Santa Clara County Council

Santa Clara County Council

Santa Clara County Council, Inc. is a Boy Scouts of America council headquartered in San Jose, California. As of 2004, the council serves over 11,000 youth in over 400 Boy Scout troops, Cub Scout packs, Venturing crews, and Explorer posts.



The San Jose Council of the Boy Scouts of America was founded on August 20, 1920 by John Crummey (president of Bean Spray and Pump Company (later known as Food Machinery Corporation)), Robert Bentley, Jr. (president of Muirson Label Company) and Archer Bowden (San Jose attorney). Bentley served as the first council president, Julius Rainwater was the first scout executive, and Edmund Richmond was the first council commissioner.

In 1922, the council changed its name to Santa Clara County Council, and took over administration for all of Santa Clara County. The council was incorporated in 1923, and oversight of San Benito County was added the same year. Monterey and Santa Cruz counties were added in 1927.

In 1933 San Benito, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties were split off to form the Monterey Bay Area Council. In 1939 the area around Palo Alto split off to form its own council, the now-defunct Stanford Area Council. That council, which had been the smallest BSA council in the nation by area, merged with San Mateo County Council in the 1990s to form Pacific Skyline Council.

Council Camps

Santa Clara County Council currently operates two camps, and has operated several others in the past.

Camp Hi-Sierra

Camp Hi-Sierra is a Boy Scout camp located in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, only minutes away from the small town of Longbarn, California. This camp is notably high, with the majority of its buildings standing at approximately 4,800 feet and the highest point of the mountain standing over a mile high at 5,300 feet. The camp is used year round with five weeks of Scouting camp during the summer, one of which is the International Rendezvous every even year. During the 'off season' Camp Hi-Sierra is used for training sessions as well as council activities.


Camp Hi-Sierra was created in 1949 with land that the Santa Clara County Council bought within the Stanislaus National Forest. Before the camp was a Scout Reservation though it was inhabited by the Miwok Indians. When logging scions discovered the forest, they decided to start logging in the spot where the camp is now located. To this day, as one walks through camp, they can still see remnants of the logging industry, bits of the old mill, etc... Currently small-scale logging continues along the main camp road.

As of now, the Santa Clara County Council maintains the camp as well as a full time ranger who lives in the camp year round, he is the caretaker for all of Camp Hi-Sierra. The current Ranger is Alan Buscaglia as of August 2010.


This camp is located within the Stanislaus National Forest. Its official postal address is in nearby Long Barn, California, although it is about one mile southeast of Cold Springs, California. The turn-off is about 30 miles East of Sonora and nearly one mile West of Cold Springs Market on State Route 108. The tourist town of Pinecrest, California and its popular Pinecrest Lake are approximately five miles further East on Hwy 108.


Camp Hi-Sierra offers a range of Scouting programs to meet participants' skill levels and experience:

  • Boy Scout Summer Camp (Hi-Sierra's main program for Boy Scouts)
    • Trail to First Class (2010 renamed Trail to Eagle) (for first-year Scouts working on achieving their First Class rank)
    • Merit Badges
      • Aquatics (Canoeing, Rowing, Swimming, Lifesaving)
      • High Adventure (Climbing, Cycling, Backpacking, Wilderness Survival, First Aid)
      • Handicraft (Basketry, Leather work, Art, Pottery, Woodcarving)
      • Nature (Astronomy, Energy, Environmental Science, Fish and Wildlife management, Forestry, Geology, Mammal Studies, Nature, Weather)
      • Scout Craft (Camping, Cooking, Orienteering, Pioneering)
      • Shooting Sports (Rifle, Shotgun, Archery)
    • Fox Fire (a "living mountain man history" program based around 19th-century metalworking and woodworking crafts)
      • also includes Indian Lore and Metalwork MBs
    • High Adventure
      • Climbing (featuring a 35-ft tall climbing/rappelling tower)
      • Mountain biking
      • Trekking (guided backpacking trips exploring the National Forest)
      • Pinecrest Program (Sailing at Pinecrest lake)
      • Clavey Expedition (5 mile backpack or 12 mile bike trip to the Clavey River site on Thursday night)
    • 18 Hole Disc/Frisbee Golf Coarse
    • Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) Week
    • Counselor-in-Training (CIT) experience
    • Adult leader trainings
  • Tribe of Hi-Sierra (a service-based honor society open to all youth and adults participating in Camp Hi-Sierra programs)
    • Tribe of Hi-Sierra Ranks
  1. Brave
  2. Warrior
  3. Medicine Man
  4. Chief
  5. Great Chief


Buildings at Camp Hi-Sierra include a staff bunkhouse, dining hall, office, and other structures. The camp is bisected by the North Fork of the Tuolumne River. On the western side is Staff Hill, home to the camp staff during the summertime. Also, this side contains the camp office, health lodge, dining hall, flag meadow, and the ranger's home. On the southern-most end of the camp property is a small seasonal man-made lake.

On the eastern side of camp is the Blackfoot Meadow, home to the baseball diamond. Directly across from Blackfoot Meadow is the archery range. Also near the meadow is the frisbee golf|disc golf course. Further south is the high adventure area; this includes the bike barn and rock climbing tower. Across from the climbing wall is the trading post, which was built in 2005. Next to the high adventure area is the Trail-to-First Class area and beyond that the Scoutcraft area. Opposite from Scoutcraft is the "livery", home of the craft shop. Behind this is the Nature area, formerly the High-Adventure Base. The log cabin has now been converted into the nature cabin, with space on the second floor for people to sleep.

Across the road from the Nature area is Foxfire. On this fenced-in property, there is a tipi for Native American classes, and a blacksmith shop. This is home of the Mountain Man program, where scouts can learn blacksmithing, woodcarving, and tomahawk throwing.

The eastern side of the river contains all of the scout camps, where 250-350 scouts can be housed in tents. High on the hill are the shooting range and chapel.

Chesebrough Scout Reservation

Chesebrough Scout Reservation, also called Camp Chesebrough is a 544 acre (2.2 km²) Boy Scouts of America camp in the Santa Cruz Mountains of Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties, California. The camp is owned by the Memorial Foundation of the Santa Clara County Council, and is used year round for troop campouts, Order of the Arrow events and Wood Badge trainings; and as a Cub Scouts (Boy Scouts of America) day camp and a junior leadership resident camp during the summer.


The original 404 acres (1.6 km²) of Chesebrough Scout Reservation, in Santa Cruz County, were donated to Santa Clara County Council by Paul and Nessie Chesebrough in 1977. Paul had inherited the camp and much of the surrounding area from his aunt Edith Van Antwerp in 1949. The Chesebroughs felt that the land should remain open and available for use by the people of California, so they donated much of it to the Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District, the Sempervirens Fund, and of course, the Boy Scouts. The Chesebroughs donated another 140 acres (0.6 km²) adjoining the property in San Mateo County in 1983.

The council wanted to use Chesebrough as an undeveloped wilderness camp, but the closing of Camp Stuart in Saratoga in 1990 forced many of the activities from that camp to Chesebrough, including the Cub Scout day camp which required the construction of additional facilities.


Chesebrough Scout Reservation stradles the Santa Cruz-San Mateo county border, and is located nine miles (15 km) south of Saratoga on California State Route 9, and two miles (3 km) south of that road's intersection with California State Route 35, or Skyline Boulevard at Saratoga Gap. The Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail passes through the camp about five miles (8 km) from its Skyline terminus, in Castle Rock State Park.

The camp is bordered by Saratoga Gap Open Space Preserve and Long Ridge Open Space Preserves of the Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District, and Castle Rock and Portola State Parks.


Chesebrough Scout Reservation has about 8 campsites, each capable of holding at least 30 campers. In addition, the camp has a large modern kitchen, a 300 seat campfire amphitheater, BB gun and archery ranges, and 32 miles (51 km) of hiking trails. The trails connect to the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail, giving access to Castle Rock State Park, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, and Cutter Scout Reservation.

Former camps

  • Alum Rock Park (1921 - unknown). The council was given exclusive access to 15 acres (61,000 m²) in the park.
  • Camp Swanton (1924 – 1930)
  • Camp Arroyo Sequoia (1931 – 1944, 1948)
  • Camp Bonnie Brier (early 1940s), now known as Boulder Creek Scout Reservation and operated by Pacific Skyline Council
  • San Lorenzo Scout Ranch (1941 – 1948)

Camp Stuart

Camp Stuart (formally, the Stuart Scout Training Reservation), founded in 1944, is a defunct camp in Saratoga, California. It was donated by Mr. and Mrs. R. R. Stuart, and named in memory of their son, Reginald Ross Stuart. The camp contains 144 acres (0.583 km²), and is located near Sanborn-Skyline County Park.

The camp had a pool, dining room, multipurpose building, flush toilets, shower building, meeting lodge and many campsites. Bohlman Road, which was paved in the 1950s, divides the camp in two. One side served as a Cub Scout day camp, one of the largest in the United States, serving nearly 3000 Scouts each year.

Camp Stuart's last summer of operation was in 1988. The Santa Clara County Council already owned two other camps, and decided to sell Camp Stuart to take advantage of rising land values. The camp was sold in 1989, shortly before several buildings were damaged in the Loma Prieta earthquake. The county has not demolished or developed the camp, and has no funds or apparent plans for the area.

Order of the Arrow


  • Coyote Creek
  • Quicksilver
  • Pioneer District
  • Polaris District

See also

External links


  • Mardi Bennett (ed); Scouting in the Santa Clara Valley; 1990; Rosicrucian Press; San Jose, California; ISBN 0-9628133-0-3

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