NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The aftermath of the Hermit’s Peak-Calf Canyon wildfire is still wreaking havoc for spots of Northern New Mexico. A campground in Montezuma is struggling to pick up the pieces and is expecting to see a drastic loss for years to come.
When the Hermit’s Peak-Calf Canyon wildfire ripped through the El Porvenir Christian camp in Montezuma it did more than just destroy buildings. “We weren’t able to get vehicles through again until October,” said executive director, Nate Stafford.
Now, the future of the camp is unclear. “We were coming in on foot, crossing the river on foot when we could to get in and do work here at the camp and tend to things,” said Stafford.
Along with twelve of their buildings, the main bridge in and out of the camp is gone and the U.S Forest Service says it could take as long as five years to repair. This stalls their recovery and their ability to keep the camp spirit alive. “Without a bridge, monsoon season is just dead in the water and that’s normally our, you know that’s the middle of the summer, so that’s normally our primetime,” Stafford said, “that camper experience is like a continuation from generation to generation.”
Now, this could be the third season in a row that they’re forced to close the camp because of COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021, then the fire last year. Financially right now, donors have kept them afloat but with students now missing out, they worry. “Those students grow up to be parents of future campers, they grow up to be future donors, that interruption in our camper experience is going to have an effect for a long time,” said Stafford.
Stafford says right now they have enough money to start working on a rebuild but major improvements are needed.