Located 45 minutes east of Chico off Highway 32 near the community of Butte Meadows, at an elevation of 4,200 feet, Camp Lassen was started in 1933 by the Mt. Lassen Area Council. The site had been the location of two early lumber mills before the Blue Diamond Match Company acquired it in 1907. It was the origin point for Butte Flume and Lumber Company’s V-flume, which followed Big Chico Canyon for 33 miles to Chico. Millions of board feet of rough lumber were shipped to Chico from mills along this route from 1872 to 1874.
Many older Scouts and leaders established a temporary camp at the Chico Meadows site. They laid 4,100 feet of water pipe from the creek to the water tank, cleared 10 of the 90 acres to eliminate fire hazards, and eventually installed a 145 foot flag pole – the largest one-piece flagpole in the West. During the construction of the camp, Metro Goldwyn Mayer filmed special scenes for “Stand up and Fight”, a movie about the early days of railroading and its survival in the Cumberland Mountains of Maryland. During the first full camping season, the summer of 1935, the hospital, blockhouse, tent platforms, toilet and shower units, and the first dirt-filled dam was developed. In 1965, Camp Lassen was made part of Bristow Hood Scout Reservation. In 1993, the Camp Lassen Committee and the Jonesville-Butte Meadows Historical Society joined to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Camp Lassen, hosting a reunion that included all groups that ever attended the camp. In addition to Boy Scouts, attending were Girl Scouts, Campfire Boys and Girls, church organizations, groups from the California State University, Chico and the Butte County Sheriff’s Posse.
One of the first permanent buildings, Lassen Lodge, built in 1935-36, still serves as the location of the dining hall, offering cafeteria style dining. Because it had been determined that the camp would be a year-round camp for boys and girls, Lassen features cabins and Adirondacks (roofed, three-sided wooden shelters) in addition to the traditional wall tents. A newer dam across Big Chico Creek creates the waterfront area used for aquatic activities.
The traditional camping experience is available to all Scouts with some added special features. The horsemanship merit badge and overnight horse treks are available as part of the summer camp program. Camp Lassen is one of the few camps to offer a comprehensive mountain bike program for Scouts, biking on camp roads or taking overnight bike treks through the scenic Lassen wilderness. Boy Scouts can take advantage of one of the best C.O.P.E. courses available anywhere. The camp’s climbing wall offers Boy Scouts an opportunity to learn skills in climbing and rappelling. The Climbing merit badge is offered to Scouts through our climbing program or Scouts can climb for fun. A High Adventure opportunity can be experienced through the Lassen to Lassen backpacking trek, a hike of over 50 miles.