Camp Grizzly History


The sources for this camp history are internet newspaper articles, Dana Bonstrom, Charlie Gaskins & Greg Mott. Thank you.

Early History

The site of Camp Grizzly and the outlying region, namely the Hoodoo Mountains, have drawn people to them for years. Native Americans were the first peoples to use the region, but as in practically every other region of the United States, they were pushed out by the white settlers.

John Grizwold, a reclusive settler accompanied by his Nez Perce wife, built a homestead in the region sometime in the late 1850's. Grizwold passed out of the region in the early 1860's to get away from the growing flood of miners, who worked the gulches and streams along the North Fork of the Palouse, just a few miles north of camp.

Another local homesteader, Ed Graham, who originally built Hoodoo Mining District’s 'Grizzle Camp' to supply the Hoodoo miners, named the place after the "squaw-Man Griswold."

It was the end of the freight road from Palouse and Walla Walla, and from here miners went by horse or foot to their claims.

Since then mining developed in the region, which was followed by logging, which picked up around the turn of the century with the opening of the Potlatch mill and town.


Palouse Council, Pullman, Washington State 1921-1926

Lewis & Clark Area, Lewiston, Idaho 1925-1929

In the early 1920’s the Boy Scouts built a camp a bit west of Grizzle Camp which they renamed “Grizzly.”

Summer camp was first held at Camp Grizzly site in 1922 by the Palouse Council. The property was owned by Potlatch Lumber Company.

Official council summer camps continued to be held there through 1928. (In 1926, 1927 and 1928 the camp was under control of the Lewis & Clark Area Council as the Palouse Council had dissolved).


Spokane Area Council, Spokane, Washington State 1915-1931

Inland Empire Council, Spokane, Washington State 1931-1992

The Lewis & Clark Area Council merged with the Spokane Area Council in late 1929 and became the Inland Empire Council.

In 1931 the Camp was renamed Camp Laird after Allison W. Laird who had passed away earlier that year.

That Summer, 1931, 175 boys camped under the direction of Camp Director Joseph H Jamme, Council Field Executive.

An archive record of the University of Idaho Library, Special Collections (LAI-1) gives the following background: "Allison W. Laird was Assistant General Manager of the Potlatch Lumber Company from 1905-1913, and General Manager from 1913 until his death in 1931.

Then in 1934 the Potlatch Forests, Inc., donated 120 acres of land to the National Forest Service, which included the Camp Grizzly, in memory of Mr. Laird.

Laird had a long wished to preserve a piece of virgin timber near Camp Grizzly, and when he died, Potlatch Forests, Inc. (the successor to Potlatch Lumber Company) negotiated with the United States Forest Service to make a donation in his honor. In 1937, Laird Park, a camping and picnic area, was formally dedicated."

A newspaper clipping (probably from the Pullman Herald) of June 17, 1938 reported on the invitation of Pullman Scouters to "the dedication ceremonies at Camp Laird near Potlatch on Fathers' day, June 19, 1938 when J.J. O'Connell, manager of Potlatch unit of Potlatch Forests, Inc. will present the deed to 40 acres of land there to the Inland Empire Council of the Boy Scouts of America." Attending will be Herb West, scout executive in the southern area, George Anderson, cashier of the Potlatch State Bank will introduce Dr. H.H. House, local Boy Scout Chairman and professor J.S. Cole, scout commissioner, who will participate in the program. The article goes on to say "Members of the Potlatch troop are to be in uniform. Fathers' day is to have special significance at Camp Laird for the reason that the Potlatch Old Settlers and the Potlatch Boy Scout Mothers club will be holding picnics on grounds of Laird Park that day. Laird Park, donated to the government by Potlatch Forest, Inc., two years ago, adjoins Camp Laird to make a 200-acre recreational center.

Camp Laird operated each summer at the site from 1931 through 1939 and then again in 1941, and possibly 1942. (I cannot find proof about 1942). 

1938 is listed on patches to notate the date the camp was founded.

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Lewis-Clark Council, Lewiston, Idaho 1945-1992


The Lewis-Clark Council was reformed in 1945 and the deed for this property was transferred to them by the Inland Empire Council in 1946.


The camp name was changed back from Camp Laird to Camp Grizzly.

On June 14, 1962 Potlatch Forests, Inc. donated in return for one dollar ($1) 240 acres including the: Southwest Quarter and South Half of the Southeast Quarter of Section 36, Township 42 North, Range 3 West. Potlatch Forests, Inc. retained all of the timber rights on this land and stipulated that in the event that the Scouts ceased to used the land for "Boy Scouts of America Programs" the land would "revert and be re-vested" to Potlatch Forests, Inc. Benton R. Cancell, President and C. J. Hopkins, Secretary of Potlatch Forests, Inc. signed the Bargain and Sale Deeds.

On June 23, 1962 the Lewiston Morning Tribune reported on the presentation ceremony in which George H. Rauch, Potlatch Forests, Inc. vice president and Alfred H. Hansen, Potlatch Forests, Inc. land agent presented the deed to W.W. Simon Lewis-Clark Council president and Elson Fischer, Scout Executive. In the article Simon said the land "is a valuable asset to the growing Scout movement. It will be used by boys for trail making, camps, hikes and other activities in conjunction with their other programs. An added advantage will be the on-the-scene learning of the multiple benefits of the scientifically managed forest. Rauch speaking for PFI said, "We are pleased to participate. We utilize our natural resources today and yet leave a heritage for our children tomorrow. The Boy Scouts of America are also leaving a heritage, fine future leaders in the American way, and outdoor activity is and integral part of this training."

Then on April 17, 1978 PFI donated in return for one dollar ($1) 120 acres including the: Northeast Quarter of the Northeast Quarter and the Northwest Quarter of the Northeast Quarter and the Southwest Quarter of the Northeast Quarter all of Section 1, Township 41 North, Range 3 West. As in the previous donation PFI retained all mineral and timber rights to the property. L. K. Floan, Vice President and C. W. Woodward, Assistant Secretary of PFI signed the Bargain and Sale Deeds. The Lewis-Clark Council also owns 40 acres on the top of Little Sand Mountain, which is the:

Southeast Quarter of the Northeast Quarter of Section 1, Township 41 North, Range 3 West.

An inter-company memorandum of PFI dated March 20, 1968 indicates that this parcel was purchased from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 1967. In the memo L. K. Floan from G. H Rauch indicates that Potlatch purchased a perpetual timber right on this land. A letter dated April 2, 1968 from J. G. Dalgren, Land Agent for Potlatch Forests, Inc. to Mr. Wynne M. Blake of Blake, Givens, Feeney and Clark indicates that the timber rights were purchased for $4300. In another inter-company memorandum of Potlatch Forests, Inc. from Bill Davis to Dan Miller dated February 27, 1992 and describing the Boy Scout land indicates he could not find documents indicating the completion of the purchase of the land from the BLM by the council.

In 1992 the U.S. Forest Service issued a special use permit to the Lewis-Clark Council for 5 acres of land in the Southwest quarter of the Northeast quarter, Section 36, Township 42 North, Range 3 West. A water ditch and reservoir impoundment, overflow parking area and 18 chains of barbed wire fence.

The purpose of the permit is "Providing water to Camp Grizzly's Lake O'Connell, and reservoir storage capacity for the lake as a recreation facility for Camp Grizzly. Parking facilities on the west side of camp." The $75 annual fee was waived. In this map the small squares are 1/16 sections (40 acres each) and the larger squares made up of 16 small squares are sections. The upper left large section is Section 36, Township 42 North, Range 3 West. And the one below it is Section 1, Township 41 North , Range 3 West. For the Camp Grizzly land only one of the four small squares is identified in the SW quarter of S36,T42N, R3W and only one of the two in the S half of the SE quarter of S36,T42N, R3W.

Inland Northwest Council, Spokane, Washington State 1992-Present

The camp continues to operate there as Camp Grizzly even after the Lewis-Clark Council merged with the Inland Northwest Council in 1992.

Few camps have survived through as many council changes, names and property ownership as this one.


At the Harvard junction, take Highway 6 and 95A northeast 3 ½ miles, and then turn right on Palouse River Road.

More Memorabilia


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Camp Grizzly of the Inland Northwest Council.


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