Fenner Canyon Conservation Camp #41
Fenner Canyon Conservation Camp #41 is jointly operated by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). The camp’s primary mission is to provide incarcerated fire crews for assignments in Los Angeles, Kern and San Bernardino Counties, however, crews can be dispatched throughout the State.
25900 Big Rock Creek Road, Valyermo, CA 93563
CDCR Camp Staff
- Lt. Varela, Camp Commander
- Sgt. Caglia, Assistant Camp Commander
About Fenner Canyon Conservation Camp #41
Fenner Canyon Conservation Camp #41 opened in the spring of 1991, and currently houses up to 136 minimum security offenders.
The camp is located in a wilderness environment in the North/East portion of Los Angeles County. Fenner Canyon was first created in 1902 and named after the superintendent and co-owner of the Big Horn Mine Company, Fred C. Fenner. In 1964, as mine activity ended, the Job Corp opened a center at the current location of Fenner Canyon Conservation Camp. The Job Corp vacated the facility in 1968. The camp was vacant until it reopened as a Youth Camp for Los Angeles County in 1970. The facility transferred to the California Youth Authority in 1979, and a partnership formed with CAL FIRE. In 1990, the Youth Authority withdrew from the camp and by early Spring of 1991, the camp reopened for adult offenders. Over the years, Fenner Canyon has provided a valued service to the local communities and new opportunities for its residents.
Hand crews also perform conservation and community service projects. CAL FIRE determines conservation projects.
Fenner Canyon’s completed and ongoing projects include:
- Fuel Reduction / Fire Safety Preparations
- Weed abatement
- Clear and repair drainages for flood control preparation
- General cleanup and light construction requiring labor intensive effort
- Maintenance of nature trails, camp grounds, and fire breaks
- Snow removal and road clearing as conditions require
- Trash clean-up along roadways and highway
Programs and Services
Just as in every CDCR prison, every conservation camp offers rehabilitative and educational services, including substance abuse programs like Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous (AA/NA), religious programs, and GED and college courses. Their efforts during emergencies build a strong work ethic and a feeling of self-worth. Collectively, these activities prepare camp participants for successful integration back into their communities upon release.
- Building & Trades-Apprenticeship Readiness Program (MC3)
- Religious Services via local volunteers (three services per week)
The camp environment provides an opportunity for incarcerated people to learn a valued skill and requires strong work ethic. For many criminal offenders, this is a first opportunity to productively work at a professional trade. Volunteers quickly develop a sense of pride and accomplishment for the work they complete. Many pursue similar work upon release from custody. The camp program provides a large work force at an affordable cost, and an effective opportunity for offenders to rehabilitate.
For stories featuring current and former Conservation (Fire) Camp Program participants, read Inside CDCR.
Visiting can be a critical part of an incarcerated person’s rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Scheduling Visits at Conservation (Fire) Camps page.