In 1911, the Abreu family decided to sell off some of their lands in the Rayado Valley through the Rayado Colonization Company. A Denver, Colorado based business owned by The Hagadorn Brothers.
The Hagadorn Brothers built irrigation systems and subdivided 5,000 acres into small farming lands averaging 80 acres each.
One of those who bought land was a Russian immigrant by the name of Paul F. Zastrow. Zastrow purchased just over 600 acres of land and soon began building his homestead and making friends with his new neighbors.
One of those newfound neighbors was Ramon Abreu who established his homestead in 1914. Paul Zastrow and Ramon Abreu were neighbors for only a short time until the Abreu home burned down in 1916.
The land changed hands several more times and finally ended up in the hands of Waite Phillips in 1929, and then donated to the BSA in 1941.
The main lodge at Zastrow was a log cabin style building constructed in 1949. The camp and lodge served as the center for Wood Badge training at Philmont. Wood Badge is an adult leader training course offered by the BSA. Zastrow has also been spelled as Zastro in the past.
The first Wood Badge course was held at Schiff Scout Reservation in New Jersey in 1948. William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt was the course director or Scoutmaster for both the first Wood Badge course held at Schiff and for the second-ever Wood Badge course offered at Philmont later that same year. The course was conducted at Hunting Lodge, which at the time was known as Cimarroncito. In 1949, Wood Badge was again held at Philmont and was moved to the newly constructed cabin at Zastrow. The 1949 Wood Badge course held at Zastrow became the course model for Wood Badge all over the nation.
In 1976, the first walking Wood Badge course was offered at Philmont. The course began at Zastrow and the course content was delivered along the trails of Philmont. Zastrow was also used to deliver other training center courses such as Outdoor Skill Instructor courses.
Following the 2002 Ponil Complex fire, Zastrow was opened as a staff camp and featured mountain biking which was moved from Whiteman Vega in the Valle Vidal following the fire. Zastrow’s status as a staff camp was cemented with the program becoming land navigation, using a map, compass and GPS. Later geocaching was added to the program offerings at Zastrow. Two other program features at Zastrow included Dutch oven desserts, and a Scout rededication ceremony. In 2015, an ATV rider course was opened in partnership with Polaris Industries, a prominent ATV manufacturer. Scouts on trek with a layover at Zastrow can use a full day to complete the required training and then ride the course. They also have the opportunity to work on an ATV trail-building conservation project.
Featured in front of the cabin at Zastrow was an Axe and Log sundial presented to the Boy Scouts of America by the Scout Association of the United Kingdom. Originally located at Schiff Scout Reservation in New Jersey.
Zastrow images are courtesy of Shawn Tunink, a former Philmont Chaplain.
Wood Badge Staff and Service Shovels were recovered from the Zastrow Cabin prior to the Cooks Peak Fire.