The USFS releases their Scoping Package for Camp Tuolumne!

Hi dear Campers, Staff and Friends!

Once again we are able to write you with GREAT news and an update as we continue to work towards the rebuilding of Camp at Harden Flat Road!

As you may know by now, The Berkeley City Council voted to support the Special Use Lease Permit, along with allocating money for the environmental review process to begin. The City staff should be commended for doing an amazing job navigating this very detailed process, and the Council deserves all of our support for being behind it.


Now the USFS has written the next steps – The Scoping Package, the general scope of the project. We get to review that and comment on it within a 30 day window.

The Stanislaus National Forest Supervisor is requesting specific written comments on the City of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp (BTC) Permit during an initial 30-day designated opportunity for public participation from October 28, 2015 through November 27, 2015.  The cover letter, scoping package, maps and other project information are available at the City Camps office or online at:

The Board of FOBTC has reviewed this in detail and has written its comments of complete support for the package. We are thrilled at what the package represents for camp. We encourage you to review it and write your own comments to the Forest Service. 

You can read our letter here:

27 October 2015
Stanislaus National Forest Attn: BTC;
19777 Greenley Road
Sonora, CA 95370

Dear Supervisor Higgins,

The Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp fully supports the proposed scoping package for the City of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp Permit (BTC) project to issue a 30-year permit to the City of Berkeley for 45 acres, and move forward with the rebuilding of our historical home.

We are very grateful for the thoughtful and careful outreach, collaboration, and planning that the USFS staff has invested in this important project.

The Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp is a 501 c(3) non-profit organization founded in 1984 that represents thousands of campers and staff spanning many generations who are mourning the loss of their summer camp. We are excited to be working alongside the City of Berkeley and the US Forest Service to help in the efforts to rebuild this special place.

We note, support and especially appreciate these important elements of the scoping package:
1) Expanding the overall footprint of camp to help move structures away  from the riparian corridor;
2) Keeping camp at the same capacity size as before so that it can continue to serve diverse communities of campers from Berkeley and beyond;
3) Increasing the capacity of parking lots to relocate parking off of Hardin Flat Road;
4) Replanting and revegetating the area within camp.

The value of BTC to the USFS is consistent with the 2010 Stanislaus National Forest Plan:
“Provide a wide range of recreation opportunities directed at various experience levels to meet current and projected demand, including campgrounds, hiking trails, picnic areas, OHV trails, etc.”

In closing, we give our complete support to this plan. Thank you for your hard work and we look forward to the next stages of the rebuilding of Berkeley’s Tuolumne Camp.


Steve Geahry
President – The Board of Directors

Moving Forward on Special Use Permit and Environmental Reviews


Update from The City of Berkeley Council Meeting last Tuesday night!

Tuesday night was an important night at the City’s Council Meeting. On the Consent Calendar was the Park and Recreation’s staff request for Approval by the Council for the next steps in the rebuilding process for Camp – the ability to apply for the Special Use Permit with the National Forest Service, and expenditure of money for the state and federal required environmental review process which follows.

FOBTC sent a formal letter ahead of time to every Council Member supporting this, and we attended the meeting. Board Member Richard Thomason, a 22 year Berkeley resident, spoke in person reiterating our appreciation of the City and Council’s efforts to rebuild camp at Harden Flat, and of FOBTC’s continued supportive role in this process.

The action was approved with no dissent or discussion. 🙂

GREAT news. Next week the City staff meet with the Supervisor of the Stanislaus National Forest to move the process forward.

We will continue to monitor and update campers and staff as to the progress of the rebuilding. We will hold more meetings and information nights when needed.

Until then  – we celebrate that things are on track, and lets roast some marshmallows this Sunday!


Great End-of-Summer Fun at Friends Weekend and Tee off for Tuolumne!

The summer of 2015 ended with back to back weekends of campers coming to celebrate what we have, and how we’re going to go forward together! Both events reminded everyone of the amazing Tuolumne Spirit and connection we share, and that our community is as strong as ever.


Labor Day Weekend at Echo Lake:

A Sold-Out Echo Lake Camp was a buzz all weekend with end of summer fun! Warm days and star-filled evenings was ordered up, and we had social hour on the observation deck and a campfire every night. We played BINGO with amazing prizes, including t-shirts, hats, and a Magnum of expensive wine to the adult winner! Archery, swimming, arts and crafts, volleyball. yoga, ping pong, and great hikes were among the activities during the day, highlighted with a very special 50 person Boat Tour of Echo Lake by the owners of the Echo Lake Chalet!

Sunday night we told our camp stories and memories about Tuolumne around the campfire, and sang our camp songs. The smells of marshmellows and smores filled the air. It was magical and sweet to hear everyone’s camp experiences.

We presented our very first “Friend of the Year” award to honor the volunteer efforts of campers who are committed to the long term success of Camp Tuolumne. The 2015 recipients of the “Friend of the Year” went to Jim and Katie Whitty, who have been tirelessly and joyously volunteering for many years for FOBTC. These two truly exhibit the “Tuolumne Spirit” and we are so appreciative of their work and efforts!

Thanks to everyone who joined us, and we hope next summer those who got turned away because it was already sold out will have a chance to be there as well! A long standing tradition at Tuolumne was brought to Echo Lake, and it was fantastic to be together.

“Tee off for Tuolumne”:

Last Saturday we had about 75 golfers and over 200 for dinner at Tilden Park, and this once a year fundraiser put on by campers Jim and Katie Whitty was once again a fantastic success! We had City of Berkeley staff, Councilman Laurie Capitelli, Camp Manager Craig Veramey, and hundreds of dedicated campers young and old dining together and enjoying the beautiful evening at Tilden Park.

Bruceputting contest winner Bruce Lengacher wins $300!

The day was filled with light hearted golf and staff running around Tilden Park having a blast! “Tuolumne Tim”  – the Yeti of Camp, was seen driving around and taking photos with golfers (the other golfers had no idea what to make of him)

golf cart yeti

The “Hot Mamas” of Tuolumne hosted tee#10 with special cocktails, “whisper announcing and golf clapping”, and unbridled enthusiasm, as well as lots of fur! (again, the other golfers not connected to camp had no idea what to make of them!) Their Camp Spirit is off the hook!

hot mamas

A hole in one on the 180 yard Hole #4 was the most exciting possibility of the day! There was one golfer, Matt Johnston, an ex-professional golfer, who came pretty close!


If he had gotten that shot another 2 feet into the hole, he would have won this!

staff at car 2015

(staff not included in the winning! Just the classic Mercedes Convertible!)

At night we had a great Taco dinner for over 200, with a great live auction and over 30 raffle prizes! Vacation get-a-ways, hotel stays, GoPro Camera’s, Art, Wine, Green Camp Chairs…  great donations for a great cause. Everyone contributed and enjoyed their camp community, and we were able to raise some funds for the year long work of FOBTC and the rebuild Camp Tuolumne efforts.

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to play, to dine, to wine, and to bid. Singing the Camp Song arm-in-arm brought lots of smiles and tears to our eyes.

So as we say goodbye to another summer, we are deeply grateful for the memories we made at Camp this summer, and the knowledge that together, a United Camp Community, we have many more years ahead of us of great summer memories.

You dream of me…. and I’ll dream of you.

Scott Gelfand

Executive Director

Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp

Staff Appreciation!

Being on a staff at a summer camp is a rite of passage for millions of young Americans. It often brings a freedom and independence from their family that they have not known before, and a chance to be a responsible working adult for the first time. It is a glorious time of learning many new skills – how to find friends, how to be a competent worker, how to deal with the public, how to sign IRS forms and the joy of receiving a paycheck for hard work. Being at a summer camp far away in the mountains, it is a time for personal growth and connection with nature. It usually hard to work for too many years, as other jobs and growing responsibilities challenges the chance to be on staff again, but they remember those special summers the rest of their lives.

Staff consistency and retention is at the heartbeat of the business and spirit of Camp. At other family camps I have visited, the staff are not always the center of attention or at the core of the experience. Our staff has always been in the front – singing the songs, playing every game, becoming Superheroes every Saturday night in the staff show, cooking special dishes for special diets, serving every table with enthusiasm, and attending to any needs a camper has – whether the staff are off duty or in the department doesn’t matter. Seeing staff return to camp, and happy, keeps everyone feeling like nothing at camp has changed, and makes the administration and running of camp smooth and seamless.

For the past 2 summers, Tuolumne Staff and Echo Lake staff have merged – and have worked through so many changes and physical differences to keep Camp similar for campers. It is a different camp at Echo Lake for sure. But the staff embraced the changes and continued the same joy we are so accustomed to, and this past summer was remarkable after just one year of working out the kinks.

These are mostly the same staff that fled in the fire, lost their belongings, were emotionally scarred, and for them, a part of their youth burned in that fire. We joked in the first week at Echo Lake last year that they are all pioneers at this new camp… figuring it out as they go along. A big thanks and kudos to the City staff (Scott, Denise and Craig) for putting the resources needed to basically sell out the summer of family camp, and also youth camp – and give staff the tools they needed to be successful! FOBTC also contributed resources and support to enhance the camper and staff experience for the past 2 summers, with the goal of sustaining a thriving camp business..

For decades and decades, a great summer traditionally ended in a great thank you dinner for the entire staff, sponsored and paid for by campers and The Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp.

This year and last year were no different.

We now have a welcome packet, with envelopes and a safe to collect any donations at the camp office. This year we offered free “Rebuild Camp” t-shirts to anyone who gave a contribution towards this dinner.

west shore dinner 2015

Instead of The Ahwahnee in Yosemite, they chose The West Shore Cafe in Lake Tahoe. A beautiful restaurant. They dress up in the finest for the only time of the summer. They go from sleeping on cots and the dirt all summer, from back packing and pitching tents on their days off, to elegance and upscale! And they always say it was the best evening of the summer!

thank you card fobtc

So THANKS to everyone who contributed to this special dinner, and appreciation! Well done! Your donations and contributions mean a lot to the staff, and to the business of camp.

Thank you,


Executive Director

Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp

Please Help Us Support Camp With These Upcoming Events!

Hi dear campers!

Click Here to have an end of summer blast at Camp before the school year kicks in!

Details: Fri Sept 4th – 6th (it is open to come earlier and stay later if you want)
Where:  Berkeley’s Echo Lake Camp (off Hwy 50 above Lake Tahoe)

You can look forward to:

* A private boat tour of Echo Lake with the owners of the Echo Lake Chalet, who know the history and knowledge of the area better than anyone! Should be amazing!

* Wine tasting and Happy Hour on the Observation Deck!

* Morning Yoga with a 10,000 ft view and a Nature Hike with our Naturalist Phil Coffin!

* Swimming in the Pool, Canoeing on Echo Lake, Arts and Crafts, Volleyball vs. the Staff, Campfire, morning coffee in the Green Chair Circle … and much more!

Please reserve your tent before they sell out!
We expect the tents to be filled by Aug 15th.. so reserve early.

E-mail me with any questions. It would be great to be in the mountains with you at the end of the summer and enjoying camp before we turn the page to the busy Fall season.


Help us Raise Fun and Funds for the Rebuilding of Camp
at the 2nd Annual

“Tee off for Tuolumne” Golf Tourney!

Saturday Sept 12th
  Tilden Park Golf Course, Berkeley
11am – $1000 putting contest
1pm Tee off for Tuolumne!
6pm  Dinner  (you can come just for dinner and auction)

Click Here for Tickets/Reservations/Donations/Dinner

A HUGE thanks to all of you who have already signed up to golf, eat delicious tacos, donated raffle prizes, and/or bought raffle tickets!

We need EVERYONE’S help to make this a fun and successful event again this year.

Last year this tournament raised over $15,000!  This money will be utilized to restore, refurbish and replant our beloved camp. Think of it this way…every time you buy a raffle ticket another leaf on a dogwood tree will bloom.  Every golfer that signs up represents another green chair to add to the circle. Every taco you eat represents a smile on a future camper’s face as they jump off Beaverhead Rock for the first time.  So if you don’t golf ask someone who does and sign them up. If you don’t like tacos find a friend that does and send them our way, we would love to have them.

Online registration is now open for both golfers and for the dinner to be held at Tilden Park Golf Course in Berkeley.

It would really be helpful to the planning committee to know as soon as possible how many are attending this year to order food and beverages.

EARLY BIRD SIGN-UP BONUS – If you sign up before August 15th for either the golf or dinner we will throw in a FREE RAFFLE TICKET. See the website for the current list of raffle prizes.

All pertinent information and online registration can be made by clicking on the link below and following the directions on the website.

If you are not adept at online registrations please feel free to contact me and I will help you in any way I can.


Scott Gelfand
Executive Director
Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp

The latest progress in the rebuilding of Camp Tuolumne

Hi Campers and Staff! The City has done a series of workshops in this Master Planning process to include your feedback – and as of Friday, updated its web page to include the summaries of the recent BTC workshops and the two attached graphic documents.

More comments are still flowing in, and combined with Forest Service review and technical baseline reports that are now coming in, these documents will change by the time the Scoping Package is complete and released for public comment.

It is a work in progress. Big thanks to the City staff and Patrick and Jane for their excellent work and inclusivity! Here is their update on the progress of camp..

BTC UPDATE_July_2015

BTC Permit and Master Development Plan Concepts_July 2015


Executive Director


July 2015


Announcements, announcements…

“The Tuolumne Spirit!”
keeping you informed, involved and up to date with your favorite Camp!

Here’s your FOBTC July update:

* Amazing sold out summer at Echo Lake

* Join us on Sept 3rd or 4th for Friends weekend at Echo Lake

* The 2nd Annual Tee off for Tuolumne Sept 12th

* The latest Update from the City re; the Master Plan Process



Echo Lake Family Camp is SOLD OUT!! Way to go campers!
My family was there for a week and it was awesome!

If you missed it, click here to watch the 2015 Staff Show – ET lands at Echo Lake!
The 2015 Staff Show on YouTube

The staff are having a blast, the food’s been great, the pool’s beautiful and refreshing, and there’s NOTHING like Echo Lake and Lake Tahoe for vacation settings!

They’ve done a great job since last year getting Camp right and the City Staff deserves a lot of credit for a fabulous summer at Camp!

Go to:
to check out the camp!

We really want your involvement and support!

Saturday Sept 12th 1pm Tilden Park
2nd Annual “Tee off For Tuolumne!”

6pm Dinner, auction and raffle follow the golf
Click Here for Details

Amazing Prizes:
Vacation Houses
Adirondack Green Chairs
Expensive Wine and Art
Tickets to the San Francisco Giants
and lots more..

All proceeds benefit the FOBTC
Rebuild Camp Tuolumne Campaign

or Click Here for details and registration
FOBTC Weekend at Echo Lake
Thursday Sept 3rd – Mon Sept 7th
Extended to Beat the Traffic and Come up on Thursday!

Tents with a view

Tents with a view

Labor Day weekend is on with special events for everyone
in the family hosted by FOBTC!

Come up to camp with “Fish Camp” rates!

Breaking News!  We have arranged for a Private Boating Tour of Echo Lake with the Owners of the Echo Lake Chalet! They will take us all around the lake and talk about its history, geology, flora, fauna, and special insider historical knowledge. Awesome!!

We’ll also have a special wine tasting, old-school Arts and Crafts, campfire and table night talent, all organized by 3 former Recreation Supervisors (now on the Board)!

Sign up with a Fish Camp reservation form:

Update on the Master Plan and the Rebuilding Process!


The public workshops were well attended and the feedback is in!
Read the comments, and check out the latest news from the City staff.

Click Here to see the latest

information and drawings of Camp!

June 2015 – Get Ready for Summer!


The Tuolumne Spirit!
It is almost summertime, and we all know
we love to be in the mountains during the summer…

UPDATE on Rebuilding Camp:

Don’t miss the Parks and Waterfront Meeting!
This Wed June 10th 7pm
Frances Albrier Community Center 2800 Park St. Berkeley

click here for more information:

Sierra Family Camp is open and excited to host your family at Echo Lake Camp!


There are still some days available early in the summer (June 20th – July 1st), and a few sprinkled throughout July, so click:  to check out availability and make a reservation!

The pool is open, the canoes are at the lake for you, and the Staff Show is E.T. the Extra Terrestial (to the music of Michael Jackson and Earth Wind and Fire and Bruno Mars, to name a few).

Of course ET gets to experience Camp, and even though he wants to go home, being a Camper is pretty exciting!

The weather has been beautiful – warm Sierra days and cool nights, with a sky full of stars.

Sign up today, get to the mountains and check out Sierra Family Camp for a few days!

Go to:
to check out availability and make a reservation!


Friday Sept 4th – Mon Sept 7th Labor Day weekend

is on with special events for everyone in the family hosted by FOBTC!

Tents with a view

Tents with a view

Come up to camp with “Fish Camp” rates and get ready for boating on Echo Lake, wine tasting, old-school Arts and Crafts, campfire and table night talent, all organized by 3 former Recreation Supervisors (now on the Board)!

Sign up with a Fish Camp reservation form:


Saturday Sept 12th 1pm Tilden Park
2nd Annual “Tee off For Tuolumne!”
6pm Dinner and raffle follow the golf


Amazing Prizes:
Vacation Houses
Adirondack Green Chairs
Expensive Wine and Art
Tickets to the San Francisco Giants
and lots more..

All proceeds benefit the FOBTC
Rebuild Camp Tuolumne Campaign

for details and registration

Recap and videos from our event at The Freight & Salvage!

Hi campers, staff and friends!

We had a brilliant night of learning about The Rim Fire from our friends at The United States Forest Service!

The Freight and Salvage was a packed house of enthusiastic Bay Area residents interested in learning about the scope and size of the fire, and what can be done going forward to help our forest be sustainable, and healthy. We had campers from Tuolumne Camp, Camp Tawonga, Camp Mather, San Jose Camp and Lair of the Bear, as well as other non-profits working in the forest. Thank you to The Freight for hosting us!

Amongst the biggest news we learned is that the City of Berkeley and the USFS have an agreement to go forward for the rebuilding of camp at the current Harden Flat location! Huge news! That leads us to The Master Plan development process which has started with public meetings. See the schedule at:

Please come and give the Master Plan your voice and opinions in these public workshops!

We learned about the cooperation and volunteer effort needed from the Bay Area community to help the USFS plant 7 million trees over the size of an area equal to Los Angeles!  Since the fire was one of the most devastating in California history, there is an unprecedented effort to reforest and they need help from every source they can.

Watch the 13 min. clip of “The Fire Next Time” which we showed that illustrates what Mega-Fires are all about and the amazing collaboration of the Yosemite Stanislaus Solutions group that FOBTC is a part of:

Most people have not been to camp to see what it currently looks like. We showed a slide show from our Executive Director Scott Gelfand made in December of what Camp looks like today after the 1400 hazardous trees were removed in the fall. View it here:

Craig Veramay and Denise Brown from the City of Berkeley spoke beautifully about the rebuilding process of Camp, and also Sierra Family Camp at Echo Lake. The business of Camp is vital to the process of rebuilding camp, and our support of camp at Echo Lake is very important to the continuing of the traditions and experience of Tuolumne Camp. There is still room for reservations, although the camp is filling up.

Please go to and sign up for some time at Camp. FOBTC will be programming a Labor Day weekend there (Boat Regatta on Echo Lake!) at the end of the summer, and Blues Weekend returns as well! Check out our events page for more information.

Finally, we ended the night by showing rare footage saved in the fire of 16 mm film taken at Camp Tuolumne in 1948! FOBTC paid for digitizing the film and editing it to a cohesive short film of what it was like to be at Camp in 1948! Enjoy:

Our new partnership with the Forest Service was in full bloom at this event, and everyone in the audience could feel their incredible efforts to save Camp and rebuild it in the same location. We are amongst their top priorities in their planning, as they recognize the important history and connection to the Bay Area.

A “Call to Action” plan will be coming down the road to rebuild trails, plant trees, collect seeds, clear brush, etc.. all under the supervision and guidance of the USFS. We’ll keep you posted and hope you will join us.

Thank you!! We’ll see you at The Master Plan meetings! Very exciting!

Scotty and the Board of Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp

City Announces Workshops for Master Plan

If you have thoughts and/or have the time to attend a Master Planning session, we encourage you to participate! This is a big step towards getting our beloved BTC re-built.

From the City of Berkeley:

Tuolumne Camp Master Development Plan Concept and Online Survey Released; Public Workshop Dates Announced.

Berkeley, California (Thursday, April 9, 2015) – The City is inviting the public to participate in the Berkeley Tuolumne Camp Master Development Plan by completing a new online survey and attending upcoming public workshops and meetings. The Survey and Workshops will provide an opportunity to see initial concept drawings of the camp, to contribute ideas, and to gain a better understanding of the design and planning processes for rebuilding the Camp (including the environmental analysis and subsequent decision making). Additional information is now available on the City of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp Website.

Online Survey: Tuolumne Development Plan Survey  (Available April 9-May 15, 2015)

Tuolumne Camp Master Development Plan Public Workshops

Tuolumne Camp Master Development Plan Public Workshops






Public Workshop #1

Wednesday, April 29th

7pm – 9pm

James Kenney Community Center

1720 Eighth Street, Berkeley, CA

Public Workshop #2


Saturday, May 9th



Frances Albrier Community Center


2800 Park Street, Berkeley, CA

Public Workshop #3







Groveland, CA

Parks & Waterfront Commission

Wednesday, June 10th




Frances Albrier Community Center

2800 Park Street, Berkeley, CA


Echo Lake Family Camp Meetings

June 20-28th

To Be Announced

Berkeley Echo Lake Camp

Lot #7, Echo Lakes Rd. Echo Lake, CA 95721

Meetings about the Tuolumne Camp design process will be hosted for registered Family Campers at Echo Lake Camp the week of June 20-28, 2015. Interested in attending Echo Lake Camp? Space is still available! To register for Family Camp at Echo Lake, visit the Echo Lake Camp website or call (510) 981-5140.

Berkeley Tuolumne Camp, in operation since 1922, has been a highly regarded summer tradition for generations of Berkeley residents. More than 4,000 individuals annually enjoyed fun-filled activities and heart-felt traditions at Tuolumne Camp. We encourage campers to explore the new Family Camp at Echo Lake, which takes the best of Echo Lake and Tuolumne Camps to create a wonderful family camping experience for all ages. Whether exploring the new programs available at Echo Lake Camp or participating in the upcoming public process, we thank you for keeping the City of Berkeley Camp Spirit alive. For more information about City of Berkeley Camps, contact:

City of Berkeley Recreation Office 1947 Center St. 1st Floor Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 981-5140


If you are interested, the link to Conceptual Drawings can be found here.page1image62800 page1image62960