Council HomeAdminThursday November 23, 2017

Local lawyer R. W. Johnson, his son Robert M. A. Johnson, Federal Cartridge official Tom Haller, and Isanoka District Scout Executive Tom Manko had as their mission the selection of a property for a new Boy Scout camp in the growing Twin Cities Metro Area.

The Joseph Bowory farm in then Ramsey Township had all the attributes necessary to become an exciting Scout camp – 167 acres on the Rum River, easy access to the heart of the Metro population center, magnificent mixed hardwood forested areas, wetlands, and open prairie acreages.

Anoka businessman Harlan Thurston commissioned Manko to find such a property and then gave to the Viking Council a “penny stock” with sufficient market value to provide the $10,000 purchase price.The Rum River Scout Camp was deeded to the Viking Council on November 6, 1957.

As the camp grew, so did the need for more facilities.Once again Harlan Thurston sensed the urgency of this need and in 1972 made known his decision to donate securities to Viking Council to provide funding for a Rum River Camp master Building. The $50,000 Thurston Lodge at Rum River Scout Camp was opened with a Scouter fund-raising breakfast on February 6, 1974.

If you have any additional information on Harlan Thurston that should be made available to others, please email it to the WebMaster at

Thurston Lodge at Rum River

Caretaker and Ranger History
??? Larry and Cheryl Mercer
???  - 1975 Tom Manko
1975 - Present Bob Litke
Read about some of the important people in the history of Rum River Scout Camp:

Ranger Bob Litke

Harlan Thurston

Julian Schmidt

Duane Haugan