New Owners Open Camp Pollock To The Public

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

A beloved riverfront site for many Sacramento area Boy Scouts and their families for the past 91 years opens to the public this week, but help is needed to help the restore the site to its previous natural splendor and to update it for future use.

South Natomas’ Camp Pollock — brimming with wildlife and easy
access to the American River — is now open daily from sunrise until dusk.

While accessible during the day, the rundown property is not yet ready for overnight camping, said Aimee Rutledge, executive director of the Sacramento Valley Conservancy, now managing the open space.

To help get the 11-acre site ready for overnight visits and other planned activities, staff are holding the first of many weekly volunteer cleanup and improvement days beginning 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2.

The non-profit Sacramento Valley Conservancy plans to convert the riverbank property into a bustling nature center with an interpretive riparian garden and other outdoor interpretive programs.

“We hope to teach people the value of the river that is right in their own backyard,” said Rutledge.

Estimated costs to upgrade and improve the site from its current condition range from $350,000 to $500,000, she said. Plans are to expand camping areas, construct benches and picnic tables, create trails and to improve the main entryway and parking area.

On Saturdays, indefinitely, volunteers, who need to sign up beforehand, will help with the work. Volunteers with construction, painting and plumbing experience are especially needed.

Plans to improve Camp Pollock’s lodge, built in 1924 by the Sacramento Lions Club, include installing a new kitchen, creating an entryway courtyard and making American Disability Act improvements. When renovated, the lodge, which features a large room centered by a 25-foot tall river rock fireplace, will host community meetings and private events.

So far, the Sacramento County Flood Agency has pledged $150,000 for improvements. In addition, the conservancy received a $50,000 grant from Wells Fargo Bank in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Staff hope to complete all improvements by summer 2014.

Currently, the river-side property located under Highway 160 between Northgate and Del Paso boulevards, includes open areas to explore as well as access to the river for kayaking and canoeing. Restrooms and parking are available.

Initial volunteers from the Woodlake Neighborhood Association, including Bob Slobe, the founder and current board member of the Sacramento Valley Conservancy, helped ready Camp Pollock for daily use.

“It feels like you’ve gone back in time when you go there even though it is only five minutes from the Capitol,” said Slobe. “We’ve seen river otters, geese, skunks, raccoons and hawks.”

Representatives from American River Flood District worked on getting the site ready for visitors.

The Sacramento Valley Conservancy facilitated the sale of Camp Pollock to the California Lands Commission by the Golden Empire Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The sale closed escrow Tuesday, Jan. 22. The North Sacramento Land Company originally donated the land to the council in 1922.

The California State Lands Commission bought the property for $300,000, said Rutledge. The conservancy’s 25-year lease comes with the right to renew in another 25 years.




  1. Tara Martin VanTeslaar says

    Sounds like a great place to volunteer if you live in the Sacramento area!

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