Tuolumne Spirit gathering at Freight and Salvage on Monday, April 28, 2014
Scott Gelfand and the Events committee of FOBTC organized an information/Table Night event at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley. Over 350 tickets were purchased and an excited group of campers arrived to see traditional Table Night skits and to hear about the City of Berkeley’s progress on rebuilding Berkeley Tuolumne Camp.
The highlight of the evening was a short speech by Berkeley mayor Tom Bates announcing that the City was committed to rebuilding Camp, despite many known and unknown hurtles. The mayor received a standing ovation for his pledge. In addition, the mayor presented a plaque from FOBTC to Mike McEneany for his historic efforts to save Camp back in the early 1980’s when it was threatened by a dam project. Mike also was instrumental as a found member of the Tuolumne River Trust who successfully gained a “Wild and Scenic” Federal declaration for the main stem of the Tuolumne River.
Patrick Koepple, Executive Director of the Tuolumne River Trust spoke for 15 minutes on the efforts of his organization after the devastation of the Rim fire to the Tuolumne watershed. One of his most poignant comments was that only 16% of the Tuolumne River water flow was dedicated to fish and wildlife.
The final speaker of the evening was Scott Ferris, Director of Parks & Waterfront for the City of Berkeley. Scott informed the crowd of his many efforts to get Camp cleaned up and his negotiations so far with the City’s insurance carriers, FEMA and the US Forest Service, from whom the City leases the Camp. Many questions remain but Scott continues to be hopeful that BTC may one day be rebuilt. He cautioned that the process would be slow and could easily take up to four years to complete. In the meantime, he encouraged all the BTC campers to take advantage of the City’s Echo Lake Camp as they have opened three weeks of their season to Family Camp.
It was an enjoyable evening with Table night and skits interspersed between speakers and with the excellent MC talent of Scott Gelfand, the creator, along with Board President Steve Geahry, of the many Saturday night Staff shows.
Many thanks to The Tamsen Donner Blues Band who greeted the guests as they arrived with their tunes; Katie Whitty, Patricia and their staff helpers who handled sales; Lisa Bullwinkle and Beth and Rose Gelfand for managing the box office; and the amazing talent of the night, Finn the Magnificent & Miss Direction; Ava Killbourn’s amazing essay on the Rim Fire and Camp; Aaron Bendich who is competing in the World-Championships in Yo Yo Talent, Amy Schaffer with Suzanne Praetzel singing Fields of Gold, and Sophie and Felix Sparling singing and strumming “The Old Man of the Mountain”! What a talented camp we have!