Camp Pahaquarra History
Boy Scout Camps along the Delaware River

Zusman, Albert 1999
Boy Scout camps along the Delaware River
Spanning The Gap 21(2):1,4-5,8.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
Quarterly Newsletter, Summer 1999
volume 21, issue #2, pages 1,4-5,8

The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area produces a quarterly newsletter that features information about the region. The Summer 1999 issue contains an article that includes the following information about Camp Pahaquarra.
Camp Pahaquarra (later known as Pahaquarra Scout Reservation) served Scouts from 1925 until 1971. It was the first council-wide camp owned by the George Washington Council, BSA and the earlier councils (Trenton Council, BSA and Trenton-Mercer Council, BSA).
Thousands of boys from Mercer, Hunterdon and Warren Counties came to the "wilds" of northwestern New Jersey for adventure, including hiking, camping, pioneering, swimming, canoeing and numerous other activities. As they developed these skills, they also learned about teamwork and leadership. Every so often, we are fortunate to find photographs of those early days.

Camp Pahaquarra waterfront (1942)

parade grounds
Camp Pahaquarra parade grounds (1965)

Camp Pahaquarra is most often symbolized by the totem pole which appears on the council patch. This totem pole actually did exist, standing proudly in front of the Pahaquarra Trading Post. The main part of camp spread out along Mine Brook, with campsites on both sides of the ravine. The waterfront area was along the Delaware River.

Map of Camp Pahaquarra (1961).

During the 1960s, rumors began that the US Government was about to condemn all private property holdings along both shores of the Delaware River in order to construct the Tocks Island Dam Project. In the early 1970s, rumors became facts and the George Washington Council was forced to sell Camp Pahaquarra to the government. We were not alone; other Boy Scout camps as well as farms and homes, were acquired by the government. 1971 was the final summer camping season at Camp Pahaquarra. Immediately after the last camper left, the Council moved "over the mountain"to its new camp - Yards Creek Scout Reservation. The Tocks Island Dam was never constructed. Today, both sides of the Delaware River are part of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The parade ground is now the Coppermine Parking Area. The buildings are all torn down, though the dining hall floor remains. Mine Brook continues to trickle along and the steps that descend to the tunnel used by thousands of Scouts to cross River Road (the Old Mine Road) are overgrown with moss.

The following two errors, amongst others, exist in the article:

  • Use of Phaquarra rather than Pahaquarra for the camp name is wrong.
  • The dates of 1925-1965/69, for the beginning and ending years, are wrong. Pahaquarra Scout Reservation continued to operate until after the 1971 summer camp season

Larry Gering
Camp Pahaquarra 1969-1971
Sanhican Lodge Chief 1974
PhD in Forest Biometrics 1985

Camp Pahaquarra History