Thank you for your interest in and concern for Sturtevant Camp, especially now in light of the Bobcat fire. Here is what we can say today with some certainty:
There is every indication that the fire has moved directly through the upper Big Santa Anita Canyon and therefore the camp. However, we do not know the impact on the buildings and infrastructure, and we won’t know until we can put boots on the ground.
That is a very long way off. Even when the fire is confirmed to be done in the canyon, it will be a very hazardous environment. This starts with air quality: until winter rains thoroughly soak the ash and soot on and into the ground, hiking much less working in the canyon will be extremely unhealthy. The other immediate hazard will be standing burned trees and the threat of deadfall. Simply getting into the camp will likely be very difficult because of downed trees, etc. Based on previous fires in the San Gabriels, such as the Station Fire, we know that once the rains come, it will get worse.
The Forest Service will decide when the National Forest can be opened to the general public. Because we are permit holders, we expect and will request to have early access prior to that opening. At that time, we’ll make a detailed assessment of the camp and begin to take every action to conserve what is there and to preserve general safety.
Once we have a clear picture of the status and condition of the infrastructure the questions will turn to the future, starting with:
- What the Forest Service will allow
- What is physically possible and financially feasible
- How can we best serve the public good
Since Wilbur Sturtevant recognized the special qualities of this little place in the canyon, put up a few tents and invited people to come into the canyon almost 130 years ago, Sturtevant Camp has been a touchstone of the San Gabriels and a portal into the wilderness experience. We know that whatever the fire has done, the forest will renew itself, as it has before, and people will seek to come for the unique gift of the wilderness. We hope you will join with us in continuing to make that possible in the seasons ahead.
For more information as it becomes available, check-in here and/or friend “Wilbur Sturtevant” on Facebook.
The Board of the Sturtevant Conservancy,
Deb, Paul, Sue, Danny, and Gary. and the Friends of the San Gabriels
One reply on “Public Fire Update, September 16th, 2020”
I hope the fire damage was minimal. I stayed as a camper, served as cook and counselor in the late 50’s early 60’s. My next door neighbor had her memorial at the chapel site.
I will check back as I really loved my time there. My sister and I helped to build the heliport and we worked on several cabins. On one occasion my sister had her leg crushed by a rock at the stream. I wasn’t allowed to call out for help so I carried her and our packs out. I was very glad to see my Dad and Uncle waiting at the bottom of the climb to Chantry Flats. My sister was taken straight to hospital and I can’t remember staying there after that debacle.