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Basic Lodge Information

Council Information

Redwood Empire Council BSA is the local council of the Boy Scouts of America that serves youth in Mendocino, and Sonoma counties in California.  This council has been continuously chartered for 100 years, beginning in July 1919 as the Petaluma Council.


Geographical coverage area

From 1992 to early 2012, the Redwood Empire Council served Mendocino, Sonoma, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties.  Currently the coverage area includes Mendocino and Sonoma Counties and the LDS units in Lake County (as of January 2019).

Section Map

Council headquarters location

1000 Apollo Way, Suite 106
Santa Rosa, CA  95407

Important events and milestones

Previous BSA Councils

Petaluma Council

Petaluma Council was first chartered July 26, 1919, and by the end of its first year was serving the communities of Petaluma, Cotati, Sonoma, and Glen Ellen.  The Council was renamed the Petaluma Area Council (#41) and continued as such for many years.  Following a BSA Region 12 study, it was expanded in 1944 to accept the territory transfer of all chartered organizations and units in Mendocino County and northern Sonoma County (previously served by the Silverado Area Council).

Luther Burbank Council

The Luther Burbank Council (#34) served northern Sonoma County, primarily the communities of Healdsburg, Santa Rosa, and Sebastopol from 1923 to 1927, with a council office in Santa Rosa.  After the Luther Burbank Council disbanded, this northern Sonoma County area was transferred by BSA in 1928 to the Napa County Council with headquarters in Napa, CA, and then that council was renamed the Silverado Area Council.  Within several years, the Silverado Area Council later expanded again to begin serving Lake and Mendocino Counties.

Sonoma-Mendocino Area Council

SMAC Council PatchSMAC CSPSonoma-Mendocino Area Council (#041) was the new name chosen by the executive board for the expanded area of the Petaluma Area Council during the realignment of council areas in 1944.  This council operated Camp Noyo and later opened Camp Masonite Navarro, with the headquarters continuing in Petaluma.  In 1990, the council service center was relocated from Petaluma to Santa Rosa.


Redwood Area Council

The Redwood Area Council (#44) started on June 11, 1923 as the Redwood District Council and consisted of Del Norte, Humboldt, and Mendocino Counties, with the council office in Eureka, CA.  In 1928 Lake County joined in, but in 1932 Mendocino and Lake Counties were transferred to the Silverado Area Council and the name was changed to Redwood Area Council. 

Redwood Area CSP

1992 Council Merger

In 1992 the Sonoma-Mendocino Area Council (#41) was consolidated with the Redwood Area Council (#044), and the larger council was renamed the Redwood Empire Council (#41) to best reflect the character of the larger territory now served.  The council headquarters continued in Santa Rosa, but the Eureka office was kept open as a service center for the northern area of the enlarged council.

Humboldt & Del Norte Transfer

At the beginning of 2012 Redwood Empire Council reduced in territory size to the original boundaries of its original council of Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. Humboldt and Del Norte Counties (Mow-A-Toc Chapter) were transferred into Crater Lake CouncilExternal Link (#491).

Historical camps of Redwood Empire Council

Non-OA Honor Camper ("Pre-OA") Societies

Tribe of Noyo

Prior to 1944, the northern area of what became the Sonoma-Mendocino Area Council was part of the Silverado Area Council with headquarters located in Napa.  Our present Camp Noyo was the long term camping area for the Silverado Area Council, thus the name “Camp Silverado” is found on the Station and the NWPRR train schedule of that era. Camp Noyo is located about half way between Willits and Fort Bragg, a distance of 36 miles and the only access was by NWP train which ran from either town.  Camp Noyo continued as the council camp for the Sonoma-Mendocino Council during the territory transfer of 1944, and the remaining Silverado Area Council started a new summer camp for those living in the Napa, Lake, and western Solano County areas.

During its heyday, Camp Noyo had its own Tribe of Noyo.  When a Scout first attended camp, he was known as a “Neophyte.”  A formal induction ceremony was conducted at each Sunday evening campfire, and involved such ceremonial figures as the Supreme Chief, the Camp Chief, the Medicine Man, one dancer, and a drummer. In addition, all Scouts who had earned a merit badge or completed a rank advancement, were elevated to the status of “Brave.” Subsequently, second year braves were accorded the position of “Warrior,” third year campers who served on the Camp Staff, could in time become “Medicine Men” and “Chiefs.” In many instances, the latter honor required some 5 to 6 years of participation in the program offered at Camp Noyo. Each ceremony was conducted at a different site, taking most/all of a given Friday evening.

With the change from Camp Noyo to Camp Navarro, the last meeting of the Tribe of Noyo took place in 1958.

Noyo RibbonsNoyo Ribbon & Patches

Orca Lodge Founding

In 1992, the Redwood Empire Council was formed from a merger of the Redwood Area Council and the Sonoma Mendocino Area Council. Upon completion of the merger of the two councils the new Scout Executive appointed a new lodge adviser (both current lodge advisers had stepped down prior to the merger) and tasked the new leadership with forming one new lodge.  Cabrosha Lodge and Mow-A-Toc had long and storied pasts, being very active in Section W3B and other OA activities. 

In 1993 Lodge 537 was chartered with "No Lodge Name" and during the transition period, lodge flaps were issued that included the totems of both legacy lodges (complying with the "one lodge per council" rule but honoring the transition was still taking place). The new territory spanned an 8 hour drive border to border and several meetings were held throughout the 4 county geographic area.  Hundreds of hours were spent planning and organizing the merger, structure and even new by-laws with the final planning session being held at Camp Masonite Navarro, in the California Redwoods,starting a tradition of lodge fellowship weekends and bring the youth together to learn that the lodge becomes stronger when the bonds of brotherhood are shared. 

Two intense years of planning and organizing finally came to a close with the formation of Orca Lodge 194. Orca Lodge held its first Lodge Dinner on January 6, 1994. It is only fitting that 194 was granted as the Lodge's number, as it symbolizes the date (1/94) of the founding of the Lodge. The totem of the Lodge is that of the Killer whale, or Orca.

REC Lodge FlapREC Lodge Flap

Predecessor Lodges

Council Reorganization (Lodge Impact)

In January of 2012, we were informed that effective immediately, Redwood Empire Council was being reorganized.  The area of the old Sonoma-Mendocino Area Council would continue to be served by Redwood Empire Council, while the area of the old Redwood Area Council (Humboldt and Del Norte counties) would transfer to Crater Lake Council.  There had been speculation for a few months about this change, but the speed at which it happened caught the Lodge off guard.

We decided to continue with our planned Lodge Leader Development weekend scheduled for the following week in Arcata, CA.  It was very important to get as many of the members from the Cabrosha Chapter to this event as possible.  At the time of the split, all of the Lodge Officers were members of the Mow-A-Toc Chapter, and would no longer be a part of Orca. 

Lo La'Qam Geela Flap

Representatives from Lo La'Qam GeelaExternal Link Lodge joined us for the training and fellowship that rainy weekend.  At the end of the weekend, we held our final LEC meeting with Mow-A-Toc Chapter in attendance.  The officers of Cabrosha chapter were voted into their respective Orca Lodge positions by this outgoing LEC.  The Orca officers that were transferring to Lo La'Qam Geela Lodge were able to join their new Lodge with the positions that they had been elected to (with minor modifications on the Chief role).  All Mow-A-Toc members in attendance that weekend were also presented with their new Lodge flap.

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