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Camp Josepho - About  

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About Camp Josepho
 Opened: 1941

          Camp Josepho is a 110 acre parcel in the Santa Monica Mountains nestled in the remote Rustic Canyon within Will Rogers State Park . It was one of three Camps owned outright by Crescent Bay Council (Camp Slauson and Circle B Scout Ranch being the other two). The campCamp Josepho Western Los Angeles county council and structures were built between 1940-41 by Siberian immigrant and American inventor Anatol Josepho  and subsequently deeded by the Josepho family jointly to the Crescent Bay and Los Angeles Councils in 1941. Los Angeles Council transferred its interest in Camp Josepho to Crescent Bay Council around 1949.
             Today, Camp Josepho is owned and administered by Western Los Angeles County Council and is a favorite weekend camp within easy driving distance from westside Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley communities.
          From its dedication on June 7, 1941 through 1948, Camp Josepho (known as the "West Point of Scouting"), served as a summer camp for the scouts of Crescent Bay Council, Los Angeles Council and all Southern California.  During the 1940's-60's Josepho hosted Region 12 meetings, National Camping School meetings, Order of the Arrow Area Fellowship Conferences, Junior Leader Training (JLT), Polaris One Star training and scores of camporees, banquets, Commissioner Conferences and other scout functions. Today, the Camp serves as the seat of Malibu Lodge no. 566, Order of the Arrow which was preceded by Tamet Lodge no. 225, Crescent Bay Council's original OA Lodge established in 1942.
          Activity areas at Camp Josepho include an Olympic-sized pool, rifle range, archery range, Frisbee golf course, an amphitheater for campfire programs and the grand Malibu Lodge hall with commercial kitchen. The Camp remains much like it was when it opened in 1941 despite the furry of Mother Nature, most notably floods in 1968 & 1969 and a devastating flood & fire in 1978 that left little but the Grand Lodge intact. In every case, the Scout Council and friends of Camp Josepho have responded, rebuilt and restored the historic camp, still the "West Point of Scouting".

    News Article - Evening Outlook
June, 1941
  War Memorial
Flag Pole
    camp josepho western los angeles county council                 
Full page pictorial spread highlighting the opening of the new Scout Camp
Memorial as seen in 2009
Grand Lodge & Camp Layout
           Camp Josepho is accessed from the Sullivan Ridge fire trail off Capri Drive in Pacific Palisades and then down a narrow winding road that switch-backs along the eastern wall of Rustic Canyon . The road exits across a creek bed and onto a large grassy flat that was once a magnificent parade ground surrounded by an oval track during the 1940's.
Gateway Entrance
     Former Camp Sign
Grand Lodge Today
    Parade Ground & Track circa 1941
(Looking North from the Grand Lodge)

           To the left and up a small, tree-studded hill is the Grand Lodge, a two-story, redwood clapboard-sided Craftsman Lodge with a vaulted, twenty-eight foot high, open beam ceiling. The large open main floor accommodates banquet seating for over 500 people. There is a massive stone fireplace along the western wall and a large stage along the southern end. The structure was recognized as Historical Cultural Monument no. 547 Malibu Lodge
by the Cultural Heritage Commission of Los Angeles on October 2, 1991 (50th Anniversary year of Camp Josepho). Today, a modular-home Ranger's quarters midway up the hill interrupts the view of the Lodge from the entrance to Camp.

Inside the Grand Lodge
South Wall
  North Wall
  West Wall

Murals & Stage
Entrances into Lodge
Fireplace & Kitchen to left.

Map of Camp Josepho
March 1972

          Across the grassy parade ground and to the right from the camp entrance is the War Memorial flag pole. The monument contains plaques listing the names of Crescent Bay scouts killed in World War II and subsequent American conflicts.
          To the right and north of the entrance are the parking areas, camp fire amphitheater, swimming pool and camp sites further up the canyon along the creek. The original pool was oval shaped and in the 1940's, was thought to be the largest camp swimming facility in the Western United States. When Camp Josepho discontinued summer camping after the 1948 season, the pool slowly fell into disrepair. It was replaced by the current Olympic size rectangular shaped pool (initially known as the Shoemaker Swimming Hole) in josepho western los angeles county council
           Between 1942-48, there were twenty-six camp sites spread along the upper canyon. The  sites were grouped together into eight "Tribes", each named after an Indian Tribe:

     1. Apache
         2. Cherokee
     3. Chippewa     4. Iroquois
     5. Mohawk        6. Navajo
     7. Sioux            8. Shawnee

           By the 1960's, there were eleven camp sites of various sizes in the upper canyon. Total capacity in 1965 was 383 campers. Today, Camp Josepho has two large family camp grounds and five creek side camp sites.

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Camp Map Legend Placard

This placard was posted with a larger Camp Josepho Map that does not exist today.
(gift of Frank Glick)

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Description from Crescent Bay Area Council Flyers 
circa Late 1950's

CAMP JOSEPHO...110 acres - alt. 710 feet
Camp Josepho is located in Rustic Canyon, Pacific Palisades, north of Sunset Boulevard at Capri. Camp is open the year 'round, especially weekends, except during high fire season. This training center offers units the opportunity of aquatic skills in a crystal clear pool open from May to October. The large lodge is used for training courses and is the home of our Tamet Lodge, Order of the Arrow. Cub Pack picnics are very popular, along with Troop camping sites. The Bar-B-Que area is most popular for large groups. Burro packing, conservation projects are services offered. Units prepare their own meals. Small bore rifle range is available under adequate supervision and leadership. Resident Camp Ranger.

Roads to Camp Josepho
circa Early 1960's

Camp Josepho Topography Map
(courtesy of Frank Glick)

camp josepho map

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 tee shirts    staff jackets    documents    videos

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