Linn County: Repairs to a lake, cabins and roads improve the experience for campers of all ages at this forest retreat near Lebanon.

Repairs to a lake, cabins and roads improve the experience for campers of all ages at this forest retreat near Lebanon.

At Camp Tadmor, the outdoor experience begins the moment you step off the bus.

“Even the parking lot is surrounded by trees that are 100 or 125 feet tall,” says Dave Bertz, Director of Operations for the camp. “When people come out here, they really are getting away.”

Because Camp Tadmor is tucked away on 205 acres of towering forests at the foot of the Cascade Range, visitors can easily forget they’re just 20 minutes outside of Lebanon, Oregon.

And with activities like archery, canoeing, hiking, disk golf and ropes courses, it’s no wonder this is a favorite spot for families, private groups, kids and teachers to immerse themselves in nature. In 2014, an outdoor school teacher recommended that Camp Tadmor apply to the Gray Family Foundation for help with some needed facility repairs.

“That meant a lot of us, for one of our school systems to say ‘this is a top place to do outdoor education, and they are worthy of support,’ ” Bertz says.

The resulting grant enabled the camp to drain, repair and refill its four-acre lake, the picturesque centerpiece of its grounds. The kitchen is now up to code with a new fire suppression system. The cabins have 100 new mattresses, and two lakeside dormitories got a facelift with new paint. Finally, the camp completed extensive repairs to its road system, which is critical for transporting campers and staff around the large property.

Many volunteers pitched in to help with repairs, resulting in a 50 percent boost in volunteer hours from the previous year.

“It feels really good,” Bertz says of the upgrades.