YMCA of Greater Seattle Purchases Land for New Overnight Camp

Last updated: June 2, 2022, at 6:43 a.m. PT

Originally published: September 20, 2021, at 2:47 p.m. PT

Mineral Lake

Mineral Lake to become Y’s first new camp site in over 100 years, reducing waitlists for youth

MINERAL LAKE — Sept. 20, 2021 — The YMCA of Greater Seattle is one step closer to establishing a new overnight camp for youth and families with the purchase of a 500-acre parcel adjacent to Mineral Lake in east Lewis County at the southwest base of Mount Rainier. 

With philanthropic support from the Norcliffe Foundation, the Nisqually Indian Tribe, and generous donors, the Y completed the purchase in September. With additional philanthropic support of community partners who recognize the benefits of the great outdoors to youth and families, the Y has also launched a capital campaign to acquire an additional 1600 acres adjacent to the purchased land to offer youth and families hiking, swimming, canoeing and other traditional activities, as well as new innovative camp offerings such as education on the natural environment, sustainable forestry practices and the cultural history of the region.

“The Nisqually Tribe is looking forward to the partnership with the Greater YMCA of Seattle,” said Chairman Willie Frank III, Chairman of the Nisqually tribal council. “We see this as a chance to educate youth about the history of the Nisqually Tribe and we’re excited to see how this relationship will grow.”

The Y continues to work with the Nisqually Indian Tribe and other community partners in and around Mineral Lake to advance equitable access to the outdoors, with environmental, health and cultural programming for all communities, including tribal members and their families, as well as residents of Lewis County and campers throughout Washington. 

“We are excited to announce the purchase of what we hope will become a new source of excitement, learning, and positive memories for generations of Washington youth and families,” said YMCA of Greater Seattle President and CEO Loria Yeadon. “We are humbled and grateful for the financial support of the Norcliffe Foundation, the Nisqually Indian Tribe, and other dedicated donors who have helped make the first phase of this site purchase possible.”

This significant step allows the Y to serve more families, but the Y also recognizes that additional permitting work, studies, and fundraising lie ahead, and we remain committed to working with local and county officials, residents, and community partners, throughout the planning and fundraising process.

“We are excited to continue our legacy of developing future stewards of our environment at Mineral Lake as we work to protect and preserve these lands.” Yeadon said.  

Planning for the camp is underway, including site studies, water supply, traffic, and waste treatment studies, which will be completed before any construction takes place. Ahead of public hearings the Y will continue to host local meetings and encourage dialog with area residents to answer questions about the camp and its footprint within the community of Mineral, and to explore how the Y can best engage and support area residents.

The Y is committed to being a good shepherd of nature, a great neighbor in our community, and working together to connect all youth, especially youth of color, to the outdoors. 

“The opportunities for youth and families to experience the outdoors have not grown at the same pace of population growth in western Washington,” said Meredith Cambre, Senior Executive Director for the YMCA of Greater Seattle. “Experiential outdoor education activities give youth essential tools to develop their fullest potential, and that shared outdoor experiences make families and communities more resilient.”

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The YMCA of Greater Seattle is the Northwest’s leading nonprofit organization strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Founded in 1876, the Y reaches more than 238,000 people of all backgrounds, abilities, and financial circumstances annually through 14 branches, two overnight camps, and more than 200 program sites throughout King and south Snohomish counties. It nurtures more than 92,000 kids and teens to develop their gifts and give back to the community and engages 23,000 volunteers who contribute more than 388,000 hours of service each year. Visit seattleymca.org to learn more.