The city of Berkeley has announced a series of public workshops over the next few months for those interested in helping to bring back Berkeley Tuolumne Camp, which was destroyed by the Rim Fire in 2013.
According to the city, much of the camp is set to be rebuilt “essentially in place,” though several significant changes will be necessary: overnight camping will not be allowed in the 100-year flood plain; use of the northern area of camp — called Sun City — will be prohibited, according to the forest service; and two new parking areas are set to be created off Hardin Flat Road, as parking will no longer be allowed on the road itself.
The city will need to create a master plan if it hopes to get approval to rebuild the popular family camp, which opened in Groveland in 1922. The city hopes to reopen camp by 2018 under the current timeline.
According to a letter to the city from the U.S. Forest Service, several items still need to be worked out regarding the current proposed camp layout. The city will need to survey some parts of the camp — never studied before — for archaeological significance, which could impact a proposed trail leading to Teepee Village in the southwestern area of camp. The city will also need to come up with a plan for barriers around a proposed swimming area that the forest service said gets in the way of “fish passage.”
The forest service said new soil studies and other analyses must also be done, in the wake of the Rim Fire, and that the city may need to agree to new flood control mitigations prior to any final plans: “From a soils perspective, areas of instability and high hazard/erosion areas post Rim Fire need to be identified. These factors may affect the actual location of facilities or infrastructure within the project area.”
In a brochure created by the city describing the current camp situation, and what happens next, the city outlined "several significant facility changes":
- Two new parking areas will be built off Hardin Flat Road.
- Staff housing and maintenance facilities will be relocated north of Hardin Flat (Zone A).
- Family tent cabins that need to be relocated will be developed in a new area (Zone B), uphill from the Main Camp, in an area previously occupied by some staff tent cabins.
The city and U.S. Forest Service agreed March 2 on a conceptual plan that will provide a road map to the rebuild, according to an off-agenda memo posted on the city website last Thursday. The three-month public process is set to include four public meetings, and a survey has been posted online to collect community feedback.
Reminder: Camp event comes to Freight & Salvage
In addition to community workshops scheduled for April 29 and May 9 in Berkeley, a third workshop — yet to be scheduled — will take place in Groveland. The city’s Parks & Waterfront Commission will discuss camp-related issues June 10, and there will be a series of presentations at Echo Lake Camp from June 20-28.
Separately, the Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp is holding a special event Tuesday, April 14, at Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, at 2020 Addison St. From the organizers: “The Rim Fire was one of the nation’s worst disasters and one of the worst fires California has ever had. Come see an amazing and powerful presentation, and ask questions about The Rim Fire and its effects on the land we love by the U.S. Forest Service, as they work towards reforesting an area the size of Los Angeles!”
The event is set to include rare footage showing camp life in 1948, a slideshow of the camp from this past December, and an update from city staff about where things currently stand. Attendees also will have a chance to learn from the U.S. Forest Service and area volunteers about how to play a role in the future of the Stanislaus Forest after the Rim Fire. Learn more on the Friends website, RSVP on the Facebook event page or purchase tickets (for about $11).
Connect with the Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp on its website and on Facebook. See the city website devoted to Berkeley Tuolumne Camp. See this overview from the city about what happens next with camp.
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