Wilderness to Boy's Camp to Nature Preserve
The Graylag Story
Building the camp
In 1946, Jacob Geib and sons Fred and Robert turned 500 acres of undeveloped woodland and the waterfront of Wild Goose Pond into a summer camp for boys. They named it after the European name for the wild goose, which, because it was gray and lagged behind other geese flying south in autumn, was called the Graylag. As the founders said in the original camp brochure, “The continental name symbolizes the free spirit of the out-of-doors.”
Basketball: The Bob Cousy years
In 1952, basketball legend Bob Cousy, of the Boston Celtics, became a partner in Camp Graylag. From that time, the camp specialized in basketball and became closely identified with Cousy’s athletic gifts and sportsmanship. Camp Graylag at that time had the largest outdoor floodlit courts in New England and attracted many great players and coaches as instructors in the fine points of the game. For more photos from this era, click here.
After 23 successful years, Camp Graylag closed in 1971. The property was sold and subdivided, passing through the hands of several owners over the next 20 years.
Restoration under Carl Wallman
In 1995, after 25 years raising Angus cattle in neighboring Northwood, NH, Carl Wallman bought a 50-acre parcel of beautiful woodlands central to the former Camp Graylag. Carl was born and raised in New York City. His parents had immigrated to New York as young people, leaving Russia and Poland, where they were forbidden to own land, so land ownership was especially meaningful to him.
As Carl became more familiar with the Graylag terrain, trees, plants, and animals, he began to add gardens, mark trails in the woods, and thin trees, following the contours of the land. He added some other parcels of the original camp to the property, began to fix up some of the buildings and tear down others, and started to encourage and protect the plants native to New Hampshire.
Inviting guests to share the woods
Over time, he realized that he wanted other people to be able to enjoy the natural woodlands and waters of Graylag and started to renovate the former cabins into comfortable, rustic vacation cottages, which could be rented to guests. Graylag Cabins opened in the summer of 2005. For Carl, it was wonderful to see that the peace and beauty of these hills, woods, and waters affected others much as they affected him.
Passing the torch to Graylag Nature Preserve
Carl passed away in February 2020. We will always be grateful for the determination with which Carl worked in the last months of his life, endowing Graylag with both a clear mission for moving forward and the means to make that mission real. In November 2019, Graylag Cabins became Graylag Nature Preserve, a public 501(c)(3) non-profit.