Fire has ravaged the Umpqua National Forest this summer. With the tireless efforts of firefighters from many states and communities and the full support of local residents and authorities, many of the homes of the Dry Creek community have been saved. However, the economic impact on this community is devastating. Residents and small business owners, including Umpqua's Last Resort, are 100% dependent on seasonal summer income, which has now been permanently lost. The fire in the Umpqua Valley may have a much deeper impact than the devastation of pristine forest - it may now force Umpqua's Last Resort to close, devasting the Dry Creek community and leaving residents unable to pay their bills.
Umpqua's Last Resort employs 7 people, who are as of now essentially out of a job, with no end in sight until damages can be assessed, losses accounted for, and the fire is no longer a threat. The employees are staying with the park even without employment by camping nearby, sharing food and blankets, and trying to keep spirits up. John, Dustin, and others are fighting the fire side-by-side with professional firefighters to help save what they can, including John's hand-built fire truck. If you know John and Dustin, you can imagine what this looks like.
The lost business will continue to have ramifications for years to come, if Umpqua's Last Resort can survive at all. Business/Fire insurance only activates after conditions of deductibles are met, which can be as high as $25,000. With the closure of the park, this may be an insurmountable obstacle. After many years of blood, sweat, and tears, the park was just this year finally above water, being able to save for this condition. However, with the costs to fight the fire alone, already all of those savings are now gone, with no immediate options to help recover.
Beyond our love for the park and the people there, the value of Umpqua's Last Resort to the Dry Creek community is immeasurable. They have worked tirelessly to create a community of love, tolerance, acceptance, and stability for local residents and visitors alike. Their generosity to their friends and neighbors is unmatched. Nobody is ever in need if they are made aware of it. They have donated their time, energy, and resources again and again to build a thriving, peaceful sanctuary for the benefit of all. And not just in their own community. They have donated countless times to our children's schools, help community organizations, and people in need for many years.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
So many of us have generously offered to help in any way we can. These offers are heartfelt, and tremendously appreciated, but for most of us we feel helpless to do anything.
This is how you can help. It's our turn. The people of Umpqua's Last Resort need you to support them immediately. Contributing to this fund today will help them with food and shelter as the fire continues to be fought, and will then help to rebuild after the fire is contained. Without this, they may not be able to recover, and the park may close for good.
In short, please donate anything you can, right now. Your generous donations will go directly to support our loved ones - yours and ours - at Umpqua's Last Resort. We are also notified within minutes of every donation, so it will raise the spirits of those exhausted by this fight. This may be the only way to save this beloved home, and home away from home, for so many people.
UPDATE: Out of respect for the privacy of the people involved, we've edited this post to remove some personal information as we work through this traumatic time. We're doing this with the best of intentions, so please do not misconstrue these changes as anything with ill intent.
Here is more information about this campaign:
My name is April Holt-Geiger, and I am the sister of Dustin Ashliegh and John Holt, both partners and owners of Umpqua's Last Resort. Seeing the dedication, determination, incredible hard work and tenacity of my brothers for the last 11 years, compels me to help them in any way I can. Living in Oregon City, Oregon, I have spent years bringing my family to Umpqua's Last Resort as an amazing getaway from the city. This place has been a sanctuary for our entire family.
The funds raised here will provide additional support to the displaced employees of Umpqua's Last Resort as they struggle to come to terms with lost wages due to the park closure until the ongoing fire danger subsides. Due to the current smoke and health related hazards caused by this fire, much of the staff has had to find lodging elsewhere, creating substantial financial hardship to every one of them. Funds will also help cover out of pocket costs for the evacuation of the Umpqua family and their guests. The staff is in the process of gathering all of the estimates needed for repairs and rehabilitation of the property, structures and residences - including road repair, smoke damage, and water damage.
The funds will be distributed directly to the employees and to the emergency vendors through Umpqua's Last Resort. As CEO, Dustin will be withdrawing the funds in hiw own name in order to distribute those funds to all those who are part of the Umpqua team there.
Please see the website at umpquaslastresort.com for detailed information about the family business.