Camp de Benneville Pines

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The latest edition of the de Benneville Connection , our semi-annual newspaper
is now available. Pick up a paper copy at camp or download it Here!

Watch a 50 Year History Video - Click Here!
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Janet James, Camp Executive Director
About Camp de Benneville Pines

Camp de Benneville Pines is a retreat and conference center located in the Barton Flats area of the San Bernardino National Forest, about 90 miles east of Los Angeles. At an elevation of 6,800 feet, the camp is surrounded by a forest of towering pines, cedars, and oaks. We are affiliated with the Pacific Southwest District of the Unitarian-Universalist Association and welcome people of all faiths who want to use our facility for programming compatible with our philosophy of respect for the interconnected web of life and for the worth and dignity of all human beings.

Our facilities include a beautiful heated swimming pool (open in season), a hot tub, children’s playground, an archery range, and opportunities for many outdoor sports in season including hiking, snowshoeing, sledding, as well as fishing and canoeing in nearby Jenks Lake. Our cabins are all equipped with modern bathrooms and hot showers, and offer comfortable sleeping quarters. Delicious meals are prepared by our talented kitchen staff and served in our main lodge.

We currently host youth and family camps, church weekend retreats, yoga camps, music camps, art and photography camps, performing arts camps for youths (through our affiliation with Camp Bravo), adult summer camps and many more. Contact us on 909-794-2928 or email us at to find out if we are right for your next camp retreat or conference.

Bearing a Welcome to All!!


AmeriCorps NCCC Team Supports Collaborative Goals for Two San Bernardino Camps (Read the Entire Story)

Lodge in Winter 2010 - The Last Great Snowfall

From the President's Desk -
Mother Nature's Fickle Nature and the Importance of Snow

All of us know that human beings (and indeed all living things) are completely and utterly dependant on the natural world for survival. We often take Mother Nature's cooperation in this reality for granted and assume such basic things as air, pure water and other natural necessities of life are limitless and available to all, now and forever. Recent events in West Virginia, where hundreds of thousands of citizens went for weeks or months without a source of safe water, challenge that assumption and remind us how easily human activity can disrupt the delicate balance upon which our existence depends.

Although groundwater contamination is not unknown in California, and many communities (especially in the Central Valley) are struggling to address this issue, it appears that our major environmental challenge in Southern California this year will be drought. Governor Brown apparently agrees and has declared a state of emergency.

At Camp de Benneville this situation has manifested itself in way below average snowfall and mild winter temperatures, and this at a time when the East Coast and Midwest are being blasted by fierce blizzards and arctic freezes, way beyond average.

Some, like myself, who spent the first sixty years or so "back East" coping with Mother Nature's frigid winter ways might just say "Good riddance to bad weather!", and count their blessings that they don't have to drive in, shovel or scrape the nasty white stuff. But those of us who know better, realize that the lack of snow and freezing weather on the mountain is a serious threat and a portent of potential future problems.

Snow is a "natural blanket" that protect delicate roots and shoots from extreme cold, while above ground, the alpine chill tends to kill off excess pathogenic insects such as bark beetles and the like. Water comes to the mountain both in the form of rain showers during most the year and snow storms in the winter. But unlike sudden showers that run off quickly, sometimes causing erosion, snow sticks around and is absorbed slowly into the soil, nourishing the forest and refreshing the aquifers. Snow is the source of the very aquifers that bring to de Benneville campers mountain spring water, much purer and more delicious than they will ever be able to buy in a bottle.

And one mustn't forget the joy that Southern Californian kids (and even some adults) feel when they arrive at Camp de Benneville and get to play (some for the very first time) in drifts and slopes of beautiful white, fluffy snow!

No one knows for sure how much the current climatic disruptions are the result of human activity, but evidence suggests it is a major influence. So my advice is to try to reduce your "carbon footprint" to a minimum. While waiting for this strategy to take effect (and if your extended UU beliefs allow), do your "rain dance", bow to the spirits of the North and pray for snow! The winter isn't over yet.

Dakota - Camp Dog Extraordinaire

Good-bye, friend and partner!

When I was looking to raise money needed to replace our aging Camp water system, I came up with the concept of a film and the perfect actor for the starring role. It was none other than Dakota, our beloved "Camp Dog". Dakota was the perfect partner in this effort, being both enthusiastic and cooperative.

From this collaboration, Dakota got a huge base of adoriing fans (mostly adolescent and teenage girls) and I got the last of the money needed to save the Camp. It was a partnership made in heaven.

Dakota passed away last fall, due to complications of medical treament for a stomach ailment. He will be sorely missed, and I know that I for one, and perhaps all of us, owe him a debt of gratitude. You may click on the Water Works Fund Raising Film, to view Dakota in his starring role, and please look for the tribute to our late "Camp Dog", by Janet James (femaile lead in the movie) in our latest edition of the Connection.

Check our Register for Camp page for the latest camp offerings. Spring, Summer and Fall camp offerings are now available for registration. Whether you're interested in Art, Music, Photography or just a good Thanksgiving Weekend with friends, to name a few, there's sure to be a camp for you!

Tom Thorward, President
DBP Board of Directors

Upd Updated 2/19/2014

Click on the YouTube button below to see a video showing "50 Years at Camp de Benneville Pines" filmed and produced by Susan Emshwiller.

Camp de Benneville Pines' page on Facebook