1922 “Tuolumne Speakeasy”- A Fall Gala event for the ages!

We called it “The Great Campsby”- a Fall Gala in a remarkable time and place!

We went back to the year Camp opened, 1922, in a mansion called “The Pines”, in Sausalito overlooking the Bay. Casino games, cocktails, roaring 20’s music, catered food, and hidden rooms everywhere. The event was spectacular, with over 130 people attending.

We raised money for FOBTC expenses and the everyday we work we do as a non-profit, and for rebuilding camp, and had tremendous community spirit doing it! What a blast!

2018 Staff Reunion at Cornerstone Brewery in Berkeley!

The 2nd annual Staff Reunion took place on November 23, the Friday after Thanksgiving, with over 50 current and nostalgic former Staff members ranging all the way back to the 50’s gathering at Cornerstone Brewery in Downtown Berkeley!

FOBTC bought the first round, gathered around the fire pit, and gave staff an update and a chance to ask questions on the rebuild process. It was so sweet to see everyone, and so inspiring to see how many former staff are staying so connected to Camp!

The Rebuilding Update from City Staff – Nov 2018

Hi dear Friends – This Thursday Nov 15th, the City staff will be giving this report to the City Council and Mayor as an update on the rebuilding of camp. We are posting it so you can get it fresh off the press, and stay on top of the process!

This is from Scott Ferris, Director of Parks, Recreation and Waterfront:

In August of 2013, the California Rim Fire destroyed Berkeley Tuolumne Family Camp (BTC). The fire was declared a federal disaster, which means the Camp rebuilding qualifies for funding from the Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA) and the California Office of Emergency Services (CAL OES). While FEMA and CAL OES will contribute a portion of the funding, it is anticipated that the City’s insurance policy will cover a more significant portion of the rebuild costs. The estimate for the total project is approximately $60M, which includes the necessary staff, design, permitting, and construction costs. On April 4, 2017, the City Council funded the estimated City cost share of $3.3 M (which includes the City’s required FEMA grant matching funds).


In early 2017, the City completed the conceptual plan of the BTC Rebuild. This three-year process included approvals from state and federal agencies as well as input from the Berkeley community. On October 17, 2017, the City Council approved a $4.3 M design contract with the architecture firm of Siegel & Strain. Siegel & Strain’s first task was the development of an ‘As- Was plus Code’ design and cost estimate for the Camp (which shows the Camp as it existed before the Fire, plus current building code required upgrades). The subsequent ‘Basis of Design’ report establishes the City’s proposed reconstruction project, which applies both value engineering and programmatic updates to the As-Was plus Code scope of work. These two documents serve as significant milestones for ongoing insurance negotiations, as well as for the FEMA / CAL OES funding process. Monthly meetings with Insurance, FEMA, and CAL OES representatives to determine coverage and funding are ongoing. It is anticipated that construction will begin in 2020 and be completed in 2022.


In compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the City published a Notice of Intent to Adopt an Initial Study / Mitigate Negative Declaration for the BTC Project in October, 2018. Simultaneously, the City coordinated the publication of the Environmental Assessment (EA) in compliance with the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) on behalf of the United States Forest Service (USFS). The public review periods for both CEQA and NEPA documents has now closed, and the City is in the process of responding to comments and finalizing these documents. It is anticipated that Council will consider adoption of the Final Initial Study / Mitigated Negative Declaration at the January 22, 2019 Council meeting.


Echo Lake Camp is looking for their new Camp Manager!

The City of Berkeley is recruiting for a new Camp Manager for Echo Lake Camp.  This position was posted on Monday, October 29, and the recruitment closes on Monday, November 19 at 5:00pm. Please feel free to pass along the attached brochure and job announcement to anyone that may be interested in this position.  In previous years, the Camp Manager classification has been a 75% position, and the manager worked full time for six months, and half-time for six months.  Echo Lake Camp’s programs have grown, and this is a recruitment for a 100% Full Time, career, benefited position. If you have any questions or would like more information about this position, feel free to contact Craig Veramay at CVeramay@cityofberkeley.info

Additional Information about this position:

The incumbent will be responsible for the management of Berkeley’s Echo Lake Camp, located near South Lake Tahoe, CA. This position will entail working from the Berkeley Recreation Division offices in Berkeley during the months of approximately October through May, and living on site (where meals & lodging are provided in full) at Echo Lake Camp during the months of approximately June through September.  The incumbent will be responsible for the year round management of Echo Lake Camp including facility operations; program management; staff recruitment, selection, training, and supervision; full-service commercial kitchen and dining hall operations; program administration, cash handling, and record keeping; and customer service.

FOBTC Moves the Rebuilding Process Forward!

Last April 2017, as the Berkeley City Council was getting ready to vote for or against the rebuilding of Camp, The Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp committed a $50,000 contribution from the camper community IF the Council voted YES for rebuilding Camp. City Council needs to see community fundraising when it commits to funding city projects with taxpayer money. For the past year, we have negotiated with the City staff to make sure any contributions went into a special account to be used ONLY for Tuolumne rebuilding costs and improvements, not for staff costs, general City fund costs, etc..


On July 24, 2018, FOBTC contributed a $50,000 check into a special line-item budget fund that can only be used for rebuilding costs for Camp Tuolumne, and the Council accepted this donation with a Special Resolution, making it law. We now have our path for making sure we can support the rebuilding process and accept donations from campers and make sure it will go towards Camp Tuolumne!


FOBTC is working with the project managers to be up to date with what insurance will pay to replace, what FEMA will then call FEMA approved projects they’ll cover (75%), what the City will cover, and what will potentially NOT be there. An example of this is shade – insurance and FEMA will not pay to replace the lost trees.  We will need architectural shade as well as trees, and a natural replanting in main camp. FOBTC will stay on top of this developing situation and be a portal for campers who want to support having camp be comfortable and beautiful from day 1. Feel free to reach out to scott@fobtc.com to meet and discuss your enthusiasm and excitement for giving, and get a detailed plan.


The current timeline is for camp to be built over 2 years (2021/2022), after design and environmental reviews (2019/2020), and be open summer 2022. Lets keep moving the ball forward to stay on this timeline and be back at the river as soon as possible!

FOBTC awarded UC Chancellor’s Grant to bring Berkeley youth to Camp!

Great news campers!
The Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp has been awarded a $20,000 grant from The University of California Chancellor’s Office for the summer of 2019!

The grant has 3 objectives:
1. Provide more Outdoor Engagement opportunities for Berkeley youth who don’t know about Camp or cannot afford to attend camp as campers.

2. Open up teen CIT opportunities to Berkeley teens who cannot afford the program to create more diversity in the staff of the future and have them come from different parts of Berkeley.

3. Fund UC Berkeley students to come to The Rim Fire Recovery Zone and area surrounding Camp Tuolumne to plant trees next March, paying for their weekend expenses and involving them in the replanting efforts with the Forest Service, and with the future of Camp Tuolumne.

How we will accomplish these objectives:
A. We will be working with Berkeley schools and City staff to promote their programs to a wider audience of Berkeley youth, and provide 100% scholarships for more youth and teens to experience a week at Camp next summer!

B. We have partnered with The California Coalition of Outdoor Engagement at UC Berkeley to bring Cal students to the Stanislaus National Forest next Spring!

Thank you to the UC Chancellor’s Office for this opportunity for Berkeley youth to have more Outdoor Engagement!

Camp Tuolumne in the movies!

Following the Rim Fire tragedy of 2013, two local documentary filmmakers have been tracking Mega-Fires and the change of our landscapes due to climate change. They wanted to tell the story of Camp Tuolumne as the biggest human loss in the Rim Fire, and interviewed FOBTC Executive Director Scott Gelfand for their documentary at camp.
The Berkeley premiere is next Monday. Come join us for this powerful story.
Wilder than Wild: Fire, Forests, and the Future will be screening Monday, May 21, at 7pm at the Brower Center Theatre in Berkeley followed by a discussion and Q & A with Berkeley City Councilmember Kate Harrison, UC Berkeley fire scientist Scott Stephens, Firefighter Mike Shuken, and filmmakers Kevin White and Stephen Most.
Four years in the making, this one-hour documentary reveals how fuel build-up and climate change have exposed Western forests and wildland-urban landscapes to large, high intensity wildfires – and explores strategies to mitigate the impact of these fires.
Tickets are selling fast ($15). All proceeds will go towards the outreach and distribution of the film.
The Brower Center is at 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley – Directions
For more information on Wilder than Wild, visit https://www.wilderthanwildfilm.org
To see the trailer, visit: https://vimeo.com/184561279
We are experiencing now the fires of the future.” – Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE Chief
Wilder than Wild: Fire, Forests, and the Future reveals how fire suppression and climate change have exposed our forests and wildland-urban landscapes to large, high intensity wildfires, while greenhouse gases released from these fires contribute to global warming. In this one-hour documentary, filmmaker Kevin White takes us on a journey from the Rim Fire of 2013 to the wine country wildfires of 2017. Along the way, we learn how the proactive use of prescribed fire can reduce reliance on reactive fire suppression, we see a California tribe renew their tradition of cultural fire, and we meet stakeholder groups working with scientists and resource managers to build consensus on how to restore and manage the lands we love and depend on.

Upcoming 2018 Events! Plant Trees near Camp, Summer 2018!

Announcements, announcements.. announcements!

Great news campers – we have the green light from The US Forest Service to come back for the 3rd Annual Tree Replanting Party near Camp Tuolumne!

Saturday March 10, 2018 9am – 4pm
at Rush Creek Lodge

We stayed at the beautiful Rush Creek Lodge just outside Yosemite on Friday and Saturday nights last year, with great food, cocktails, hot tubs, etc… it was a fabulous get-a-way weekend! They are once again generously supporting our efforts, and offering us a 50% discount again, which can be used for Lodge King Rooms and Villas.

Please email our Volunteer Coordinator Katie Whitty if you’d like to join us this year and she can give you the discount code for online reservations and answer any questions you have. No experience necessary, families are welcome, and the USFS will provide everything we need (trees, shovels, etc..).


It is a marvelous experience, and the trees that we planted last year are growing well (photo below!) Last year we had over 40 volunteers join the Americorp support team and plant over 3000 trees in one day! They make it SO easy for us to do this work, and it was SO healing and wonderful to put trees into the ground!

Registration is open for Summer 2018 at Echo Lake Camp!

The City of Berkeley office has been busy getting registration available for this coming summer –
and families are signing up!

Check out their availability calendar to make plans to get some Family Camp time in..

Labor Day ‘Friends Weekend’ Registration is Open!

For more information and to register click here

The Final Summer Get-a-Way to the Mountains!
Fri Aug 31st – Mon Sept 3rd


The 34 yr. tradition continues for the

Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp

to host an amazing long weekend over Labor Day!

*Special Family Activities
* Boating on Echo Lake
* Hiking for the whole family to waterfalls
* Arts & Crafts – special activity with popular Artist-in-Resident Heather MacDonald
* FOBTC hosted Happy Hour at sunset overlooking 8000 ft. view over Lake Tahoe
* Tournaments, traditions, Campfires, BINGO, and more..

Oct 2017: City of Berkeley hires Siegel & Strain Architects!

Great news everyone – we are moving forward!!!

On October 17, 2017, the Berkeley City Council approved a resolution on the consent calendar that marked a huge turning point in our rebuilding effort – the hiring of Siegel & Strain Architects to take us from today to the opening of camp.  This firm won the bid with experience and the City staff knowing they’d be the best firm to build our camp! FOBTC submitted a formal letter of support to the Mayor and Council, and have had past experience with this firm. FOBTC Board Member Ari Vared worked with them to rebuild Camp Newman, and couldn’t say enough great things about them.

Check out their work: http://www.siegelstrain.com/

Here’s the formal resolution:

Contract: Siegel & Strain Architects for Architectural and Engineering Services for the Berkeley Tuolumne Camp Design
From: City Manager
Recommendation: Adopt a Resolution authorizing the City Manager to execute a contract and any amendments with Siegel & Strain Architects in an amount not to exceed $4,300,000 to provide architectural and engineering services for the Berkeley Tuolumne Camp Design Project.
Financial Implications: Playground Camp Fund – $4,300,000
Contact: Scott Ferris, Parks, Recreation and Waterfront, 981-6700

The quick picture at this point looks like this:

1) Insurance money continues to roll in – and the City continues to negotiate with insurance and FEMA for all the remaining funds.

2) Siegel & Strain take the proposed zoning designs done by 2M Architects and begin a new design phase – what Camp might REALLY look like in reality. This phase will have a public informational process, likely at the 60 % design stage – in 5 – 6 months. The City will keep us updated and we’ll be sure to let everyone know. This phase will tell us what can be rebuilt, what insurance and FEMA will cover, etc.. and will also inform us as to what will NOT be covered. That gap is what FOBTC is looking to support so we can have the camp we all want.

3) The USFS NEPA (The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making decisions) process is continuing, and City staff are confident they’ve addressed all the issues.

4) The timeline to opening day is 2021! We’ll keep pushing and supporting that timeline!

In May 2017, the City Manager briefed Council on the Berkeley Tuolumne Camp reconstruction, and in particular, the City’s ongoing negotiation with insurance and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the primary funders of the reconstruction of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp (BTC). In addition, this memo provides information about camp and recreation program scholarships and outreach efforts.

Click here to read through the City’s timeline for rebuilding, and the update:

2017-05-02 BTC Status Update 050217

FOBTC is actively engaged in every part of this effort to get camp rebuilt as soon as possible. Thank you for joining and supporting our efforts! Your contributions and support of this non-profit is helping us stay on top of this every day, and will also help close the gap of what we want to build at Camp that will not be funded by insurance, FEMA and the City.