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Camp Wapello

Preservation Group

P.O. Box 123
Bloomfield, Iowa  52537-0123

Camp Wapello History

Camp Wapello is located six miles west of Drakesville, Iowa, on the southern end of Wapello State Park.  Camp Wapello was founded in 1932 by George Foster, President of the John Morrell Packing company in Ottumwa.  Foster donated 88 acres of land to the Southern Iowa Boy Scout Council, then headquartered in Ottumwa.   Through the efforts of Foster, the George Foster Fund, the Exchange Bank of Bloomfield, the Union Bank of Ottumwa, and many others, Camp Wapello grew and expanded.  In 1965, 80 acres of land was donated from the historic Steckel Ranch, founded during the Civil War.

During the early 1970' the Southern Iowa Council merged with the Tall Corn Council, and formed the Mid-Iowa Council, BSA.  In 1982, the Scout Council sold Camp Wapello to the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation who in turn sold it to the Department of Natural Resources in 1984.  Both purchases were subject to a sublease agreement with the Mid-Iowa Council, BSA to continue usage of the camp as a year-round facility for Scouting programs.

In 1992, the property reverted solely to the Department of Natural Resources.  The Camp Wapello Preservation Group was formed in the fall of 1992 and early 2003 by Ed Cox, Marlowe Dickinson, Jeff and Jerry Kincart, and Dr. J.L. Stogdill.  The Group purchased Camp Wapello from the Department of Natural Resources in April 1995.  Camp Wapello had served primarily as a Boy Scout Camp since it's founding and the Mid-Iowa Council signed a lease with the Group to continue using the camp for it's summer program in Southern Iowa.  The Group is in the process of updating all facilities and the camp is available to all youth and adult organizations, companies, Senior Citizen groups, Church retreats, individuals, families, and civic groups, by reservation. Nominal rates are available for day or week usage.  Anyone can become a member of the group.  In 1996, the Group attained site-approved accreditation from the American Camping Association for the camp.

Facilities include a central dining hall, health lodge, modern shower facility, shelter, and nature center.  In the fall of 1991, Lake Wapello was drained.  The lake was sculpted and a fish habitat was installed.  The lake and beach area, with it's boat house, offer various waterfront activities such as canoeing, sailing, rowing and swimming.

Camp Wapello is the starting point of the Bo Qui Trail, which was constructed during the summers of 1980 and 1981, under the direction of the Order of the Arrow, BSA.  The 15 mile trail travels around Lake Wapello, Iowa's oldest man-made lake. Nature and hiking trails offer opportunities for camper/day users to experience the abundant wildlife that inhabit the area.  Rifle, shotgun and archery ranges are also available.  There are 10 developed campsites for camping and cooking.  These facilities offer opportunities for campers to work on basic outdoor skills or just enjoy a quiet day or weekend in the woods.

The Camp Wapello Preservation Group also holds several events during the calendar year which are of interest to all ages.  These events, which are publicized at the time of occurrence, offer an opportunity to partake in fun, family-oriented activities in an outdoor setting.

The Camp Wapello Preservation Group is a nonprofit organization and does not receive federal or state funding and is not a United Way agency.  It is solely dependent on donations and usage fees to continue operating as an outdoor learning experience available for all ages.

Area Links:

Lake Wapello State Park Visit Davis County
Davis County Fair & Old Time Music Festival
All Right Reserved.  Camp Wapello Preservation Group. 2012