Lake Pillsbury is the water supply reservoir for Pacific Gas and Electric Company's (PG&E) Scott Dam hydroelectric generating plant. The dam was built on the Eel River in 1923 and acquired by PG&E in 1925 as part of its Potter Valley Hydroelectric Project. PG&E continues to operate the power station and controls the water flow through the dam and the water level of the lake
The site used for the former Lake Pillsbury Recreation Camp was acquired by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to provide a rest and recreation camp for Army Air Forces (after 1947, U.S. Air Force) personnel from Hamilton Field and their families. Approximately 25 acres were issued at no cost to the USACE by the USDA, Forest Service. An additional permit was granted by PG&E to construct a pier on the waters of Lake Pillsbury Reservoir.
On 1 October 1948, the permit with PG&E was terminated and the 25 permit acres were transferred back to USDA, Mendocino National Forest on 6 May 1949. According to the release document, all improvements and structures constructed by DoD were removed prior to November 1948. In 1962, the USDA, Forest Service developed the Site into a public campground. The Site is currently known as Sunset Campground.
No buildings were constructed during the
Army Air Forces and US Air Force occupation.