,000 acres of woodland at Crane are home to abundant wildlife. There is a large deer herd, as well as coyotes, wild turkeys, Canada geese, great blue herons, and bald eagles. Exhibits and information about Crane wildlife can be found at the Natural Resources Center.

All scouting activities at Crane are coordinated through the Division Public Affairs Office. The Division works closely with the Hoosier Trails Council, Inc., White River Trails Boy Scout District, and the Tulip Trace Council of Girl Scouts, Inc. For additional information not contained in this guide, please contact:

Boy Scouts of America
Hoosier Trails Council
2307 East Second Street
Bloomington, IN 47401

Girl Scouts of America
Tulip Trace Council
5488 East State Road 46
Bloomington, IN 47401

Public Affairs Office
Building 1, Code 052
300 Highway 361
Crane, IN 47522-5001

Section II: Camping and Hiking Facilities
The eight camp sites at Camp Oberlin can accommodate a maximum of nine persons each. Larger groups can be accommodated at the Cranewood Picnic Grounds.

Each Camp Oberlin site has a fire pit, water faucet (potable), fire barrel, and area for tents. Fires are authorized only within the boundary of the approved fire pits. Care and extinguishing of fires will be in accordance with scout policy. Each troop is required to provide a fire water bucket, which must be placed next to the fire water barrel located next to each fire pit for the entire period a troop occupies a camp site.

As mentioned above, maps and details of hiking trails are contained in a separate brochure, "Lake Greenwood Trail." Trails with a variety of lengths and terrain are available for hiking. It is very important that hikers stay on marked trails. Due to the size of the base and the often rugged terrain, it is easy to become lost.

Crane is home to several varieties of snakes. While most are harmless, there are some poisonous varieties, such as rattlesnake, copperhead, and water moccasin. Do not touch or try to pick up any snake and always look carefully before stepping off the trail.

Hikers should stay together (no stragglers) and follow the prearranged hike plan. The daily position of hikers will be kept by Security Department patrols to ensure their safety. In case of emergency, Security officers will look for hikers at the indicated location, so it is important that the Security Department be notified of any changes to the hiking plan.

Portable toilets are provided at Camp Oberlin. However, toilet facilities do not exist on the trail or at other camp sites on the base. Latrines must be dug at least 100 feet from any road and 100 yards from any camp site. It is necessary that each hiking group come equipped with at least one entrenching tool or camp shovel. All camp sites must be left in a wilderness condition as outlined in the Scout Handbook.

Section III: General Information and Recreation
Center Entry and Exit - All campers and hikers must enter and exit via either Bloomington Gate (Gate 1) at the intersection of Indiana highways 45 and 58 or Crane Gate (Gate 4) on Indiana highway 558 of US 231. Check-in and check-out procedures are outlined in Section IV.

Security and Fire Prevention - The entire Division is patrolled by the Crane Security Department. These officers wear badges and are dressed in dark blue uniforms. They normally drive marked police vehicles with warning lights. In case of emergency, it is necessary that all orders given by these officers be obeyed at once. They protect you and the Division.

In addition, Command Duty Officers (CDO's) of the base make periodic tours. They will usually be dressed in military uniform and will identify themselves. Your encampment will be checked each evening. Your cooperation is required.

Smoking is prohibited except in designated areas.

Possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages or controlled substances is prohibited.

Fire water barrels will be filled by the Crane Fire Department. Lids should remain on the barrels when not being used.

Emergency Communications - Campers and hikers can be contacted in cases of extreme emergency by telephoning the Security Department Communications Desk at 812-854-3300. If necessary, the Security Department will deliver a message or transport the person to the Administration area of the base. The person will not be returned to the camp site or the trail; therefore, arrangements can be made to pick up the individual at the Administration area.

Lanterns and Stoves - Only electrical (battery operated) lanterns are allowed on the trail. Coleman and kerosene lanterns and stoves are not authorized. Only at Camp Oberlin are compressed gas (propane/butane) stoves and lanterns authorized.

Adult Supervision - A minimum of two leaders is required for each hiking group of up to 18 scouts. The senior leader must be 21 years of age or older. The assistants may be 18 years of age, or younger if they are life or eagle scouts. One leader or assistant is required for each nine scouts.

At least one adult leader or assistant over 21 years of age must be with the scouts for the entire hiking trip or camping period.

It will be the responsibility of the senior leader to provide a first aid kit. With parent's permission, emergency treatment will be provided at the Crane Dispensary and the patient transferred to civilian care (refer to Emergency Medical Data Form).

Firewood - Cutting of dead, fallen trees for firewood is permissible. The cutting or defacing of live tress is strictly prohibited.

Potable Water - Potable water spigots are located at each Camp Oberlin campsite. Water is not available on the hiking trail.

Food - There are no facilities to purchase food on the base. Hikers or campers should either bring sufficient food supplies for their stay, or make prior arrangements to have them delivered. The Crane Public Affairs Office should be notified in advance of such deliveries.

Swimming - Swimming is not authorized in any body of water on the base.

Fishing and Boating - Scouts and adult leaders visiting the Division are authorized to use boats and canoes on Lake Greenwood and to fish on any of Crane's streams or lakes.

Miscellaneous - Scout groups wishing to participate in activities other than camping or hiking should discuss them with the Public Affairs Office prior to visiting the Division.

Section IV: Facility Use Requests and Division Entry/Exit
An Emergency Medical Data Form, signed by a parent or guardian, is required for each visiting scout. Blank forms are available from the Crane Public Affairs Office, or may be printed from this site.

Advance arrangements for Security, Fire Prevention, and assured compliance with Scout regulations is essential. Therefore, visit requests should be submitted a minimum of two weeks in advance. Visit requests may be submitted by mail to the address in Section I above or by calling 812-854-6409.

An Indemnity Agreement (see form), signed by the troop's adult leader, must be sent to the Public Affairs Office prior to the visit. It may be mailed to the address in Section I above, or faxed to 812-854-4165.

Requests for the camping sites at Camp Oberlin will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. If capacity is reached for any particular date, no more requests will approved.

On Arrival at Crane - A list of names of all adult leaders and scouts should be given to the officer at the gate. This list will be maintained by the Security Department until the scouts' departure. An Emergency Medical Data Form for each scout, signed by parent or guardian, will also be given to the gate officer. The forms will be delivered to the Crane Dispensary and kept on file for the length of the visit.


POC: Public Affairs Specialist
Last Modified: November 02, 1998