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YMCA Camp Linwood-MacDonald
Branchville, NJ, 07826
Phone: 973-948-7090

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At YMCA Camp Linwood MacDonald we are committed to providing a high quality experience for each and every group. Whether a trip of 15 or a two week summer program of 150, we ensure the best quality experience through experienced friendly staff and a wide range of recreational and education activities. Your group will enjoy our comfortable lodges and home made meals.

Hundreds of millions of years ago, during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic Eras, the region known as modern New Jersey was part of the super continent of Pangaea. It lay alongside Africa and faced a great inland sea where Pennsylvania now exists. The Appalachian Mountains are a product of this period and the ancient collision between Africa and North America. Pangaea started to break apart around 180 million years ago creating the present-day continents. At the same time, natural erosion scoured the peaks of the Appalachians. Glacial forces and ongoing erosion continued to shape the region's topography into what we see today, including the Kittatinny Ridge where High Point, New Jersey's tallest peak, can be found.

A variety of Native American tribes inhabited the New Jersey/New York/Pennsylvania region. The Lenni-Lenapi (also known as Delaware Indians) were the dominate tribe in New Jersey prior to European colonization. They depended on agriculture and hunting for their food. Their early contact with Europeans was through the Dutch fur trade, where they traded beaver pelts for European goods such as metal tools. The Lenni-Lenapi has the Distinction of being the first Native American tribe to sign a treaty with the United States government and gave the Continental Army military support during the Revolutionary War. Evidence of a Lenni-Lenapi campsite has been found along the Flatbrook River.

The first known European "owner" of the property that would later become the site of Camp Linwood MacDonald was John Merring. Mr. Merring was born in 1776. He was a dairy farmer by trade and grew crops for personal use. In addition to being an agriculturalist, John Merring was also a blacksmith. A carriage house and well dating back to his lifetime can still be found on the site. The present-day pavilion stands were a barn used to be. Mr. Merring passed away in 1842, and the property passed into the hands of his eight children. John Merring's descendants continued to own this property until contacted by the Newark

In 1959 the Y contacted Margaret Craig Weaver who agreed to fund the acquisition of this property for use as a senior citizen's retreat center. The camp was named "Linwood", Mrs. Weaver’s father's middle name. Robert Rooke provided the funds to build the dam creating the camp’s lake.

Sitting across the Flatbrook River from Camp Linwood at the time was Camp MacDonald. The Newark YMCA purchased this property in the 1960s with funds provided by Nester MacDonald. This property was used as an environmental education center. Although the two camps collaborated on a number of matters, they remained distinct entities and ran separate programming.

In 1990 the Camp MacDonald property was sold to the state of New Jersey and added to Stokes State Forest.

At this time the names were consolidated and Camp Linwood became known as YMCA Camp Linwood MacDonald Environmental Education and Conference Center.

1967 – dining hall, cabins and dam built

1969 – Percy Smith Lodge built

1998 – amphitheater built. This was made possible by a gift           from the Margaret Craig Weaver Foundation.

2000 – pavilion built

2005 – staff house built

2005 – maintenance shop built

2006 – bird observatory built



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/wk (Please contact camp for exact pricing.)
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  • Art
  • Crafting
  • Dance
  • Gaming


(Please contact camp directly for updated session schedule.)

Please visit the website for date and rates.


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