By Randy Pasqua
On Sunday evening, Aug. 5, Buffalo Mountain Camp, one of the camps of Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church, experienced a significant flash flood event. We are extremely grateful that the summer season ended earlier in the week and all our summer campers, staff, and guests had returned to their homes. Camp Director Jason Onks and his family remained safe at camp in the hillside residence. We are also excited to report that no one in the Dry Creek Community around camp was injured in the flood, though many homes and properties were significantly impacted.
See also: Cleaning buckets, trained workers needed
The waters of Ramsey Creek not only left their banks, they cut new channels. This completely destroyed the main camp road. Gratefully the new channels cut their way around the cabins and Retreat Center. Initial inspections indicate that these building sustained no structural damage and will be ready for use after they are cleaned up.
Allison Lodge that houses the main camp dining hall, kitchen, and meeting space, the bathhouse that serves the cabins, and our lake did not fare as well. Mud and trees have impacted the bathhouse. The upper trail became a mountain stream that flowed in one end of Allison Lodge and out the other. The main channel of Ramsey Creek cut its way into the lake and over the earthen dam. Assessment of these buildings and our lake are currently underway.
The Buffalo Mountain Camp website, www.buffalomountaincamp.org, will serve as a point of communication about the status of camp. News updates as well as ways to get involved will be placed on our home page. Cherokee United Methodist Church is hosting an online giving opportunity for friends of Buffalo Mountain Camp to contribute to our relief effort at https://cherokee.cloverdonations.com/buffalo/.
United Methodist churches that wish to participate in the relief effort should use the Conference Advance Buffalo Mountain Camp Disaster Relief #472.
Friends who want to participate in the labor of getting camp back into operational shape are asked to share their contact information on the “Volunteer” button on the website home page. We are trying to prepare to receive help as quickly as possible.
We are thankful for the love of Jesus Christ that we are receiving from so many friends. We look forward to be working side-by-side in the near future to help bring Buffalo Mountain Camp back to life.
The Rev. Pasqua is executive director of Camp and Retreat Ministries.