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Sunday, April 5, 2020

Tomahawk Scout Reservation History


The year was 1952, and the Indianhead Council Board of Directors was looking for a new camp. Their existing facility, Camp Neibel serving just over 1,000 campers, had been outgrown. The camp was named after Frank Neibel, Council Scout Executive from 1915 – 1937.
A contract to purchase 1,932 acres of land with over eight miles of shoreline on Long Lake was signed on February 14, 1953. The land was purchased from Aksel Nielsen, a restaurateur from Illinois, who had originally planned to raise cattle on the property. The Nielsen family continues to maintain a summer home near Tomahawk's entrance.

Work on the new camp began immediately that summer with troops working to clear campsites, roads and trails. The first two summers were fairly rugged as the camp developed. By 1955, the camp was ready to run a full program with troops camping in what would later become Chippewa Camp.

By 1958, campsites were found throughout Chippewa Camp, stretching south into the area now called Sioux Camp. During the summer of ’58, Tomahawk was officially dedicated.

In 1965, Tomahawk was serving over 3,000 Scouts each summer. It was a thriving two-camp reservation, gaining a nation-wide reputation as an outstanding Scout Reservation.

Tomahawk began being used beyond the summer months in 1979, when the Spearhead winter program started. This was the first of the programs that currently makes up Tomahawk Snow Base.

Tomahawk’s renaissance again began taking place in 1991 with several new additions to the camp. The central kitchen facility was moved from Chippewa Camp to the Central Service Lodge, allowing for the expansion of the Chippewa Dining Hall, and for the ability to serve more campers out of a central kitchen facility.

The addition of Navajo Webelos Camp came in 1991. A year later, in 1992, the Randall Scout Ranch was acquired bringing the total acreage to 2,500. Steadily increasing numbers of campers provoked the initiation of Tomahawk’s newest sub-camp, White Pine. Construction began in 1994, with its first full season coming in 1995.

Today, Tomahawk is among the largest and most prominent Scout
Reservations in the country. It serves over 10,000 youth and leaders annually through year-round camping opportunities.

It is the practice of Tomahawk to lead the way with progressive
programs and safety measures. As we look to the future, Tomahawk continues to demonstrate an innovative spirit in an effort to forever lead the country with the highest quality camping programs.

As the Indianhead Council prepares to kick off a $10 million capital
campaign, the results are already visible in camp. The most prominent of these results is seen by raising your eyes to the sky and viewing the new 125 foot flagpole. Also, in Chippewa Camp, you will see the new state-of-the-art shower house, storm shelter and boathouse multi-purpose building. Other camp improvements planned as part of the capital campaign include:

Campsite Equipment & Improvements
Family Cabin Renovation (2 planned)
Staff Cabin Renovation (2 planned)
Chapel Renovation (2 facilities)
Storm Shelter (4 planned)
Administration Building Remodel

The face of Tomahawk will continue to change in the future, but the
faces of Scouts camping in it’s woods will always be the same….
Smiles from ear to ear.







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