Winter Storm Destruction – Camp Fire Central Puget Sound

It’s a fact – when you live in the Pacific Northwest, winter storms are a part of life. This year, the November and December weather has been particularly brutal, especially on Vashon Island.

The Thanksgiving Week snowstorm brought only a couple of inches of snow, but that was shortly followed by sub-freezing temperatures and a windstorm with wind speeds around 70 mph. Trees were toppled all around Vashon Island, and power to the entire island was cut for almost a day and a half. In the next couple of weeks, more storms would follow with high wind, lightning and torrential rain.

Not only did Camp Sealth see extensive damage, our sister camp in Port Orchard, Camp Niwana, was hit equally hard.

At Camp Sealth, the damage included:

  • 10+ trees and large limbs came down across the camp road and Knoll House road
  • Several more trees down over trails
  • Damage to two sections of bulkhead in front of Village
  • 17-foot rescue boat “Jack” found battered and washed up on the beach
  • Two sections of floating dock broke apart
  • Newly donated 25-foot Catalina sailboat sunk in 20 feet of water
  • Hopsing cabin in Wrangler suffered extensive water damage from a broken sprinkler pipe – the cabin is likely a total loss and will have to be rebuilt

At Niwana, losses included:

  • Many electrical lines around camp came down
  • The cooks cabin next to the dining hall demolished by a tree
  • Staff cabin has a hole in the roof from a tree
  • One other cabin and the bridge in Happy Hollow are damaged

Most of the immediate clean-up has been taken care of (trees cleared from the roads and power restored), and insurance will cover much of the cost of repair/replacement of the camps’ facilities. But much more work will need to be done before camp is ready for the 2011 spring and summer seasons. A Service Weekend has been scheduled for January 29-30 at Camp Sealth. Volunteers are needed to help clear trails, pick up debris from the road and around cabins, etc. Housing & meals are provided at no cost for service weekend volunteers.

To register for the Service Weekend, contact Nick Cirignano at 206 463 3174 or nickc@campfire-usa.org. Although most camp staff are gone for the holidays, we’ll be back shortly after Christmas.