THE FORMATION OF WITHLACOOCHEE
On November 1st,
2012, Alapaha Area
Council merged with Chehaw
Council to form South Georgia Council.
BSA policy required the lodges to merge within
six months of the Councils.
On March 9th,
2013, at the joint Immokalee
Lodge and Alapaha
Lodge Ordeal and Fellowship, the lodges voted to take the new
name of Withlacoochee and the number 98, which was the council number
of South Georgia Council. According to ALA Rick
Green, lodge number 98 was selected not only because it was
the number of the council, but also because it was an unused lodge
number at the time.
Navajo Lodge the former lodge number 98 had
been merged in 2006.
The gopher tortoise was chosen as the totem.
The lodge was named for the river, really a creek, of the same
name which runs through the South Georgia Council.
not named for the creek of the same name in
Florida or the
literal meaning of the word.
probably stems from the Muckhogean
dialect. It is a compound of
the Creek words
(big), and “chee”
“little big water.”
word combination signifies little
the Creek language. “Welako”
may also refer to a lake or a river of
The Withlacoochee River in
Georgia originates northeast of Valdosta and flows south through
Berrien, Cook, and Brooks counties in Georgia and into Florida. It
eventually merges with the Suwannee at Suwannee River State Park west
of Live Oak. The river is 115 miles (185 km) long
The lodges voted on officers for the
new Withlacoochee lodge at the 2013 SR-9 Section Conclave in April.
The election was led by Andrew Smith a member
of Alapaha Lodge and past Section SR-9 Secretary.
The new officers and lodge were effective May
The lodges attended the Conclave as the last
official acts of the separate lodges.
The first officers of Withlacoochee Lodge were
elected at the SR-9 Conclave and were: Jay Turk, Chief; Dakota
Kirkland, Vice Chief of Programs; Saul Crumpton, Vice Chief of
Administration; David Stokes, Lodge Secretary; Noah Phillips, Lodge
Dickinson was appointed the first Lodge Advisor and Rick Green
and Dale Wilson were appointed the first Associate Lodge Advisors.
Preston Parker (Chehaw District Executive) was
appointed the first Staff Advisor.
The gopher tortoise was selected as the lodge totem because it
is indigenous to the part of the state that makes up South Georgia
There are active gopher tortoise burrows at
both Camp Osborn and
The gopher tortoise is also the Georgia State reptile.
Its range includes small parts of southern
and a larger area in north and central
A gopher tortoise can live up to 60 years