Quench Campaign FAQ

More about the campaign to renew and improve the water system at Sturtevant Camp

What is the Quench Campaign?

The goal is to quench the thirst for water at Sturtevant Camp.

After 2020’s Bobcat Fire, we found two of our three water tanks destroyed, and many auxiliary pipes melted through. This fundraising campaign will put two new, more durable tanks back into the system, and improve the entire system to better meet the challenges of a drier, more uncertain future.

There’s water in the stream, what is this system for?

The system collects and creates potable water on demand for both guests of the camp, and hundreds of others who hike into the upper Big Santa Anita Canyon. Guests enjoy clean water from the tap, hot showers and flush toilets; the public drinking fountain is a well-known, convenient, reliable and refreshing refill for trail runners, hiking groups and families exploring the San Gabriel mountains.

The canyon is popular with both people and animals, so water must be treated before use. Also, in dry seasons and drought, finding collectible water can be tricky: the camp’s system taps into a remote and reliable source high up the canyon.

Why are three tanks needed?

In the past, a single tank could be filled quickly and regularly.  But now the natural supply of water is lower and less reliable. With three tanks in rotation, the available water can be collected, treated, and disbursed into camp, even during seasons of drought. With enough water, the system can also supply the micro-hydro system, creating ‘free’ electricity in camp.

What has already been done?

A lot of digging, calculating, plumbing, discussion and decision-making, plus a deposit on two new metal tanks. A sizeable donation covering early costs has also made a big difference.

Were other options explored?

Yes. We have discussed the tanks themselves — wood, plastic, steel, ceramic glazed, etc. — And each of those was in tension with cost, durability, maintenance, and feasibility, including how to transport and assemble.

But the real issues were less visible: location, elevation differentials, pressure through the filter systems, and how to have a system “easily” maintained by volunteer hosts. The board feels good about the decisions made so far, and will work to make them successful going forward.

The canyon & camp are closed, why do this now?

The U.S. Forest Service is keeping the canyon closed (probably until spring 2022); and the Chantry Flat road is scheduled to be closed from October 1, 2021 until April 1, 2022. So, thirsty people in camp are not on the immediate horizon.

But: to be ready for when everyone comes back into the canyon and up to camp requires a long lead time. Lead time on manufacturing and shipping the tanks is two months, packing materials will take many runs and assembling the tanks and connecting the system requires time. And it would help to have a season of winter rain to fill the system and fully test it.

So the upcoming down-time will be put to very good use.

What happens next?

Job one is to raise the funds to pay the balance due on the tanks (they ship when they’re paid for). In camp, there’s work to prepare the site where the tanks will sit, including packing in materials on the Adam’s Pack Station pack train. Once the tank parts arrive, most of those will also be packed in; but six steel panels (think a sheet of plywood, but metal and curved) will be hand-carried into camp. Then let the assembly begin.

What can I do?

Your timely tax-deductible donation will pay the invoices for parts, materials and packing for the renewed and improved water system; see the options on the donations page.

Any funds raised beyond the goal will be put toward the next fundraisers for camp, including the micro-hydro system (all new batteries are needed), replacing the sleeping capacity lost to the destruction of Cabin 1 in the Bobcat Fire, and renovation of the Adam’s Fireplace Room around the great oak tree growing in the middle of the historic Sturtevant Lodge.

How to give: turn on the faucet!

If the new water system was used just once — if all three tanks were filled up, turned on, and poured into single gallon jugs — there would be 4,600 of them, and each jug would cost $6.09.

How many gallons can you provide?