Fire Recovery & Roadmap

Damage report, what is needed to recover, and how you can help.


Thank you for your interest in Sturtevant Camp, especially in the aftermath of the Bobcat Fire. We will keep this page updated for those interested in supporting the camp’s future re-opening.

The baseline goal is to reclaim our capacity to host guests. This is our purpose, the foundation of our 501(3)c non-profit status, and the basis of our permit with the National Forest. Once the Forest Service approves opening the Big Santa Anita Canyon we aim to be ready to welcome everyone back. This may be later in 2021.

Other goals are to use this time to accomplish urgent repairs, to catch up on deferred maintenance, and ultimately to improve the camp beyond our pre-fire status.

The following information is current as of December, 2020

Fire Damage

In Big Santa Anita Canyon alone the Bobcat Fire burned 17 private, historic cabins to the ground, including Sturtevant Camp’s cabin #1. Numerous outbuildings and outhouses were also destroyed throughout the canyon so all in all the camp was genuinely fortunate.

We lost two of our three water storage tanks. The fire also destroyed some of the water lines coming into the tanks and a large, burned tree fell and broke the main supply pipe, wrecking all the plumbing in & out of the primary filter system.

The group that evacuated at the start of the fire left a considerable amount of food in the main kitchen. With the camp empty for several weeks during and after the fire the food went bad and attracted a bear, who did a real number on the cabinets and refrigerators, and left a distinctive #2 in a corner of the kitchen!

The other damage that greatly impacts all future restoration work at camp is the damage to the trails. There is a high probability for future, on-going trail damage as seasonal rains settle in. We do not expect to have access to the Adam’s Pack Station’s packing services until later in 2021 but we have plenty of work to do now.

Restoration & Improvements

Restoration and improvement work to re-open to guests will require both physical and financial support. Following are the key projects and how to help.

Water system

Basic repairs to get water into camp are underway. It is important to keep the pipes physically wet in order to prevent collapse and rust, and to sustain the waste-water system.

Looking ahead we expect to reconfigure the water system because the original and micro-hydroelectric systems are a patchwork that has evolved over the last 75 years. The re-designed system should be capable of coping with recent weather patterns of late season rainfall and regular drought, and be able to more effectively manage the water we have and use. This project will include a new replacement water tank, located for maximum capture and effective distribution.

Fiscal needs include funds to purchase the new water tank, and related supplies for re-configuring the system.

Physical needs include help carrying the water tank into camp in parts, as the current, remaining tank was carried in by hand, and probably lots of trenching and digging.

Cabin #1

The loss of Cabin #1 cut our bed capacity by 20%. The Sturtevant Conservancy is discussing how to recover some or all of this while at the same time improving what we have to offer a new generation of guests. Improvements must meet the criteria of the United States Forest Service, including criteria for the historic status of the camp and all of its buildings, so proposals will be made first to them.

Fiscal needs include funds to purchase materials and supplies for re-building guest capacity.

Physical needs include help carrying in supplies, as well as some basic construction skills.

Sturtevant Lodge

The “Swiss Dining Pavilion” was Wilbur Sturtevant’s original name for what we call Sturtevant Lodge. It is the oldest, most historic structure on site, and it is integral to the historical and authentic experience of the camp, as well as the functional hub of hospitality for guests.

Built in 1895, the lodge needs all kinds of loving care, and maybe some new bear-proof refrigerators! Restoration work in the lodge will include fixing termite damage to the structure itself, re-framing the floor and wall in the Adam’s Fireplace Room around the oak tree, and renovating the wooden sash windows. Some improvements and upgrades will depend on approval by the USFS.

Fiscal needs include funds to purchase supplies and materials for the above projects (lumber, etc.)

Physical needs include help carrying in supplies, as well as a variety of construction skills from basic to more advanced.


As described previously, the condition of the main pack trail is the chief bottleneck to working at camp. We have options for use of the original Sturtevant Trail coming down from Mt. Wilson, but moving materials and larger items remains an issue. Individual access, much less pack train access, will remain a variable through the rainy season.

Sturtevant Camp will coordinate with the cabin owners at Spruce Grove, and with Maggie Moran, owner/operator of Adam’s Pack Station and the pack train, as well as other interested groups (Sierra Club, mountain bike clubs, etc.) to do the work of restoring and ideally improving the pack trail to safe, reliable service.

How To Help

If you are interested in giving financial support, click here:

If you are interested in volunteering on-site or with trails, click here:

If have experience in grant-writing and fund-raising the board of Sturtevant Conservancy welcomes your input. Use the volunteer link and put a note in “Special Interests & Abilities”.

Again, thank you for being part of restoring this historic camp to public service. Happy trails!

Sturtevant Conservancy
Deb, Paul, Sue, Danny & Gary