The Rim Fire occurred in August 2013 in the nearly million acre Stanislaus National Forest where we are located. The wildfire, which was started by a hunter’s illegal campfire, became the 3rd largest in California History. More than 5,000 firefighters worked to control the blaze, and, while there were several injuries, there were no fatalities from the fire. We and our entire community will be forever grateful to the heroic firefighters for their valiant efforts during the fire.
Fortunately, the Evergreen Lodge and Yosemite National Park survived the fire virtually unscathed, although significant areas were burned throughout the National Forest to the west of the Park. The fire moved through the forest in patchwork fashion, severely burning certain areas, partially affecting some and leaving others untouched.
People are curious about what to expect with regard to fire damage around the Evergreen:
- The hiking photo featured to the right was taken in March 2015 on our Sierra Sunset Hike, which is a short local hike in the woods surrounding the Evergreen.
- The photo below it shows you our kid’s zip line play area, also taken in March 2015.
- Below that you can see a view of our pool area from our Cedar Terrace in November 2014.
- Lastly you’ll see guests enjoying sunset views from our Sunset Deck last November, overlooking a vast expanse of forest that includes recovering burn areas.
During your drive to the Evergreen, you’ll see firsthand the varied impacts of the fire. On Evergreen Road you will also see the result of recent logging operations to remove trees burned in the fire. This tree removal is the first part of the process of rejuvenating the forest after the fire. The tree removal continues on Highway 120 as well as Forest Service fire roads.
Until this hazard tree removal is complete, a few areas in the National Forest only accessible by fire roads will remain closed. We are excited to be able to re-open our bike trips that were suspended in 2014 during the safety evaluation. The National Forest Service is currently completing the environmental process necessary to begin reforestation efforts in targeted areas, and in years to come we will all witness the cycle of life as the damaged areas of the forest regenerate.
While the Forest Service finishes their process, recreational opportunities still abound in and around the Evergreen. All trails in the magnificent Hetch Hetchy area of Yosemite are open, as are the Tuolumne and Merced Groves of Giant Sequoias and Yosemite’s other major attractions.
Evergreen’s neighbor, beautiful 330 acre Camp Mather, with its lovely spring fed lake, is available for day use. And all outdoor facilities as well as our full slate of daily activities at the Evergreen are available as always. Most of our varied guided recreation trips are also available as usual and were unaffected by the fire. The few trips that normally travel through forest areas affected by the fire are being re-crafted to feature new, unaffected areas. Nearby Carlon Falls, recently named one of America’s Best Swimming Holes by Travel & Leisure Magazine, and renowned Rainbow Pools are open as well.
The Rim Fire was a major event in our area and its effects will last for a generation. The fire presents an important learning opportunity, so shortly after the Rim Fire occurred we created an educational program about the fire and the associated forest ecology and life cycle. This program is now available as part of our ongoing naturalist activities featured at the lodge. We will continue to do our best to present information about the forest and the vision to foster its regeneration as plans unfold.
We hope you have a wonderful experience with us, and thank you for taking time to learn about the Rim Fire.