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Wente Scout Reservation

Rainbow arching over Wente Scout Reservation looking towards Waterfront from Staff Camp.

Wente Timeline

YearMonth / DayDescription
1889.Carl F. Wente is born near Livermore, CA. His father is Karl H. Wente founder of Wente Wines.
191105/20First known birth in Finney Valley when Harry Webster Ford is born to a pioneer family.
1916JuneOakland Area Council (council #21), BSA is organized.
1917JanSan Francisco Council (council #51), BSA is organized.
1917JuneOakland Area Council (OAC) holds first ever summer camp (called a Training Camp) at Camp Taylor (Lagunitas, CA) in Marin County.
1917JuneSan Francisco Council (SFC) holds first ever summer camp (called a Training Camp) at Mill Valley, CA in Marin County.
1918JuneOakland Area Council holds Training Camp at Upper Dimond Canyon in Oakland, CA.
1918JuneSan Francisco Council holds Training Camp (1918-1919) at Olema, CA in Marin County,
1919JanCamp Dimond opens in Oakland as the first permanent weekend and summer camp of the Oakland Area Council.
1919.Camp Lilienthal opens at Pine Lake (Stern Grove) of San Francisco, CA as a weekend camp of the San Francisco Council.
1920JuneSan Francisco Council holds Training Camp (1920-1924) near Cazadero at Elim Grove, CA in Sonoma County.
1925.Camp Lilienthal closes at Pine Lake (Stern Grove).
1925MarchCamp Royaneh opens near Cazadero, CA on the former Watson property as the permanent summer camp of the San Francisco Council.
1926JanCamp Dimond-O opens in Mather, CA as the Outpost camp of Camp Dimond.
1929.Camp Lilienthal opens in Fairfax, CA as a weekend and summer camp of the San Francisco Council.
1944.Rancho Los Mochos property is purchased in Livermore, CA for use as a camp of the Oakland Area Council.
194808/01Camp 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.Ohlmolt 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.
195412/31Carl 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.
195905/20After 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.
195906/26At 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.
195910/12First 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.
196004/01Carl 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
196306/09Ground 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.
1963JuneThe 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.
196310/31Dam is completed at Scout Reservation, flood gates are closed, the lake slowly begins go grow
196402/10Oakland Area Council and San Francisco Council merge to form the San Francisco Bay Area Council (council #28).
196404/12First ever Scout Swim takes place at Willits Scout Reservation in the expanding, but not yet full lake.
196407/01First 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.
196504/01The lake at the Scout Reservation is now full and water is overflowing the dam for the first time due to heavy winter rains.
1965MayThe waterfront Tower is constructed and dedicated
196612/01Members 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, Gillwell field, the Archery Range and corral/barn are located.
1970.Jasper Steele becomes ranger at Willits Scout Reservation (1970-1978).
197102/03Carl 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.
197407/06First hike from Scout Reservation to Fort Bragg and back by Troop 593.
197512/10Properties Committee advises enlarging trading post building to provide space for 22 dining tables, a fireplace, adding a food service wing and to rehabilitate the Old Ranch House for occupancy by the contract cooks.
197711/16Meeting 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.
197905/06Willits 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.
198204/01New 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.
1985JuneRock Climbing area removed of all poison oak to ready the rock for Climbing. (Jeff Peterson, cs 1984)
198507/06Songs of the Wente Staff is recorded during a marathon recording session at the location of the old flag pole
198608/15First year of Corral at Wente. Horses were stalled at Handicraft building during family Camp
198706/15First 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.
198910/01Covered 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 dining hall. Some troops still elect to cook in their campsites on sheepherder stoves
199206/15First 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.
199906/25Richard 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).
2000AugChapel on Peninsula is built during by the Zion LDS Encampment week. Replaces the original Davis Memorial Chapel next to campfire area.
2002AugNew 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 dining 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
200910/01Old 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.
201003/13New Admin building move-in day after permit to occupy building is signed off by Mendocino County.
201006/01New 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 with the purchase of Trail building machine
2011.FC Area - Showerhouse in family camp is converted to a three bedroom all weather cabin.
2011FC Area - Restroom/recreation facility is built in the family camp area, new Director’s cabin is built
201202/01Ranger John Tolman at Wente steps down and moves to Utah after getting married.
2012.Mike Hannah becomes ranger at Wente Scout Reservation (2012 - 2024).
201303/10AquaMog 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
201606/01Wente 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
201710/10Camp 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
201811/15Wente Scout Reservation website is relaunched.
201902/14The Axe of Finbar O’Riley is discovered during forestry work near Tan Oak Cathedral
202004/27San Francisco Bay Area Council, Alameda Council and Mt. Diablo-Silverado Council merge to form the Golden Gate Area Council
202006/01Summer camp 2020 and weekend camping are canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic from April through October.
202009/01Fires near Willits require helicopters to use the lake as water source for drops. Luckily camp is not affected.
202010/01Big Jim, the largest old growth conifer on the scout property is felled due to deteriorating conditions.  The tree is about 400 years old.
202106/14Summer camp resumes following numerous COVID precautions. However, week 7 was canceled due to an outbreak on staff.
202110/09Former Trading Post Manager Brian “Hawkeye” Sommer (1981-1984) stars in “The Addams Family 2” as the voice actor of “Big Bad Ronny”
202204/09Tules from Dam northward around lake to campfire ring are removed in first phase of project to protect lake.
202205/21New larger sign is installed at entrance to camp
202210/14Superstructure for chapel is replaced
202304/18Cal Poly Humboldt students annual Lake Study program begins
202305/22Quarry reactivated, over 1.5 miles of camp road resurfaced including dam
202306/06Dakota Shepherd becomes ranger at Wente Scout Reservation (2023 - Present).


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