Camp Hancock is an
OMSI sponsored field station for the promotion of science
education, located 2 miles east of the John Day river in NE Oregon in the
Clarno Fossil Beds.
Hancockís facility is
well-equipped but rustic. Most of the buildings were built in the late
1960s and are wood with cedar shake roofs. It is a rustic youth
camp with bunkhouses, mess hall, bathrooms (hot water and showers), and
limited camping area. There are no planned activities except viewing, eating.
napping, chatting, reading, napping, hiking, and did I
mention an afternoon nap? The science buildings are not open to us and we have
no activities planned for kids.
Children are not
allowed without parents and must be under parental supervision at all
Both the men's and women's rest rooms
have hot and cold running water, showers, heat, and electricity. In
addition, there are two outhouses on site, which we are encouraged to use as a way to conserve water.
In the event of an emergency, Hancockís phone number is 541-763-4691,
but be aware that it will go to an answering machine and may not be
answered promptly. There is no cell phone service at Hancock Field
Station, but there is a pay-phone in the dining hall for outgoing
Smoking is allowed only in the campfire
ring area, never, never, never in the mess hall or cabins or anywhere
else on the grounds at Hancock.
Because of OMSI
requirements we do NOT allow drop-ins or visitors, except those that
are registered and spending at least one night.
- if camping, Camp stoves only, no open fires
- NO smoking except at the fire pit
- NO PETS (this has been an
issue in the past, please respect the Campís rules)
- No Bicycles in camp or on trails
- No camping or parking on the
surrounding park service land
Here is a old PDF file with more
information from OMSI about
Camp Hancock (a teacher's guide).
Why just one price?
Hancock has changed their pricing and
we are now being charged just a flat facility fee per person, per
for use of Hancock, the facilities and food.
The Hancock facility is nice because we have two elevated viewing
areas with AC power available, you can set up and leave your gear up
all weekend, the only people there are other astronomers, Hancock cooks
the meals, there are actual restrooms and hot showers, off the beaten
track, no traffic nearby, free internet service, no bright lights,
very dark skies, dry buildings if the weather is not cooperative, and
not accessible to the public, plus they let us have the camp to
ourselves and adjust the meal times to suit our hours.
Camp Hancock fees are more in line with going to an
attraction/convention/resort where you are paying per person to
use and enjoy the facilities, rather than renting a space to park your
vehicle. The charges are not ours, but are what we are charged by OMSI
for use of the facilities and staff. We are charged per person per night
whether you are bunkhousing/RVing/Tenting and/or food/no-food and there is a minimum
charge that we have to meet or exceed. Our registration charges for
Camp Hancock have always covered our OMSI fees in the past and there
have so far been no subsidies from RCA funds.
When we go to Hancock in October, the fee will be per person per
night. All meals and bunk included. If you wish to bring camping gear,
RV or trailer, the charge will be the same per person per night. If
you wish to bring and cook your own food, or go out for food, the charge is the same.
Other groups like ours
(non-kid-summer-camp/do-your-own-thing) are charged $65 and up per night
per person and must be registered and paid 30 days in advance
(RV/tent/bunkhouse/food/no-food are all the same price), plus extra
for RVs using electricity, plus extra for internet service, plus
higher minimums, plus extra for...etc. etc. In addition they sometimes
have to share the camp with another group. Because of our long history
of supporting the Hancock astronomy programs and equipment, and our
relationship with OMSI, they allow us special pricing and the camp to
The camp is about 150 miles (as the
crow flies) from Portland and
have two routes to choose from:
1) Take Hwy 26 east over Mount Hood.
Turn left onto Hwy 216 (approximately milepost 72), and go through
Pine Grove and Wapinitia and it will will take you to Hwy 197 just west of
Maupin. Turn right on Hwy 197 and go through Maupin and take it south to it's junction
with Hwy 97. Turn left onto Hwy 97 and take it to Shaniko.
(Note: there is an alternative from
Maupin. At the bottom of the hill as you cross the river just at the end of the bridge over
the river is Bakeoven Road. It's a 180 degree turn from the bridge
to get onto it and it comes out 1 mile east of Shaniko.)
2) Take I-84 east from Portland to
Biggs Junction (exit 104), exit and head south on Hwy 97 to Shaniko.
Then at Shaniko, turn south onto Hwy 218
(Shaniko-Fossil Hwy) and continue through Antelope and east
towards Clarno near the John Day River. Look for the entrance to
Camp Hancock EXACTLY two miles east of the John Day River.
Plan on a 3.5 hour drive from Portland
via Highway 26, and 4.5 hours via Highway 84, plus any stops you may
make. Don't forget to gas up, it can be 50 miles between gas
stations out here.
A map with the layout of
the bunkhouses, restrooms, etc. at Camp Hancock is here (81kb).
The center of camp is located at:
44 degrees, 55 minutes,
120 degrees, 25 minutes,
at an altitude of 1585 feet.
Camp Hancock is within the National
Park Service Clarno Fossil beds. For NPS information look
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Weather is almost always better on the
east side than the west side of the Cascades.
The expected temperatures are expected
to be around 50-70 in the daytime and 30-40 at night. But then Venus runs about
800 degrees and Mars about -200 degrees, so in the astronomically
immediate area, Camp Hancock is always balmy.
Bring warm clothing, it will be very cold at
night no matter how nice the day is.
The clear sky clock for the next 48
However, the weather is usually better than
Because we have a contract with OMSI to
use Camp Hancock we never cancel due to any weather related
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three viewing areas at Camp
Hancock. However, the camp at 1500 feet is surrounded by hills as high
as 3000 feet,
so the horizons are about 20 degrees up, but that helps keep the
light pollution down.
- Astronomy Hill has four AC outlets,
you can drive up and unload your equipment, and then park out on the
western edge, or down below the hill.
- The Ridge has eight AC outlets, you
can drive up and unload your equipment, but there's only room for
one vehicle at a time, and you must park down below.
- The grassy tent lawn area has no AC
outlets, but parking is right there.
- Please stay off the Staff's lawn
in front of the staff cabins.
- Dob Valley may be used only between
the road and the first ditch.
Don't forget the red flashlights, red
covers for computer screens, etc. You know the drill.
If you are new to observing, here are
Star Party Etiquette suggestions.
we're here - a view of the lights in the area.
The Ridge looking south towards
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Meals are included in your registration fees :
The dining hall is enclosed, has
screened windows, and heat. We all assist with setting the tables
before meals and the clean-up after. OMSI prides itself on having
meals that are nutritious and homemade. Vegetarian options are
|Included is breakfast, sack
lunch, and dinner for our event from Friday dinner through Sunday
- Dinner Friday - 6pm
- Breakfast Saturday - 9am
- Lunch fixings Saturday - 10am -
Make your own sack lunch, Keep in refrigerator or take with you.
- Dinner Saturday - 6pm
- Breakfast Sunday - 9am
Meals are served family style and we all help with the setting up of the
tables, serving, cleaning up and doing dishes.
- Coffee Pot and Hot Water during the
night, bring your own midnight snacks (microwave and refrigerator available).
Meals are NOT available other than
at designated meal times.
- There are NO
soda or snack machines in the camp and snacks MUST be kept in
critter-proof containers (or you will have four legged visitors).
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is NO RESERVED lodging except for extraordinary circumstances.
Bunkhouse Lodging is per
night per person - meals included
|We are in shared bunkhouses first-come,
first served (generally we average about 2 people per cabin).
When you show up, find a bunk in one
of the large bunkhouses and please check off your name on the
clipboard in the Messhall to indicate the nights you are in camp.
The Cabins are one room A-frame
buildings that are set up as a
bunkhouse with built-in bunks, mattresses, limited heat, and
limited electricity and you will be sharing the bunkhouse with others.
(The heaters are on a 60 minute timer to take the chill off in the
Bring a warm sleeping bag (and extra blankets,
if needed), and pillow.
- 1 Large bunkhouse with 16 bunks
- 5 Large bunkhouses with 14 bunks
- 2 Medium bunkhouses with 8 bunks
- 7 Small bunkhouses that each have
only one bunk, and three mattresses on the floor
is per night per person - meals included
- Limited RV parking (Limited electrical hookups - so
it's best to plan on being self contained)
- Tent camping area with two teepees.
- NO camping South of the Water Tower, that area
is National Park Service land and is not part of
There are Bathrooms with showers, flush
toilets and hot water. The
Ladies bathroom is at the west end of the Dining Hall. The men's
bathrooms are near the office. There is both men's and ladies
pit toilets near the viewing area. Bring your own towels, shampoo,
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- When you come to Hancock Please make sure you have the
following with you.
Emergency Contact Information -
to be carried with you at all times
Alternate phone number if available
Because we need a certain number of people in order to rent the entire
camp for ourselves and as we have only barely been making the minimum numbers we are unable to offer refunds after the
Registration Deadline. In order to cover the charge of renting the
entire facility we've had to revise
- Before the deadline all monies are
- After the deadline
If you have any further questions you can
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