“To lose this open space would be to lose a gem that you could never recover,” says Camp Fire Executive Director, Ken Miles, as a new potential land deal could demolish summer camp memories for his organization.
“We have hosted Camp Tacanneko here which is the first week of the summer for the last 50 years – drawing in 200 local kids and volunteers that’s very dynamic and uses every square inch of this property,” Miles tells us.
A property that spans 29 acres and includes a swimming pool, cabins, and a 12 sided tabernacle that was built in the 1800s. “They would camp around in the thousands to hear debates about women’s suffrage and prohibition all before the incorporation of the city of Arroyo Grande – so it’s been here longer than the city,” Miles explains.
Now that Arroyo Grande has grown around it, the campsite’s close proximity to the Villages and the 101 is why mom Michelle Naficy says she’s brought her children to camp here for the last three years.
“It brings a unique experience of being at a sleep away camp without having to sleep away so i wouldn’t be too happy if that was lost – it would completely change camp to go somewhere else,” Naficy tells us.
While the grounds may be used in the summer, Cal-Pac – the owners of the property say that’s not enough, telling us in a statement: “Arroyo Grande was selected for this sale because of it’s reduced use. Those at Camp Fire on the other hand, say the city has never been asked to use it.
“It could be used year round by groups; in my lifetime on the Central Coast – I’ve never seen them really reach out to the community to find other partners to utilize the campground,” says Miles.
Camp fire staff say they hope the city will now step in and ensure the site will stay public for years to come.