About Camp Lakamaga
Camp Lakamaga is a year-round destination located 30 miles northeast of Minneapolis. From woods to wetlands, prairies to rolling hills, campers will enjoy Camp Lakamaga’s beautiful 1,200 acres in a safe and fun environment.
Lakamaga’s Early History
Camp Lakamaga is on land that was originally Rask Farm, one of the oldest Swedish settlements in Minnesota. Local Boy Scouts started using the land as a camp in 1926. The Boy Scouts named the camp Lakamaga, which was meant to mean “Big Lake” in Latin (but is actually a poor translation). In those early days, the Boy Scouts would travel to Lakamaga by train from St. Paul to Copas, a tiny village near Marine, and then they hiked the rest of the way to camp.
The Girl Scouts bought Camp Lakamaga in 1930, and it’s been a destination for Minnesota girls ever since. When it opened as a Girl Scout camp, one week of camp cost $8.50 and it was $17 for a two-week session. The first building the Girl Scouts constructed was their lodge, a beautiful log cabin building that served as the original dining hall and program center. When camp opened in 1930, the lakeshore spanned all the way up to the lodge, and the swimming beach was directly in front of the building. In 2000, when the new dining hall was built, the Lodge was converted into a program center, and it now serves as the art building for camp.
The Edgewood building was also built in 1930, and served as the original infirmary. It still serves as the health center during camp season, and is available seasonally in the spring and fall for renters.
Evolution of Lakamaga’s Housing
Platform tents were once considered luxurious camping accommodations, as their wooden floors and frames provide a spacious tent for four campers. Now Lakamaga only has a few of these tents remaining, and they are mostly used by older campers. You can find platform tents at the Inisfree unit, which is named for a place in Ireland immortalized by the poet Yeats. This unit is on the site of the original log and sod houses used by the Rask family.
In 2006, we built yurts, which are based on the traditional Mongolian housing style. These are very popular with modern campers, as they house up to 12 girls and provide ample room for girls, their gear, and socializing.
The Aintree unit has several beautiful log cabins that can be used year-round. This unit used to be called “portage”, since there wasn’t originally a path to it and campers needed to carry in their supplies and gear. Similar cabins can be found at the Lochbrae Unit, and it’s name is Scottish for a “slope by the lake”.
Twenty-first Century Improvements
In 2000, local Girl Scouts undertook a massive campaign to improve their camp facilities, and girls today enjoy many modern buildings at Lakamaga thanks to this investment. The biggest building that came from this campaign is the Annie Paper Dining Hall, a 10,000 square foot facility that provides modern dining for up to 299 people, program areas, and houses the trading post. Other facilities that were built as part of this campaign include the Agnes Ober Program Center, and the Coya Knutson Sports Pavilion.