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Berkeley Sierra Family Camp to Fill Void Left from Fire Destruction of Tuolumne Family Camp

Berkeley residents lined up to register for the new camp on Wednesday. Non-residents can register beginning on Feb. 19.

Burned bridge in the Berkeley's Tuolumne Camp after Rim Fire passed through. Photo Credit: Livermore-Pleasanton Fire BC Michael Miller
Burned bridge in the Berkeley's Tuolumne Camp after Rim Fire passed through. Photo Credit: Livermore-Pleasanton Fire BC Michael Miller
By City News—

Berkeley residents lined up "down the block" today for a chance to register for a new city summer camp intended to partially replace the popular Tuolumne Family Camp, which was destroyed by last year's Rim Fire, according to a city spokesman.

[Related article: Firefighter's View of Rim Fire: 'Base Camp Had Burned Twice']
 
Berkeley Sierra Family Camp will take place at Echo Lake Camp, a city-owned site that will accommodate fewer campers but offer many of the traditions beloved by generations of Tuolumne Family Camp attendees, city spokesman Matthai Chakko said.

[Related article: Berkeley's Tuolumne Camp Burns in Sierras Wildfire]
 
"What the city wanted to do was to give folks who hold (Tuolumne Family Camp) in such reverence a place to go for the summer where they could have some of the traditions that they love," Chakko said. Chakko emphasized, however, that Sierra Family Camp, which will also incorporate and replace some programs previously held at Echo Lake, will not duplicate every aspect of the old camps but will be a new program of its own.
 
Demand for the camp, which will accommodate around 1,000 people, appears to be high, with Berkeley residents waiting in line more than two hours to register today, Chakko said.

Registration will open to non-Berkeley residents on Feb. 19. Berkeley Tuolumne Family Camp was destroyed in August 2013 by the Rim Fire, a long-burning fire that spread from Stanislaus National Forest into Yosemite National Park. The fire triggered evacuations at a number of camps in the area and damaged San Jose Family Camp, but Tuolumne Family Camp's historic structures, some dating back to the camp's start in 1922, were completely destroyed.
 
Chakko said the city has been working to clear debris and damaged trees from the area and protect the river and soil from erosion. Before reconstruction can begin or funding considered, the city must develop a master plan for the area in cooperating with the U.S. Forest Service, Tuolumne County and other agencies.

"It's going to be a long process," Chakko said.

Information on camp registration can be found at:http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/Parks_Rec_Waterfront/Recreation/Berkeley_Sierra_Family_Camp.aspx.

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