The Mountain Friends Camp board met virtually on Saturday with Steve Smaby of Collins Lake Ranch, and are happy to share some (tentative) good news!
Currently the Hermits Peak fire is 41% contained, and we continue to follow updates. The active burn has moved away from Mora and Collins Lake Ranch to the west and north, and is very unlikely to backtrack. Residents are now allowed to return to most of Mora and Cleveland, and business are beginning to reopen. Steve has been back home since Tuesday, and reports that the buildings and yurts are all undamaged and that smoke and ash haven't been a problem thus far. The CLR Autism Center residents have returned now as well, though of course everyone is still on high alert should the town need to evacuate again. The fire advanced to the ridge on the western part of the property in early May. Luckily, conditions improved and the firefighters took advantage of a few calm days to set a controlled burn from the dirt road behind the barn up to the ridge to clear pine needles and dry grass to prevent the wild fire advancing further. We’re all grateful for the firefighters and other helpers, about 2,900 people continue working night and day to protect the towns and residences in the area!
At this point, we have high hopes for returning to camp as planned at Collins Lake Ranch. We’re optimistic that the surrounding fire situation will continue to improve and hope to have clarity by the beginning of June. We’ll be considering the health and safety of our campers and staff, as well as our potential impact on our hosts and the local community.
To foster our camp theme of creating community, we are exploring ways to support and connect with a local organization in Mora that is currently collecting funds for elders and others impacted by the fire. Steve has worked with them directly in the past, and is collecting contributions to pass on. If you are moved to donate, you can mail a check to "Collaborative Visions”, and mail c/o Steve Smaby, 252 Encinal Road, Cleveland, NM 87715.
Mountain Friends Camp is also relying on your donations to meet our expenses for this summer. We’re planning to hire more staff than in past years, to provide more small group and individual attention for campers and deeper resources in supporting physical, social, and emotional well-being. Camp is facing increased costs as well, everything from food and supplies to insurance and travel. Our goal is to raise an additional $10,000 in the next two months! With your help, we can maintain our commitment to economic diversity and supporting families who would not otherwise be able to attend camp. Thank you for your contributions!