Rebuilt Berkeley Tuolumne Camp to welcome families back this summer

Nine years after a wildfire destroyed Berkeley Tuolumne Camp, the rebuilt retreat just outside Yosemite National Park will welcome families back this summer.

Officials plan to mark the camp’s return with a grand reopening and ribbon cutting ceremony on June 4. Your first chance to stay at the new cabins will come later that month, when family camp programs begin on June 27; they will run through mid-August, and an adults-only week is also planned from Aug. 26 to Sept. 1.

The reopening will coincide with the Tuolumne Camp’s centennial summer. Built in 1922, the camp off Highway 120 in Tuolumne County became a beloved retreat for the thousands of families who visited each summer — until the Rim Fire burned through the area in August of 2013, destroying its cabins, dining hall and other facilities.

Berkeley received $57 million in insurance and federal disaster aid to rebuild the camp, plus another $3.3 million in city funds.

New facilities at Tuolumne Camp, including the dining hall, nature center and other common areas, have been built so they are more accessible to people with mobility impairments, city officials say. Volunteers have also planted thousands of trees on the fire-scorched landscape, with another tree-planting event planned for later this month.

“It’s [been] a nine-year effort to get to this point, so it’s really satisfying,” said Scott Ferris, director of Berkeley’s Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Department. “I think it’s going to be a camp that serves Berkeley residents for many years.”

During the rebuilding process, the city shifted family programs to its other Sierra Nevada retreat, Echo Lake Camp near Lake Tahoe, which narrowly survived a wildfire threat last summer.