PHOTOS: Cake, climbing, fire, and flags as Camp Long celebrates 75th anniversary

Kendra Okoro and Jessica Loui
(Volunteers Kendra Okoro and Jessica Loui, working at Camp Long’s Schurman Rock)

Going up? Many of those attending Saturday’s big party at Camp Long were: The all-day celebration marked the park’s 75th anniversary as well as its annual Mountain Fest. Photojournalist Leda Costa was there for WSB. Of course, there was an anniversary cake:

75th anniversary cake

West Seattle’s own Stuffed Cakes made it.

Among those at the park to enjoy the cake: Mayor Ed Murray.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray

Other VIPs there included City Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Debora Juarez as well as Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre. Below are Janie Murphy, a Parks Naturalist, and Mat McBride from the Camp Long Advisory Council, who dressed in honor of the historic occasion:


Back to the activities – climbing, ropes course, ziplining among them:

Kids at the climbing wall

Ben Walker
(Ben Walker ziplining)

By day’s end, challenge-course and rock-climbing availabilities were fully booked, including the park’s famous Schurman Rock, which has been training grounds over the years for renowned climbers including the first American to summit Everest, West Seattle’s own Jim Whittaker.

The celebration also included activities on the ground, along the Camp Long meadow:

Sachi Horback and her daughter Varshana worked together with the saw; at the beginning of the day, the log was around 7 feet long.

The Greek-food truck Athena’s was on the meadow for lunch-seekers:


Or, you could go small – roasting marshmallows and hot dogs by the campfire with Scouts:

The fire circle

(Boy Scout from Troop 282)

Local folk band Grover
(Local folk band Grover played by the fire circle: Jordan Tan on mandolin, Chris Porter on guitar, Serafima Healy on bass)


Scouts also participated in the flag ceremony:

Color guard

According to the city’s official history of the park, “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 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.” With help from around the city, they succeeded. Presentations during the day were made by speakers including Clay Eals of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society and Yosemite National Park chief of staff Mike Gauthier, former lead climbing range at Mount Rainier:

Mike Gauthier at the Camp Long Lodge

This was the biggest party at Camp Long since the celebration of the historic lodge’s reopening after renovations back in 2010.

Camp Long Lodge.

More than 500 people came to the anniversary party to celebrate what they accomplished, and to look forward to many more years of enjoying Camp Long (5200 35th SW).

5 Replies to "PHOTOS: Cake, climbing, fire, and flags as Camp Long celebrates 75th anniversary"

  • WSEA September 12, 2016 (9:17 am)

    I wish the climbing  course was open more often.   I think it would get used more if they had a few set times during the week for drop ins.   It seems that you can only book the course for groups of 15 or mores which means we’ll never be able to use the course. 

  • Jeff September 12, 2016 (10:21 am)

    No need to wish; organize a group and make it happen! The Challenge Course is open to groups of any kind: friends, co-workers, teachers, students, sports teams, whatever. I don’t think you need 15 or more in your group; you just don’t get a discount for smaller groups. Scholarships may be available for low-income youth groups. Call Camp Long and ask for details. 

  • sgs September 12, 2016 (6:11 pm)

    This was a really fun and educational event for me and my daughter.  She got to rappel for the first time and also loved the climbing wall.  Next year she will be old enough to do the high ropes course.  Can’t wait!  Thank you to all the volunteers who made us feel welcome.  Mat McBride for getting us started on the scavenger hunt.  Really wonderful people.  Will be back next year.

  • sam-c September 12, 2016 (8:33 pm)

    (Glad you had fun. as an aside, how old do you have to be to do the ropes course; we weren’t able to check it out this past weekend  ? thanks in advance!)

  • McBride September 13, 2016 (9:43 am)



    There’s a high and low course, both are great. The high course is less concerned with age (14) than height (4’10”) and weight (100 lbs). The low course has far fewer restrictions. Both focus on problem solving, teamwork, confidence, and fun. For detailed information, specific questions, or reservations, check out the Camp Long web site.


    Also worth mentioning, those awesome cabins can be rented for $50/night. I know! It’s crazy! They sleep 6-12 humans (6 double beds), and nothing beats a day of adventure like a big campfire and some s’mores. I’m just sayin’.

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