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Camp Ronald McDonald®
at Eagle Lake
A Project of RMHC Northern California
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History

Camp Ronald McDonald was the idea of one man, Forest Ranger Bob Olson of Lassen National Forest in Northern California. Forest Ranger Bob had heard about the successful Camp Ronald McDonald in Southern California. He thought, 'Why not in Northern California? Why not a Camp in Northern California, on the edge of Eagle Lake like the Camp in Southern California?' Luckily, his thoughts were met with support by Northern California McDonald's restaurant owner/operators who agreed to provide the initial funding for the project.
Camp Ronald McDonald opened in 1992 under the umbrella of Eagle Lake Children's Charities. Camp served 30 disadvantaged and disabled campers during that first year and began to grow steadily. In 1997, Eagle Lake Children's Charities merged with a McDonald's cooperative of owner/operators in Northern California to form Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern California. The cooperative also helped to build a Ronald McDonald House in Sacramento, providing a 'home-away-from-home' for families of critically ill and injured children. Years later nearly 1,000 campers with special needs are served each summer.

Built on the edge of Eagle Lake near Susanville, Camp Ronald McDonald sits on 35 acres of land with space for more than 100 campers at a time. The area is of particular interest to Sacramento-area historians, as Camp's headquarters is the Gallatin House. The Gallatin family fortune was built on lumber, trains, and other interests. In fact, Albert Gallatin brought lights to downtown Sacramento for the first time and his company became known as Pacific Gas & Electric. Albert & Malvena's home in Sacramento became the Governor's Mansion at 16th and H streets when they gave it to the State. The house that Malvena built in 1913 at Eagle Lake was originally given to the US Forest Service. Today, it is part of Camp Ronald McDonald at Eagle Lake.

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