Camp History

Hundreds of years of Native American travel had made a known trail along the west side of the Chippewa River through today’s Trail's End Camp. Travel along the worn trail involved many purposes – migrations to and from seasonal camps, trade with other groups, and for social events. Before the coming of the White Man, Chippewa, Sioux an other tribes traveled the route – even Copper Culture People, who were here before the arrival of Columbus.

The old trail through Trail's End was also popular with feuding Sioux and Chippewa and was later known as the “Road of War”.

The Chippewa defeated the Sioux in 1790. The bloody battle helped to put the Chippewa back in control of the whole Chippewa Valley. The defeated Sioux eventually moved west in Wisconsin.

French Voyagers also traveled the Chippewa River trading with the Indians.

Due to the Homestead Act of 1862 settlers traveling along the old native trails would improve the road width to accommodate wagons and teams. This improved road through Trail's End existed by 1875 and was known as the “Chippewa Trail”

Sam and Sarah Johnson claimed the land for their own in 1874.

In 1881 The Big Bend Stage Line was built for people to travel from Chippewa Falls 88 miles North. The line passed through Trail's End Camp.

In 1886 The Johnson’s sold the land for $2,000.00 to the Logging Company.

The Logging Company cut down all of the trees and used the river to move them. By 1900 all of the trees had been cut down. The land remained empty and unused.

In 1926 the County of Rusk purchased the land.

In 1933 a man named Claude Ebling had a plan for Trail's End Camp. On August 10 he took his plan to the Rusk County Commissioner for approval. It was granted and the land was deeded to a special 4-H committee for the use of 4-H and FFA youth activities.

The summer of 1934 was the beginning of camp activities – nearly 600 people showing for this first official club outing.

A daily newspaper called the “Trails End Echoes” was printed daily to report the camp activities.

In 1959 the camp expanded from 86 acres to 149.5 acres. Improved bridges were built and new larger buildings were added to provide food and entertainment to campers.