Camp Timeline

Wente Scout Reservation, 5401 Canyon Road, Willits, CA 95490 Golden Gate Area Council-BSA, 6601 Owens Drive, Suite 100, Pleasanton, CA 94588 | PH: 925.674.6100 email: |
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Year Date Description 1889 Carl F. Wente is born near Livermore, CA. His father is Carl H. Wente founder of Wente Wines, “the oldest continuously operating, family-owned winery in the United States” and his brothers were Ernest and Herman Wente. Carl F does not pursue the wine interests of his family, but instead goes into the banking industry at the age of 18 as a messenger. 1911 05/20 First known birth in Finney Valley when Harry Webster Ford is born to a pioneer family. 1916 June Oakland Area Council (council #21), BSA is organized. 1917 January San Francisco Council (council #51), BSA is organized. 1917 June Oakland Area Council (OAC) holds first ever summer camp (called a Training Camp) at Camp Taylor (Lagunitas, CA) in Marin County. 1917 June San Francisco Council (SFC) holds first ever summer camp (called a Training Camp) at Mill Valley, CA in Marin County. 1918 June Oakland Area Council holds Training Camp at Upper Dimond Canyon in Oakland, CA. 1918 June San Francisco Council holds Training Camp (1918-1919) at Olema, CA in Marin County, 1919 January OAC - Camp Dimond opens in Oakland as the first permanent weekend and summer camp of the Oakland Area Council. 1919 SFC - Camp Lilienthal opens at Pine Lake (Stern Grove) of San Francisco, CA as a weekend camp of the San Francisco Council. 1920 June SFC - San Francisco Council holds Training Camp (1920-1924) near Cazadero at Elim Grove, CA in Sonoma County. 1925 SFC - Camp Lilienthal closes at Pine Lake (Stern Grove). 1925 March SFC - Camp Royaneh opens near Cazadero, CA on the former Watson property as the permanent summer camp of the San Francisco Council. 1926 January OAC - Camp Dimond-O opens in Mather, CA as the Outpost camp of Camp Dimond. 1929 SFC - Camp Lilienthal opens in Fairfax, CA as a weekend and summer camp of the San Francisco Council. 1944 OAC - Rancho Los Mochos property is purchased in Livermore, CA for use as a camp of the Oakland Area Council. 1948 08/01 OAC - Camp Dimond closes in Oakland after City of Oakland condemns the property in order buy the land for two new schools, only the undeveloped Rancho Los Mochos and summer operations at Camp Dimond-O remains. A new summer camp will ultimately be needed. 1948 Ohmolt Lumber company establishes a mill in Finney Valley. 1950 Carl F. Wente is elected to the San Francisco Council Board of Directors as Finance chair. 1952 Carl F. Wente becomes President of the Bank of America after the death of L.M. Giannnini, brother of BOA Founder A.P. Giannini. 1952 Fomo Corporation purchases the Ohmolt Lumber company and mill located in Finney Valley. 1954 12/31 Carl F. Wente, receives the Silver Antelope Award. 1956 Fomo Corporation closes Ohlmolt Lumber company and mill. 1957 Camp Loomer opens in Pollock Pines, CA as an environmental camp of the Oakland Area Council. 1957 Search begins for new property to support a summer camp for the Oakland Area Council that can support 300 campers weekly. One of the requirements for the new property is an existing lake or a location where a lake can be built. 1959 Leonard Lake property in Ukiah is offered to the scouts, but the price is too high and not suitable for 300 campers. 1959 05/20 After a two year search led by Malcolm Storm, the 1,928 acre Foley Ranch in Willits becomes available. Council Properties Committee visit the site and recommend that the council move quickly to secure the property. 1959 06/26 At the Oakland Area Council Board meeting, member William Gilmore moved and Paul Ehret seconded a motion that they purchase the Foley Ranch in Willits for use as a Scout Reservation. 1959 10/12 First encampment at newest Scout Camp takes place in Willits with over 300 scouts from the 10 districts in attendance. Water for camp is provided by various springs on the property including Blackberry Springs and Pear Orchard Springs. 1960 Geologist from Berkeley visits property to take soil samples for location of dam. 1960 04/01 Carl F. Wente, Board member of the San Francisco council receives the Silver Beaver Award. 1963 Handicraft building is the first structure built at Scout Reservation. The building is used as the commissary/trading post until 1971. 1963 Davis Memorial chapel is built next the campfire area. Torn down in the 1990’s only the rock structure remains 1963 06/09 Ground breaking and dedication Ceremony is held at Willits Scout Ranch for dam construction. Walt Mclean pushes plunger to set off a large charge of dynamite at the dam site to signal the start of construction of the dam. 1963 Summer The cabins and buildings in the meadow area from the Fomo Corporation mill are torn down. Only two buildings remain, the Ranch house and a cabin near present day Staff village. Existing power poles still mark the location of these two buildings. 1963 10/31 Dam is completed at Scout Reservation, flood gates are closed, the lake slowly begins go grow 1964 02/10 Oakland Area Council and San Francisco Council merge to form the San Francisco Bay Area Council (council #28). 1964 04/12 First ever Scout Swim takes place at Willits Scout Reservation in the expanding, but not yet full lake. 1964 07/01 First summer camp is held at Willits Scout Reservation. All cooking is done in campsites on sheepherder stoves, the handicraft building is the trading post and food commissary, the archery range is in the field next to the campfire area. 1965 04/01 The lake at the Scout Reservation is now full and water is overflowing the dam for the first time due to heavy winter rains. 1965 May The waterfront Tower is constructed and dedicated 1966 12/01 Members of Mission Peak district purchase 1000 Trout for stocking at Willits Lake which are planted by the Fish and Game. 1966 Julian House becomes ranger at Willits Scout Reservation (1966–1968) 1967 Live Oak District Order of the Arrow members plant 500 trees on scout property including the Redwood Grove 1968 Jerry McDonald becomes ranger at Willits Scout Reservation (1968 – 1970) 1969 160 acres of additional land from the Mace property is purchased for $70K making the scout reservation a total of 2088 acres. The land includes the property where Camp Loomer, Gilwell field, the Archery Range and corral/barn are located. 1970 Jasper Steele becomes ranger at Willits Scout Reservation (1970-1978). 1971 02/03 Carl F. Wente, former board member of the San Francisco Council and President of the Bank of America passes away at the age of 81. Leaves a trust to the San Francisco Bay Area Council to help support camp improvements. 1971 New commissary/trading post building built at Scout Reservation. The original commissary is turned into a warehouse for 35 years until it is redesigned as the Handicraft building. 1973 Camp Lilienthal and Camp Loomer close. 1974 07/06 First hike from Scout Reservation to Fort Bragg and back by Troop 593. 1975 12/10 Properties Committee advises enlarging trading post building to provide space for 22 dinning tables, a fireplace, adding a food service wing and to rehabilitate the Old Ranch House for occupancy by the contract cooks. 1977 11/16 Meeting is held to discuss changing name of Willits Scout Reservation to Wente Scout Reservation in honor of the Carl F. Wente. 1977 Kali-Ama trail is developed by Joe Clopton and Kevin Clevenger. 1977 Lake Winawa is the official name of the Scout lake selected by a committee in 1977 and approved by the president of the board. Winawa is a Pomo Indian word for “friendly”. 1978 Al Robinson becomes ranger at Wente Scout Reservation (1978 – 2000) 1978 Old Ranch house located at the auxiliary parking area is torn down and burnt, possibly where Henry Ford was born back in 1911. 1979 05/06 Willits Scout Reservation rededicated as Wente Scout Reservation in honor of San Francisco Council board member and Bank of America President Carl F. Wente 1980 Family Camp area is constructed, the old medics cabin (remnant from the Fomo Corporation mill) is torn down. 1982 04/01 New 100,000 Gal metal water tank replaces original redwood tank. Double-wide trailer installed as Camp Directors house 1984 Logging operations at camp to thin growth of larger trees. 1.4 million board feet of lumber is cut of Douglas Fir and Ponderosa Pine. 1985 June Rock Climbing area removed of all poison oak to ready the rock for Climbing. (Jeff Peterson, cs 1984) 1985 07/06 Songs of the Wente Staff is recorded during a marathon recording session at the location of the old flag pole 1986 08/15 First year of Corral at Wente. Horses were stalled at Handicraft building during family Camp 1987 06/15 First year of horses during summer camp program 1988 Temporary pipeline is installed at Wente Lake to provide Water to the City of Willits due to the ongoing drought. 1989 Archery Range hillside is leveled to provide for a flat shooting area and installation of an eventual shade and shooting structure. 1989 10/01 Covered dining structure is built adjacent to the commissary. Commissary is enlarged and trading post is moved to admin building. Admin building no longer used as staff dining hall. 1990 Food Service is provided for the first time in the dinning hall. Some troops still elect to cook in their campsites on sheepherder stoves 1992 06/15 First year of Helmets for Horse riders due to injuries. 1993 Archery Range structure completed. 1994 Shotgun range is moved from Rifle range to its own location at Southeast end of lake 1998 Scout Lake at Wente is renamed Lake Stamos in honor of San Francisco Bay Area council Employee Nick Stamos (Scout Exec) 1998 Staff Village slowly begins the move to Family Camp Area, not fully completed until 2009. 1999 Well is sunk at top of Eagle Summit to provide new water supply for camp. 1999 06/25 Richard Palfreyman Shower house is dedicated at Wente. First individual stall, unisex shower house at Wente. 2000 Bill Heinze becomes ranger at Wente Scout Reservation (2000-2002). 2000 August Chapel on Peninsula is built during by the Zion LDS Encampment week. Replaces the original Davis Memorial Chapel next to campfire area. 2002 August New Rangers house replaces the double wide trailer that had been used since 2000 for the rangers house. 2002 Ken Pedersen becomes ranger at Wente Scout Reservation (2002 - 2006). 2003 Campfire area rebuilt to include lighting and campfire rings 2004 Mountain Biking program is introduced at Wente, pioneered by Kevin Smallman. 2005 The Lodge is built at Wente through donations by baseball player Mark Mcquire. 2006 O’Riley’s Black Powder shooting area established on south side hill of lake 2006 John Tolman becomes ranger at Wente Scout Reservation (2006 - 2012). 2007 Camp Flag Pole is moved from location between dinning hall and admin building to the current parade grounds. 2008 Dining hall is enclosed at Wente, old Madrone shower house is torn down and new Madrone shower house is built, new septic system installed, Tower rebuilt, staff cabins installed 2009 10/01 Old admin /staff building is torn down and new two-story building is erected in the same location. Unisex bathrooms are added to end of commissary building. 2010 03/13 New Admin building move-in day after permit to occupy building is signed off by Mendocino County. 2010 06/01 New campsite developed at Wente. Site 14 called Dimond-W (in honor of former camps Dimond and Dimond-O), holds 12 people. Located on hill between 12 O’clock High and Turkey’s Roost. 2011 First ever Muslim summer camp in the United States is held at Wente. 2011 Mountain Biking program is dramatically expanded at Wente due to purchase of Trail building machine. Old Camp Directors cabin (trailer) is torn down and removed from Staff area. Restroom/recreation facility is built in the family camp area, new Directors cabin is built and the old shower house in family camp is converted to a three bedroom all weather cabin. 2012 02/01 Ranger John Tolman at Wente steps down and moves to Utah after getting married. 2012 Mike Hannah becomes ranger at Wente Scout Reservation (2012 - Present). 2013 03/10 AquaMog company removes tulles on first phase of tulle removal 2013 Permanent Directors Cabin built in the family camp area 2013 Old Directors trailer in the family camp area is removed 2014 Log Cabin #4 is built in staff area 2016 06/01 Wente hosts first mountain biking competition from Bike Monkey. 2016 Original 8 position rifle range is torn down and a new Rifle Range is built and expanded to 16 shooting positions 2017 10/10 Camp is evacuated due to the threat from the Mendocino Complex fire. Fire makes it to within two miles of camp. 27 horses were moved down to the Willits rodeo fairgrounds 2018 11/15 Wente Scout Reservation website is relaunched. 2019 02/14 The Axe of Finbar O’Riley is discovered during forestry work near Tan Oak Cathedral 2020 04/27 San Francisco Bay Area Council, Alameda Council and Mt. Diablo-Silverado Council merge to form the Golden Gate Area Council 2020 06/01 Summer camp 2020 and weekend camping are canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic from April through October. 2020 09/01 Fires near Willits require helicopters to use the lake as water source for drops. Luckily camp is not affected. 2021 06/14 Summer camp resumes following numerous COVID precautions. However, week 7 was canceled due to an outbreak on staff. 2021 10/09 Former Trading Post Manager Brian “Hawkeye” Sommer (1981-1984) stars in “The Addams Family 2” as the voice actor of “Big Bad Ronny”.
Wente Scout Reservation Established 1959, Oakland Area Council