Newsletter - Winter 2011

Foster Lodge

San Diego Sierra Club's Mt. Laguna Cabin Retreat


    No Fires                     CH-CH-CH CHANGES
    Volunteers Chipping In       Donations
    Dead Tree Removal            Photo Gallery Coming
    Bookings Report              Subscription Information



All inquiries about Foster Lodge may now be sent to:


Survey: Provide Your Input

Take the "Foster Lodge Ideas Survey" online at:

Results of the Survey will be reported and discussed on Sunday, March 19th from 10am - noon at Foster Lodge where planning will commence for any future green development plan for the property.  RSVP to:



  1. -No fires are allowed outside. We do not have a functioning fire-fighting system (i.e. fire hoses and the water pressure to drive them). We do not have the required Burn Permit. No fires - and no smoking - are allowed outside.

- New fire extinguishers have been placed in the Lodge and Cabin and old ones removed.

- The fireplace and chimney in the Lodge has been repaired and is now open for use!

This was a significant problem. Over the years, the chimney stones most exposed to fire had deteriorated to such an extent that water damage to the building was becoming an issue. The entire system has been rebuilt and restored and with andirons added so that logs will be prevented from rolling out into the room. The outside of the chimney has also been restored. We hope you all like it.

- We will have new fire hoses soon but there is insufficient water pressure to drive them. The water system is the next highest priority. We are accepting plans from plumbers with expertise in rural water systems. It is a major project and will take time and significant expense.


Volunteers Chipping In - Can You Help?

Thanks to Dan Perkins and Claude Rowe for doing a maintenance review of the property. Thanks to Lee Olsen for creating a 24-page list of 141 items: "Repairs, Supplies, Problems Needing Attention." Thanks to John Stump and Mollie Bigger for their continuing review of maintenance lists and visits to the Lodge for maintenance.

If you would like to help work on this list, please email:

Hosts will all be asked do their part. Many of the items are things where no one had been taking the specific initiative to get something done - perhaps thinking it was someone else who was supposed to be responsible for it. The volunteer Hosts are the frontlines for routine Foster Lodge resupply and property upkeep. We will be creating a Maintenance/Chore Binder in the Cabin for use by the Hosts and Host Trainees during each visit.

Thanks to the Outings Committee for donating $3,000 toward Foster Lodge Maintenance! The ExCom accepted the donation and allocated it as requested. This will be added to the balance from the Foster Lodge Committee at the end of 2010 of $13,557.44. The deferred maintenance costs will easily exceed these funds within the next few weeks. We just paid $3700 to initiate the permit review and renewal process with the Forest Service. Urgent short-term maintenance needs will take at least another $10,000 (fireplace repair, tree work, propane-related fixes, water leaks, running drainage currently under the building out to daylight, properly venting heater, road drainage, other misc.).


Dead Oak Tree Removal and Wood Usage

The Forest Service has tagged dead or suspected dead oaks on the property and recommended their immediate removal - especially those close the buildings. These trees have been felled and the wood is being split and stacked. Some will be retained for use building a Welcome Sign. These trees died due to oak borer and the wood must not be removed off-site! The wood has been sorted into green wood that needs to age before it can be burned, and dead wood that can used this season.


Summary of Bookings for Foster Lodge 2010

Twenty-three weekends were under contract (including ten Fridays) Total estimated income approximately: $6500.

Of those, eight weeks were used by Sierra Club members or groups (Inner City Outings, WBC, Singles, Bike, NKW). Groups booking in 2010: The Center for the Studies of Persons; Newman Center UCSD (church), Brazilian Church of San Diego; "Jewish community", The Church in San Diego, Friends of Blue Sky Canyon, and AFS. Others were weekends booked for families and friends of members.

Twenty-one weekends were not under contract and used by the Hosts (who hosted walk-ins).  Of these weekends where the Lodge was open for walk-ins, fifteen had the place to themselves (no guests).

Total number of walk-ins in 2010: 54 (counting family units as one); The highest number of one-day walk-ins was 6.

Seven weekends appeared to have been vacant (no contract, no host reports).



There is a new registration form for all walk-in guests. Anyone using or staying at the Lodge who is not a member of a Sponsoring Group renting the Lodge needs to register (i.e. anyone who pays a day-use or overnight fee). The Chapter - along with the Sponsoring group - should have a record of everyone on-site and we also want to be able to invite guests back and survey them for suggestions, volunteering or other support.

Hosts will make sure that all walk-in guests fill out a registration form when they are collecting user fees.

We have added new waste cans to the restrooms. Remember - nothing but human waste and toilet paper can go into the septic system!


When was the last time you donated financially to Foster Lodge?

There are a lot of ideas about how to improve Foster Lodge. First and foremost, there is a significant list of deferred maintenance needs - beginning with the requirement to restore the water system to provide potable water and sufficient water pressure. If you love Foster Lodge, please make a donation toward general maintenance. Once we establish any other improvements, we will ask for specific support for those. But it's clear that we must raise thousands more simply to address the water system and deferred maintenance.

You can donate online and specify it's for Foster Lodge.

Another way to help

Do you know a group who would enjoy a retreat in the mountains? Tell them about Foster Lodge!


Do you have photos of Foster Lodge and environs?

We're creating a photo page as we update the Foster Lodge website. Do you have a scenic or fun or event photo to share? Recent or historic. Please include a brief caption and email to:


The Foster Lodge Newsletter is published periodically to report on and sustain the Chapter's stewardship of the one-acre property containing Foster Lodge and cabin in located near the Pacific Crest Trail at 6300 feet on Mt. Laguna in the Cleveland National Forest. Foster Lodge is available for group retreats and individual stays and annually hosts Chapter nature education programs including: Wilderness Basics, the Nature Knowledge Workshop and Inner City Outings. To subscribe or unsubscribe, email:

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