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Before Pinecrest

March 6, 2012

The footage is of the Lair of the Golden Bear from the year 1948, shot by none other than Robert Sibley, former longtime executive director of the California Alumni Association and also for many years editor of the California Monthly, the predecessor publication to CALIFORNIA. Lair veterans will qulckly notice that this is not the Lair they know and love, but rather its forerunner, in Shasta County.

The story goes like this: Sometime in the late 40s, a certain Mildred Clemens (distant cousin to Sam), walked into Bob Sibley’s office with an offer to sell the association some land she owned near Lake Shasta. An avid outdoorsman, Sibley (sometimes remembered as the father of the East Bay Regional Parks) had for some time envisioned a camp where alumni could recreate with their families. Intrigued by the offer, he took it to the Alumni Council, which somewhat reluctantly approved a one-year lease on the property beginning in 1947. And this became the Lair of the Bear, the first alumni family camp in the country.

The land proved to be less than optimal, and the site moved to Pinecrest two years later. But the name stuck. 65 years after that first summer in Shasta, the Lair of the Bear still operates, hosting more than 10,000 campers annually.

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