Sciots Camp is a unique group of 77 cabins located between 5600 and 6000 feet elevation in the Eldorado National Forest in central California. The comradely is unsurpassed. The original lease was signed with the forest service on October 17, 1921. The organization that founded the tract had the motto of “Boost One Another” and to this day this seems to be the feel of Sciots Camp.
Over the years the cabin owners have bound together and taken on some very large projects. The first was the building of a bridge across the American River. The first bridge was a wooden structure that was washed out in 1938 by high water. The replacement is a metal bridge that has recently been deemed “highway safe” by the state highway department.
These same hardy cabin owners built a clubhouse in 1924-25 that is approximately 50 feet by 80 feet. It has been maintained in excellent condition to this day. This clubhouse, which contains a full kitchen, is host to potlucks, brunches, meetings, a bean feed, an Independence Day picnic, a spaghetti dinner, a pizza party, a tri-tip barbecue, weddings and anniversary parties for the cabin owners and our neighbors.
A footbridge was built by the cabin owners to span Strawberry Creek giving access to the cabins on the other side of the creek.
In recent years a fallen, rotting, log used as a bridge across Cody Creek was replaced with a cabin owner built footbridge and a trail repaired to complete “the loop” for the hikers and walkers. This two-mile hike is extremely popular not only with Sciots Camp cabin owners but everyone in the area.
All of the roads in the tract were built and are maintained by the cabin owners. They are in excellent condition and are watched carefully to avoid erosion.
Sciots Camp also has a picnic area with benches and a playground near the clubhouse for the young children. There is playground equipment, a rest room with flush toilets and an approved septic system. There is a fire ring for approved debris burning, barbecues, weenie roasts and other outdoor activities. Many people outside of Sciots Camp attend the 4th of July picnic celebration held in the picnic area. The tract supplies the hot dogs, hamburgers and all the fixings. Cabin owners provide salads, casseroles and wonderful desserts. There are games for the children, horseshoes and lots of fun enjoyed by all ages. It is an “All American” celebration.
In the past the clubhouse at Sciots Camp had a small store but now it has been converted to an ice cream store. During the summer the cabin owners sign up to scoop ice cream from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday evenings. We are not sure what is enjoyed the most – the eating of an old fashion ice cream cone or the scooping like an old fashion soda jerk. The deck of the clubhouse is full of people enjoying the mountains, ice cream and each other until dark each Saturday evening.
Other activities at Sciots Camp include a cabin tour. Each year we tour 4-5 cabins. This not only lets the cabin owners show off their cabins, but it is a great opportunity to get together and get ideas that might make our own cabins a little more comfortable.
Also there is a Sunrise Breakfast. We meet at 5:30 A.M. take camp stoves and all the necessary food and cook breakfast on top of a mountain or in a meadow and watch the sun come up. The beauty of our area really becomes apparent when you see it early in the morning.
Sciots Camp has a state of the art water system. The cabin owners researched and found that a slow sand filter would be the best system for our tract and after an assessment of our cabin owners had the water plant built. Our water is tested monthly and monitored daily. We have the only tract in our area that has water year-around. This makes it possible to come to our cabins in the dead of winter for a long weekend in the snow. Several cabin owners in adjoining tracts have joined our association and are provided with water year-around.
The cabin owners are very protective of the forest and have installed fire-fighting stations in the tract in case of fire. It has become a tradition to have a fire drill each 4th of July weekend. All cabin owners are shown how to operate the fire hydrants and to sound the alarms.
We have a library in the clubhouse for the use of the camp. The cabin owners donate all the books. This library is extremely active. On a nice day it is terrific to sit on a deck in a comfortable chair with a good book. A luxury we all enjoy.
The clubhouse also has a small Laundromat for the cabin owners. When you have a two-week vacation with children this is a wonderful amenity.
There are emergency oxygen bottles placed strategically around the tract. They have been used a few times and possibly have saved a life.
The tract has a strong association which meets three times a year. The association takes care of problems that arise and helps make our tract better and better. The association also sponsors the annual Northern Sierra Summer Homeowners Association meeting in our clubhouse each year.
The cabin owners keep the stream, river and the highway clear of debris in the area of our tract. The common areas of the tract are kept clear of forest debris. The debris is either burned in our fire ring or hauled to the local dump for safe disposal. In the spring we find all the dead trees in the tract and call the forest service to mark them for removal. The forest service has only to make one trip up the canyon to mark the trees instead of each cabin owner calling to request the marking.
We have a web page which has a camera that shows the snow depth each ½ hour of daylight during the winter. It also shows the temperature and has a windsock. The web page has a tremendous amount of links to other things of interest such as Doppler Radar, ski resorts, earthquakes, road conditions, photos from around camp and the schedule of events. The web address is: sciotscamp.org.
The tract has a monthly newsletter during the summer season – April through October. The newsletter gives the details of the events and keeps the cabin owners informed of items that are of importance to them, their cabin, the tract and the forest.
Sciots Camp has T-shirts, sweatshirts, aprons and caps available. They all have the tract logo on them. There also is a cookbook available with the favorite recipes from the cabin owners. A history was written about the first 75 years of the tract, along with group photos taken in 1924 and 1996. A few of the cabin owners are in both photos. Forty-eight of the cabins in Sciots Camp have a preliminary historical rating between 4-6 in a survey conducted by Eldorado National Forest.
All of the maintenance of the roads, bridges, water system, clubhouse and playground is preformed by the cabin owners. There is a yearly association fee of $100.00 plus one days work. Even the work day is an event at Sciots Camp. The widows and spouses of the infirm help prepare a lunch for the workers. Some workers come just for these exquisite lunches.
The comradery in Sciots Camp is so great that many of the cabin owners meet the first Monday of the winter months for breakfast, down in the Sacramento Valley where most have their permanent residences.
We at Sciots Camp appreciate and revere the magnificent surroundings of the tract. We feel we must take care of the forest and streams so that generations to come may enjoy this wonderful area. There is no place on earth like Sciots Camp.