The Newspaper of the San Francisco Bay Chapter
March - April 2007
Update on Clair Tappaan Lodge
The Sierra Club's Clair Tappaan Lodge at Donner Summit is alive and well, but it needs your support and patronage. This fascinating building with its nearly 100 acres of surrounding forest is being re-invented as an environmental- and outdoor-education centerin addition to continuing as a family-friendly and economical destination for skiers in winter and hikers in summer.
The Club Board of Directors has been grappling with lodge finances for a decade. In its early years (through the 1950's) the lodge was fabulously popular and one of the few places where Club members could easily gather, strategize, recreate, and swap storiesin the high-ceilinged, timber-lined living room or over a family-style meal in the large dining room. Over the past two decades, staffing and other expenses have crept up, but revenue has not kept pace; losses since 2000 have typically been $100,000 per year, about 20% of the lodge's budget.
In November 2004 the Board issued an ultimatum: Lodge supporters had to demonstrate their commitment by making $100,000 in unrestricted donations, and they had to develop a break-even plan for future operation. Fundraising turned out to be the easy part; CTL supporters found well over $100,000. The break-even plan had a couple of false starts, but in May 2006 a new CTL Committee chair joined the battle, bringing fresh volunteers with skills in marketing, public relations, and education. The committee is covering new ground by beginning to bring school groups to the Lodge to experience the place and to satisfy California's curriculum requirements for environmental education.
In November 2006 the Board voted to sell a 23-acre detached parcel, including the infrequently used "warming hut" behind the lodge. Part of the proceeds will be available to the lodge, and the committee will now have until September 2008 to achieve break-even.
You can help by encouraging your local school administration to look into Clair Tappaan to satisfy its environmental-education requirements. Classes are available through a partnership with Gateway Mountain Center, or your school can bring its own instructors. On weekends (or longer, if you have the time) take yourself, your family, and your friends to this classic building. Those family-style meals are still great; the huge stone fireplace still provides warmth in the living room; there's a ping-pong table in the basement; and the library is a quiet place to read, think, or delve into old collections of Sierra Club newsletters. Guided hikes are offered in the summer, and there's a ski school (including rentals) in the winter. There are special programs for holiday weekends.
For more information visit http://ctl.sierraclub.org or phone (800) 679-6775. If you're more adventurous, the do-it-yourself Hutchinson Lodge next door can handle groups up to 20, and there are four backcountry ski huts where up to 15 can find rustic shelter miles from the nearest road. The Sierra Club at Donner Summit is looking forward to your next visit.
© 2007 San Francisco Sierra Club Yodeler
|EXPLORE, ENJOY AND PROTECT THE PLANET|