This year’s fire season has been incredibly devastating for Arizona. Beginning with the Backbone Fire still burning at over 40,000 acres, and now five more in the Coconino National Forest that erupted just days after Backbone began, tens of thousands of acres of fires have caused a Stage 3 closure of the national forest. Dangerous levels of air quality, state road closures limiting access to Camp Colley, and no additional available firefighting resources have culminated in a very fraught camp season.
Camp Colley, nestled squarely within the national forest, has been directed by National Forest Service experts not to host children at camp until the Stage 3 closure is lifted, currently scheduled for September 1, 2021. With this information top-of-mind, we made the grueling decision to cancel the remainder of the Camp Colley 2021 season. There will be no further sessions of camp this summer.
For the past two weeks we closely followed the AZ Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Transportation, and Coconino National Forest updates in order to make the most informed decisions about regarding Camp Colley and the safety of our campers. We had hoped that it would be possible to resume our season, but after being directed not to bring children to camp by the national forest service, we were left with no other choice.
We are heartbroken.
We have notified parents and program partners about this season’s cancellation. All registration fees will be refunded to the parents or caregivers of this summer’s campers in the coming days. Additionally, all campers have been referred to low cost or free day camp programs operating in Phoenix to mitigate the burden of suddenly changed summer caregiving arrangements.
We will share more information about what is next for Camp Colley and plan to dive into Summer 2022 planning immediately. We are committed to our mission to provide learning and growth in nature for Phoenix children more now than ever. Thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement.