Camp Don Harrington

Camp Don Harrington was opened in 1945 and encompasses more than 1,600 acres of property in the section of Palo Duro Canyon to the west. The camp was named after the man who donated land for the facility. The Harringtons played a pivotal role in development of the Amarillo area since. They began their contributions to the community with the donation of the property Camp Don Harrington is located on. It was given to the Llano Estacado Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The Harrington’s contributions now exceed $400 million dollars including various gifts and grants through the Don and Sybil Harrington Foundation.

Mr. Harrington became a resident of the city in 1926 during the oil boom and worked with notable names such as Stanley Marsh Jr. and Lawrence Hagy. He is responsible for the design of the Cargray Plant. After marrying his spouse Sybil Buckingham, the two purchased a now historic house known today as the Harrington House. The house was opened as a museum in 1985 because of Mrs. Harrington’s collection of fine and decorative arts. Before that, they opened their home to the Amarillo Fine Arts Association for a benefit. The Don and Sybil Harrington Foundation became a supporting organization for the Amarillo Area Foundation in 1988.

Along with the land for Camp Don Harrington, the couple made many more contributions and their name is featured on numerous non profit buildings, medical facilities, and the regional medical center. Don Harrington passed away in 1974 which made Sybil Harrington the President of the foundation. She continued her generous contributions and gave to the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra as well as West Texas State University. Because of her donations, the Lonestar Ballet was able to put on annual productions of The Nutcracker. She also donated costumes, lighting, and other technical aspects to the musical theater production held every year in Palo Duro Canyon.

Camp Don Harrington is owned by the Golden Spread Council. This organization is the local sector of the Boy Scouts of America in the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles. The first 640 acres were from Mr. Don Harrington himself and following his death, his wife donated funds to refurbish the camp. It features 12 campsites and is open for year-round camping on the weekends. There is a dining hall and kitchen, two pools, archery and rifle ranges, a bike trail, and a shotgun range that is larger than any other in the area. Canoeing, fishing, and rowing can be done on the lake.

There is a rope course that challenges guests’ physical, mental, and emotional toughness. Known as the C.O.P.E. program, the goal is to build self esteem, trust, leadership, and teamwork. It is also meant to strengthen communication, decision making, and problem solving skills through the course. The Boy Scouts of America say C.O.P.E. is different from any other obstacle courses because it focuses on all three aspects of human composition: the mind, body, and soul. There are 18 parts to the course that encourages teams to effectively communicate and carry out tasks.

The next article in our series can be read when you click here.

Map from Camp Don Harrington to AW Broadband:

Map from Camp Don Harrington to Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge:

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