Circle V Ranch Camp begins rebuilding effort

Staff Report

Efforts have begun to rebuild the Circle V Ranch Camp and Retreat Center near Lake Cachuma that was badly damaged by the Whittier Fire on July 8.

The fast-moving wildfire briefly threatened dozens of lives, did hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage, and caused the cancellation of nearly 3,000 people’s camp experiences.

The camp at 2550 Highway 154 owned by St. Vincent de Paul was founded in 1945 and has been located on 30 leased acres in Los Padres National Forest across the highway from Lake Cachuma since 1990.

“We are cleaning up and rebuilding Circle V Ranch Camp & Retreat Center. We look forward to welcoming everyone back in June 2018,” said Executive Director David Fields of St. Vincent de Paul of Los Angeles.

“We are so very grateful that all 88 campers and 36 staff members present on July 8th were evacuated safely during the wildfire,” he said.

“However, the Craft Lodge and Health Lodge cabins burned to the ground, and our water treatment facility and pipes were seriously damaged, requiring months of repairs estimated at more than $200,000,” he added. “With no water, all remaining summer camp sessions had to be canceled. The timing could not be worse, since the wildfire has deprived almost 1,000 campers ages 7-16 of this positive, uplifting six day/five night experience in nature, creating memories for a lifetime.”

In addition, plans by dozens of groups planning to stay at the camp’s Retreat Center from September 2017 through May 2018 have been canceled, resulting in the displacement of more than 1,800 guests.

“We thank all our guardian angels who have been so supportive throughout this incredibly challenging time,” Fields said. “We appreciate all donations to help with this effort.”

Donations to help rebuild the camp and provide “camperships” for future summer sessions can be made at https://svdpla.org/donate/rebuild-camp.

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