Boys camp alumni volunteers help revive George Bush Tree loop

Two United State Department of Agriculture, 14 RM Boys Camp Alumni help repair damage caused by 2020 Castle Fire

SPRINGVILLE – Early this month, 16 volunteers made it their mission to help repair damage left by the 2020 Castle Fire, in particular around the President George Bush Tree.

According to a National Park Service press release, 14 alumni from the R.M. Boys Camp, an organization the promotes long-term positive behavioral change for low-income, disadvantaged boys by providing a wilderness camp experience and mentoring, and two United State Department of Agriculture employees came to volunteer their services.

They removed burned infrastructure along the loop trail around the President George Bush Tree, located on the Western Divide Ranger District in Giant Sequoia National Monument, Sequoia National Forest.

Dozens of composite boards that had been installed to hold surface material in place, melted or warped due to the intense heat from the fire. Damaged boards were removed and hand-carried to the trailhead for proper disposal. Deep channels left from the removed boards were filled with dirt and leveled out.

“This project was one of many vital actions needed to reopen the trail to the public,” stated District Ranger Eric LaPrice. “Thank you to R.M. Pyles Boys Camp volunteers for their continuing support on the District.”

The President George Bush Tree is located in the 1,700-acre Freeman Creek Giant Sequoia Grove, normally accessed from the Lloyd Meadow Road (Road 22S82). This tree was named in honor of President George H. W. Bush when he proclaimed protection for all giant sequoia groves throughout the Sequoia, Sierra and Tahoe National Forests.

Due to the Castle Fire, Forest managed lands near this trail remain closed due to hazards in the burned area, posing a concern for public safety and allowing for natural fire recovery. “While the area is closed, Forest officials are working diligently to repair fire-damaged trails and roads so they may reopen to the recreating public. Without partners, such as R.M. Pyles Boys Camp, this effort would take much longer to accomplish,” LaPrice stated.

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