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Teacher Reflects on Hi-Hill

My name is David Macander and I am a current teacher with the Outdoor Education program at Hi Hill (or I was until it closed). If the information that is posted on the website is indeed accurate, it is a real relief to hear that Hi-Hill survived the fire. The site has meant so much to so many people over the years through wonderful memories, positive learning experiences and individual growth.

If the site survived intact I think there are a number of individuals who need to be recognized for making that possible. Of course you thank the fire fighting crews who risked their lives to be up there. There are no words to offer that would recognize their efforts. On the website, you alluded to the clearing efforts done by the California Conservation Corps. Those men and women did a phenomenal job of cutting trees and clearing brush. They are truly heroes in every aspect of the word. I think it is also important to recognize the trail teachers, cabin counselors, and Long Beach fifth graders who weekly engaged in work projects to clear brush, rake leaves and sticks away from cabins, clear trails, sweep pathways, and who served as the main source of reporting maintenance issues to the maintenance person who lives on site. This decades-long ongoing effort no doubt eliminated fuels from the ground and near buildings thus preventing the fire from having a pathway to spread.

Terry Koepke, a trail teacher who retired this year after 38 years with the district, deserves special recognition for his efforts over the years. His trail groups engaged in more work projects than all the others combined and we should be very thankful to him for that.

Thank you for keeping us up to date and for the good news. We all had been riding an incredible emotional roller coaster since the fires began.

Sincerely, David Macander