East Bay News

Community mourns loss of Berkeley camp destroyed by Rim Fire

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Rim Fire damaged two Bay Area-run camps run and destroyed the camp run by the city of Berkeley for nearly a century. Monday night hundreds gathered to share their camp memories.

People drove from all over Northern California to be there for the night's vigil. Many have been going to the camp for decades.

They sang the songs they've been singing every summer. Berkeley Tuolumne Camp was their home away from home. The beloved campsite, run by the city of Berkeley since 1922, was destroyed by the Rim Fire. ABC7 News viewers emailed photos of their time at the camp to uReport@kgo-tv.com or uploaded them here.

"It's just a place full of memories and those will be with us, but it's gone," said Berkeley resident Ann Shrieve.

Fortunately, other Bay Area-run camps were spared from such destruction.

A Torah, which survived The Holocaust, survived the Rim Fire too. It was inside camp Tawonga's dining hall and removed days ago. The only structure that burned down at the camp was one cabin.

"What we don't know is about the surrounding lands. If the trees around us are burned, if areas where we do programs that don't have buildings are burned," said Jamie Simon-Harris, the Camp Tawonga director.

At San Jose's Family Camp, flames destroyed 12 cabins, an outbuilding, equipment and water well infrastructure. The remainder of the season has now been cancelled. It's a big disappointment to one group of families who get together at the camp every year.

"They always want to go come back to it. They're always asking me ahead of time, 'When is it going to happen?' 'Is registration open?' So definitely disappointed on my end," said Santa Clara resident Shahid Shaikh.

As for the Berkeley Tuolumne Family camp, the families we spoke to hope it'll get rebuilt.

"I'm definitely going. I'll be there to help. I'll do everything I can," said Ukiah resident Margaret Ridgeway.

Based on the outpouring Monday night, there'll be no shortage of volunteers.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
fire, yosemite, wildfire, evacuation, cal fire, hetch hetchy, water, wind, berkeley, east bay news, lilian kim
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