The party’s officially over at Camp Edison.
When the campground, located at Shaver Lake in the Central Sierra Mountains, observed its 50th birthday Aug. 22, there was no birthday cake with candles to blow out, no festive balloons and no singing of “Happy Birthday”.
It was a quiet observance led by Ted Craver, Edison International’s chairman and CEO; Ron Litzinger, president of Southern California Edison (SCE); and the company’s management committee. Some would say it was the perfect ending to a summerlong celebration that’s just now beginning to wind down at the site.
“It’s been a great summer. The public has really enjoyed the celebration,” said Richard Bagley, manager, Forestry/Campground at Camp Edison, who noted that the recent public celebration of Camp Edison’s anniversary was attended by over 1,200 people. “We had a lot of old-timers come up and talk about all the years their families have been coming to Camp Edison. Some families have been coming the entire 50 years.
“We also had people, former Edison employees, who reached out to me who helped with the design and construction of the campground,” he added. “They shared some very interesting information about how it all came together.”
Camping enthusiasts have been drawn to the campground since it first opened to the public on Aug. 22, 1963. Back then it featured 100 campsites and six bathrooms. Today, there are 252 campsites, high speed Internet, cable television hookups, bathrooms with flushing toilets, hot showers, electricity, a boat launch, an amphitheater, and volleyball and basketball courts. It also boasts hiking trails and recreational facilities for fishing, cross country skiing and water sports.
Attendance at the campground was up this summer, but Bagley’s not sure if it was Camp Edison’s 50th birthday that drew additional people or the temporary closure of another campground on Shaver Lake.
“We know we got some of the additional people because the other camp was closed for construction,” he said. “They got to experience Camp Edison and some said they definitely want to come back here.”
Looking ahead, Bagley said there are plans to modernize the campground and its operations. One focus is to make reservations available online. Another is to increase the electrical power at the campsites, to accommodate the latest recreational vehicles (RV).
“Modern RVs have so many more features that we have to upgrade our 30-amp electric circuits to 50-amp hook ups,” he said.
On Aug. 22, Craver presented the entire Forestry and Camp Edison staff with a plaque commemorating Camp Edison’s 50th anniversary. Today, the plaque hangs in the lobby of the campground’s main office for all to see.
With many children now back in school, Camp Edison has some vacancies during the week, but remains full on weekends.
“We’re winding down with Labor Day weekend coming up,” said Bagley. “We still have some contests going on through this weekend and we are still selling 50th anniversary souvenirs, T-shirts and sweatshirts, through the end of this year.
“The official 50th party may be over, but the fun never stops at Camp Edison.”