Patrick Robinson
A cake, prepared by West Seattle's Stuffed Cakes, honored the 75th Anniversary of Camp Long in a public event at the park Sept. 10.

SLIDESHOW: Camp Long celebrated 75 years with climbers, cake and community

Camp Long celebrated its 75th anniversary Sept 10 with a Mountain Festival. In tribute to Clark Schurman, one of the founders of Camp Long and a mountaineer and artist, the theme of the event was “Climbing to new heights.”

During the event rock climbing, rappelling, arts and crafts, nature programs, falconry and the Camp Long Challenge Course*. were open for people to climb and clamber over.

A commemorative flag ceremony featured guest speakers, Mayor Ed Murray, Southwest Seattle Historical Society Executive Director Clay Eals, and included Mike Gauthier, the Chief of Staff of Yosemite National Park, who spent 19 years as the Supervisory Climbing Ranger at Mt. Rainier.

Camp 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 expert mountaineer Clark Schurman 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.

Schurman also envisioned the park as the place to realize his longtime dream: the building of a man-made peak where inexperienced climbers could safely develop their mountaineering skills. For years he worked on the idea in clay. Monitor Rock, as it was first known, was built by the Works Progress Administration between 1938 and 1939. It was renamed Schurman Rock after his death.

Over the past 75 years, Camp Long has become a favorite respite of Seattleites. The park offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy nature, hike in the forest, camp overnight in rustic cabins, rock climb and learn about natural history. A talented staff of naturalists and ropes-course staff lead ongoing group environmental-education and rock-climbing classes. Programs at Camp Long are designed to be fun, educational and interactive experiences for people of all ages.

Partners who provided activities at Mountain Fest included the Boy Scouts of America, Baden-Powell Scouting Association, Girl Scouts, Nature Consortium, Tiny Trees, National Parks, Washington Native Plant Society, US Forest Service, National Wildlife Federation, NatureQuest Day Camp and the Camp Long Advisory Council.

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