The Friends of Camas National Wildlife Refuge (Friends of Camas NWR) began, as most such groups, with the vision of a passionate few who are not content to simply talk, but are compelled to action. Though not a formerly chartered "Friends" Group, the Portneuf Valley Audubon Society (PVAS) constituted the early foundations of what is now formally designated and chartered Friends of Camas NWR. Early efforts by the PVAS included planting trees, pulling weeds, laying weed barrier, building trails, doing surveys, supporting bird banding activities, printing and distributing newsletters (authored by Nancy Maxwell), financial support, etc. Later, the Snake River Audubon Society (SRAS) joined with PVAS to create a Camas NWR Bird List. Rob Larrañaga, former Camas National Wildlife Refuge Manager, began investigating the formation of an official friends group as early as 2006.
Nancy Maxwell, a longtime member of PVAS, provided the vision and startup motivation that lead to formal establishment of the Friends of Camas NWR. Nancy was assisted by Tracy Casselman, Project Leader for the Southeast Idaho National Wildlife Refuge Complex and Brian Wehausen Manager of Camas National Wildlife Refuge. The first formal Friends of Camas NWR Group was organized in the Fall of 2010 and included Jacob Briggs, President; Chuck Trost, Vice President; Nancy Maxwell, Treasurer; and Julie Stricklen, Secretary with Steve Butterworth, Darren Clark, Mary Dolven, Gloria Hahn, Therese Lloyd, Barbara North, Dave Stricklen, and Terry Thomas, as members of the board of directors. Jacob Briggs was succeeded as President by Dave Stricklen, Chuck Trost (Acting President), and Tim Reynolds.
Early activities focused on organization, including the writing of a formal charter and by-laws, applying for tax exempt status, creating a logo and information brochure, and applying for grants. Later the emphasis shifted to construction of a pavilion, obtaining additional water rights, and launching an Internet Site.