Supervisors approve Camp Switzerland Lift Station
Planning is ongoing for an upscale public campground
By DOUGLAS W. MOTLEY
At its regularly scheduled board meeting on Sept. 27, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, at the behest of 2nd District Supervisor Janice Rutherford, gave unanimous approval to the Camp Switzerland lift station (a sewage collection station), which is necessary before the planned construction of a family campground on 12 acres of county-owned property below Lake Gregory Dam.
Noting that the previous campground had been on a septic system, Scott Vanhorne, media director for Supervisor Rutherford, told The Alpine Mountaineer on Oct. 7 that the pre-existing septic system was considered unacceptable because the human waste would ultimately end up in Silverwood Lake. He said the lift station will literally lift raw sewage, through a connecting pipeline, to Crestline Sanitation District’s sewage plant adjacent to the dam for treating and processing before using tanker trucks to relocate it to the county’s Landers landfill site, just north of Twentynine Palms.
“We want to make sure the camp thrives. It will be a great addition to Lake Gregory Regional Park,” said Vanhorne.
Vanhorne said sending the waste material to the remote desert area would satisfy the requirements of California’s Environmental Quality Act (CEQUA), which is necessary before electric and water service can be approved for the campground.
Agenda item #46 gained the supervisors’ approval for the capital improvement program for the Camp Switzerland lift station and connecting pipes project in the amount of $1,782,309. A professional engineering design and services contract was awarded to Riverside-based Kimley-Horn & Associates, Inc. in the amount of $239,309 for design plans and specifications for the lift station project.
According to San Bernardino County Department of Public Works Director Brendon Briggs, funding for the lift station project will be provided by the American Resource Plan Act, which was signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021. The act provides $30.5 billion in grant funds which, among other things, supports small businesses hard hit by COVID and also provides funding for the nation’s infrastructure repairs.
In an Oct 6 interview with Lake Gregory Company General Manager Nathan Godwin, he described some of the amenities that Camp Switzerland, once it is open, will provide for campers. “Our goal is to have glamping (glamorous camping), where luxury camping in covered tents on raised platforms meet nature. We envision some tiny cabins where campers sleep on mattresses, and we are also looking at Airstreams, like they have at SkyPark, and teardrops in a small section. Some of the sites will have benches, picnic tables and Adirondack chairs We’re still waiting for approval,” he said, adding that no motorhomes or trailers would be allowed on the property.
As far as the cost of glamping, it depends on the location and the time of the year but generally it’s around $159 a night, about the same as staying at a motel. However, at a recent Crest Forest Municipal Advisory Council meeting, Lake Gregory Company representative Steve Garcia suggested a price range of $300 to $400 a night, depending on the type of campsite desired.
According to Godwin, families will be able to bring their own tents and set them up. “That’s included in the plans.” When asked if there would be outdoor fire rings for barbecuing, he said no open fires would be permitted due to the high fire danger in the area. “You can only use natural gas and propane stoves. Open fires in that steep canyon would be very hazardous.”
Noting that the camp is located on 12 acres, Godwin said, “Due to the steep and rugged terrain, only about four acres will be suitable for camping. “We’re also looking at having a small lodge building with an eatery and some activities.” As for hiking trails, he said that the county property borders on national forest land and there could, someday, be a trail down to Silverwood Lake. “The only problem is that some of the trails are on private property, so we would need to get permission to use them.”
A recent meeting of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. Seated (L-R) are Supervisors Joe Baca, Janice Rutherford, Chairman Curt Hagman, Dawn Rowe and Col. (retired) Paul Cook. (Photo: BOS)
Pipes have been delivered for the Camp Switzerland lift station. (Photo by Douglas W. Motley)
The soon-to-be-developed 12-acre Camp Switzerland site. (Photo by Douglas W. Motley)
Upscale glamping at Lakedale Resort on San Juan Island, off the coast of Washington. Similar camping is planned for Camp Switzerland. (Photo: Lakeside Resort)