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Camp Long History

Address: 5200 35th Ave. SW > directions
Phone: 206 684-7434   E-mail:

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Brief History of Camp Long
Started in 1937, dedicated in 1941.
Created for the purpose of bringing people close to nature and providing safe and enjoyable outdoor camping and climbing experiences.

Prime movers--working together for scouting

Opening celebrationCamp Long was once a little used, 68 acre corner of the West Seattle Golf Course. In 1937 Seattle Park Board member, Archie Phelps, Judge William Long, Ben Evans of the Seattle Park Department and Clark Schurman, well known Scout leader, expert mountaineer and wilderness camp developer, embarked on a mission. They wanted to acquire and develop this land to make it into a place for organized scouting groups to learn camping skills. They were joined by a committee of representatives of youth groups, City Council members, other concerned citizens and supportive agencies and councils. Together they worked hard to create Camp Long and protect its natural beauty.

Early Days of Recycling & Reuse

Materials for the camp came from sites all around the city. The lumber for the camp buildings came from an old school building and an abandoned Civilian Conservation Corps camp. East Madison Street was being repaved and the old stone paving blocks became part of the main lodge. A nursery, which was part of a bankrupt estate, had to surplus many ornamental trees. These trees became a living part of Camp Long. The work was done by the Works Progress Administration.

Schurman Rock -- a climbers dream

Shurman RockThis major attraction at Camp Long was designed by Clark Schurman. His dream was to build a human-made mountain incorporating every potential rock climbing problem into its design. After taking a winter to make a clay model of the rock, Schurman worked very closely with the W.P.A. workers to create his dream rock. It took 2 years to complete the 20 foot high, erratically shaped climbing rock. Schurman called it Monitor Rock after its intended purpose to "warn, remind, advise and instruct." After Schurmans death in 1955 the rock was renamed "Schurman Rock" to honor Clark Schurmans contribution to Camp Long and mountaineering. On the occasion of the renaming on September 7, 1957, William G. Long gave a special radio address.
» view radio address transcript (PDF 42k)
» Mountains in life and art: Schurman taught, painted for love of nature (Seattle P-I 8/22/06)

Now a camp for everybody

Originally built to serve organized scouting groups Camp Long was opened to the general public in 1984. Camp Longs 68 acres and unique recreation features offer visitors an opportunity to explore nature, hike, camp overnight in rustic cabins, rock climb and learn about natural history.

More Park history is available from the files of Don Sherwood, 1916-1981, Park Historian  » View the Don Sherwood History Files

*Note: To view a PDF, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader. Download it for free at

Updated August 27, 2012
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