Camp de Benneville Pines

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The latest edition of the de Benneville Connection , our semi-annual newspaper
is now available. Pick up a paper copy at camp or download it Here!

Watch a 50 Year History Video - Click Here!
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Janet James, Camp Executive Director
with Daisy Doodle, Camp Dog

About Camp de Benneville Pines

Camp de Benneville Pines is a retreat and conference center located in the Barton Flats area of the San Bernardino National Forest, about 90 miles east of Los Angeles. At an elevation of 6,800 feet, the camp is surrounded by a forest of towering pines, cedars, and oaks. We are affiliated with the Pacific Southwest District of the Unitarian-Universalist Association and welcome people of all faiths who want to use our facility for programming compatible with our philosophy of respect for the interconnected web of life and for the worth and dignity of all human beings.

Our facilities include a beautiful heated swimming pool (open in season), a hot tub, children’s playground, an archery range, and opportunities for many outdoor sports in season including hiking, snowshoeing, sledding, as well as fishing and canoeing in nearby Jenks Lake. Our cabins are all equipped with modern bathrooms and hot showers, and offer comfortable sleeping quarters. Delicious meals are prepared by our talented kitchen staff and served in our main lodge.

We currently host youth and family camps, church weekend retreats, yoga camps, music camps, art and photography camps, performing arts camps for youths (through our affiliation with Camp Bravo), adult summer camps and many more. Contact us on 909-794-2928 or email us at to find out if we are right for your next camp retreat or conference.

Bearing a Welcome to All!!

Back in Business!

Dousing the fire near Camp de Benneville
After perhaps the most harrowing four weeks in Camp de Benneville Pines history, during and after the "Lake Fire", the Camp was able to welcome campers again the weekend of July 11th. The PSWD Junior High campers and staff arrived on schedule, with one minor glitch due a second fire in the area that closed route 38 again for a brief period on Sunday. With any luck, the rest of our summer will proceed as originally scheduled.
In the paragraphs below, our president, Glenn Noreen, provides his impression of the "state of the Camp", following the fire. You may also be interested to know that John Rabe, host for public radio station KPCC's "Off- Ramp" visited Camp on the 7th of July. You can listen to his complete interview with our director, Janet James by clicking the link, above. You can also listen to the prior telephone interview with Janet, and follow any further developments, or schedule changes by visiting our Facebook Page.

From the President's Desk

Glenn Noreen, Camp President

Tom Thorward and I visited camp recently and went to a Forest Service briefing about the fire. Below, I describe my impression of the boundaries of the fire near camp. For orientation, looking uphill from camp is south (which to me seems counter-intuitive).

The fire apparently began just south (uphill) of the water tank. One of the early pictures of the fire shows it ranging adjacent to and uphill of the old Boy Scout water tanks (large cylindrical concrete pipes). The fire did not come north (downhill) from here, so the water tank is fine (and full!).

A spur of the fire spread west (to the right looking uphill) and a bit north (downhill). This spur never crossed downhill of the access trail to the Foresee Creek Trail, which acted (with assist from the fire fighters) as a fire break; this access trail marks the furthest northern boundary of the fire near camp. The spur extended to perhaps twenty feet of the twin tall Ponderosa Pines at the intersection of the access trail and the Foresee Creek Trail. It did not extend to the Foresee Trail itself, at least in this area; Ross recently posted a photo of himself and me next to the San Gorgonio wilderness boundary sign near the trail intersection, and you can see there is no visible damage in the picture.

Firefighters at Camp de Benneville Pines during the Lake Fire
Credit: Janet James

The fire ran to the southeast from the water tank (uphill and to the left looking uphill), quickly extending its width to that of a freeway, then the width of perhaps two or three freeways where it ran into the creek. The northern (downhill) boundary of fire at the creek is several blocks south (uphill) of the camp.

The fire damage is not visible from the camp itself. You would need to walk up from Cabin 3 towards the water tank to see signs of it. The damage is not visible along Highway 38 driving from Redlands to the camp, and is not visible from the Barton Flats road to camp. Visitors driving from Redlands to the camp will not see any damage and could easily attend a full camp session without noticing that there has been a fire.

The first obvious sign of the fire from Jenks Lake Road is past Jenks Lake (which is open for all uses, including canoeing) is approaching the South Forks trail. The fire damage at the South Forks trailhead is severe. However, the fire never crossed over to the north side of Jenks Lake Road (or Highway 38, for that matter, going all the way to Big Bear).

The camp was closed for almost 4 weeks of summer camp.  Our lost revenue after canceling 4 weeks of camp is quite significant..  Many people are asking how they may help ease the financial blow suffered by the camp.  In the weeks to come, we will be soliciting for both financial support and manual support.  We need to set sandbags and hay waddles in strategic areas on the hill above camp to help direct any additional water flow, due to the burn above the camp, away from our buildings.  We will need a lot of helping hands to accomplish this task before the rainy season sets in. We will also need to financial support to help close the gap.

On a positive note, the camp mailed a teddy bear to all PSWD Elementary Campers who had to miss camp due to the fire.  The teddy bears came complete with a letter asking the camper to take care of the bear who had lost his home due to the fire, and give the bear a name.  Click on our Facebook Page to see the joyful smiles of several of the happy campers with their bears.

The fire was a tragedy, but fires are a natural part of the circle of life and the forest will recover. In the meantime, our camp is intact and our programs are again underway. See you in camp!


Camp de Benneville Pines' page on Facebook