Camp Silver Fir, Temporarily Closed - Updates

"Road Closed": Work party behind the gate in front of the bridge: Ed Langness, Paul Dutton, David Geisen, Jerry Geisen, Darryl Langness, Al Kelsey, and Tom Geisen. Not pictured: Andrew Sisolak.


News from Camp Silver Fir, August 2021

Camp Silver Fir is the Verdugo Hills Council high adventure outpost camp located in the Sierra National Forest, east of Fresno at Huntington Lake. In September, 2020, Camp Silver Fir was engulfed by the Creek Fire, currently the largest single fire in California history. Although three of the four buildings and the access bridge were lost, miraculously, the heart of the camp which includes the campfire circle and Hersh Lodge were spared.
 
In October of 2020, as soon as access was allowed, our recovery team including Paul Dutton, David Geisen, Al Kelsey, Paul Chiaravalle and Todd Brockman went to camp to assess the damage and secure the camp for the winter. In the meantime, the CSF Committee has beeing regularly and planning for the future.

 

Camp Silver Fir operates under a Special Use Permit with the U.S. Forest Service and there are many federal and county requirements for recovery, remediation, and rebuilding. Our biggest challenge to date is the replacement of the access bridge. All other recovery efforts are hampered without access. We are continuing to work with the U.S. Forest Service, Southern California Edison, Fresno County, engineers, loggers, and other consultants to address solutions for the bridge and other recovery operations.

Defying the current challenges, a work party consisting of volunteers David Geisen, Jerry Geisen, Tom Geisen, Paul Dutton, Darryl Langness, Ed Langness, Al Kelsey and Council Scout Executive, Andrew Sisolak went to camp from July 2nd to July 5th and were able to complete several tasks including restoration of the water and propane lines to the lodge, removing tree debris and slash from the parking area below the bridge, clearing out the burned bridge timbers, clearing a large root ball from the area, and working on restoration of power.

Camp Silver Fir has been operated and maintained for many years by a dedicated core group of volunteers. Many of these guys have been volunteering for over forty years! Although this awesome group has remained steadfast over the years, it has gotten older and smaller, and we need your help!

We need many friends and there are lots of ways you can help. You may have a contact that could help us with rebuilding our bridge or other projects. Spread the word that Camp Silver Fir is rebuilding. We will continue to need donations of many kinds, especially tools. Look for us on Facebook and share your stories, pictures and your camp memories. Come and join us for future work parties.

Join our Zoom meetings the second Tuesday of the month at 7:00 pm. Meeting ID: 215 851 6282

For more information, contact Debbie Wagner Chair of the Camp Silver Fir Committee debwag55@gmail.com or (818) 957-2470.

Debbie Wagner, Chair
Camp Silver Fir Committee


Last year, we received news and reports about the devastation and loss caused by the Creek Fire in the Sierra National Forest. Representatives on our Camp Silver Fir operations committee were in contact with representatives from the Huntington Lake Fire Department who provided information approved for general distribution by the United States Forest Service.

The northern wall of the fire turned east and aggressively started burning through the Kaiser Wilderness and immediately below. This wall of fire moved through the tracts of cabins and camps on the north side of Huntington Lake, and intensified as it approached the Upper Line Creek Tract where our Silver Fir High Adventure Base Camp is located.

The Camp sustained significant damage to the infrastructure and the forest. Three of the four structures at camp were destroyed. Miraculously, our primary program facility (and newest structure) Robert Hersh Lodge, appears to have survived intact. Our immediate losses as follows:

  1. Caretaker’s residence (800 square feet)
  2. Maintenance Building (600 square feet)
  3. Combination, Multi-Stall Restroom, Shower & Laundry facility (1000 square feet)
  4. Damaged Utility Infrastructure (Electrical & Telecommunications)
  5. Damaged Utility Infrastructure (LPG, water and sewage)
  6. Tools, equipment, furnishings, durable supplies, non-durable supplies (operations)
  7. Equipment, durable supplies, non-durable supplies (program)

No value has been placed on the losses yet and we anticipate having a better handle on the total losses by the October.

The Silver Fir Operations Committee will develop plans for securing the camp facility, and to deal with the aftermath of the fire. These plans will involve securing Hersh Lodge for the winter, closing off the potable water system until such time as it can be reconnected to the Upper Line Creek water utility, sealing off propane lines to damaged buildings, sealing off the sanitary sewer system where it connected to the destroyed structures, and de-energizing the camp electrical system.

Following these efforts, the forest Service will require that we abate the hazards and building debris from the property, including removal of all fire-damaged trees.

As of now, we do not anticipate being able to conduct a summer program at the facility in 2021, due to the lack of restroom facilities. However, if FEMA acts promptly, we could have the facility back in operation by summer 2022 as a base camp and for limited troop camping.

Sam Engel, Jr.
Vice President of Camping, 2020