Lassen Volcanic National Park officials are planning a campground specifically taylored to youth groups to further enhance opportunities for youngsters to camp, explore and experience the park.
Crags Campground, located just 4.4 miles from the Manzanita Lake Entrance Station, has been the site of numerous camping adventures by children participating in Lassen Park Foundation's Youth Camping Program. For the past 16 years, this program has supported non-profit youth groups that serve at-risk or underserved youth by awarding scholarships to assist with camping costs. Many of these young participants have never camped or visited a national park before participating in the youth camping program.
The new youth camping facility will create deep connections between a younger generation and the park through outdoor immersion. A wide range of youth organizations including school groups, educational groups, and scouting organizations will be encouraged to use this designated facility to introduce children to their national park.
The Crags Youth Camp is slated to open in 2016, in time for Lassen Volcanic National Park's 100th Anniversary. The existing Crags Campground will be upgraded to include two group camping areas comprised of five tent cabins, a picnic/cooking pavilion, and shared amphitheater and shower facilities.
Currently, youth groups are required to bring all of their own camping equipment, so these expanded facilities will improve accessibility for a greater number of groups and reduce the amount of equipment required for first-time campers. The costs of these facility upgrades will be made possible through fundraising by the Lassen Park Foundation and project funding through the National Park Service.
In addition to camping facilities at Crags Campground, Lassen provides a dedicated youth camping ranger and a wide variety of programs including guided walks, ranger talks, and in-camp activities. New discovery packs, made possible with a grant from the National Park Foundation, provide field guides, exploration tools, and a digital camera for participants to document their adventures. Groups receive a CD loaded with photos and videos from their time at Lassen, allowing them to reconnect with the park at any time. Assistance is also provided by the park's high school interpretive interns who offer assistance with activities and act as mentors and role models for participants.