Owens Valley Conservation Camp #26

Owens Valley Conservation Camp #26 is jointly operated by CDCR and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). The camp’s primary mission is to provide incarcerated hand crews to support local, state, and federal agencies in their response to emergencies such as fires and floods. Camp participants also complete community service and conservation projects year-round.

Owens Valley Conservation Camp

Contact Information


2781 S. Round Valley Road, Bishop, CA 93514


(760) 387-2686

CDCR Camp Staff

  • Lt. W. Mathews, Camp Commander
  • Sgt. E. Johle, Assistant Camp Commander

Owens Valley Conservation Camp #26

Located approximately 10 miles northwest of Bishop, Owens Valley Conservation Camp (CC #26) started in February 1960 when the citizens of the Owens Valley proposed the location. The final decision on the location of the camp was made in November with selection of a site located in the “Round Valley” area. By September 1962, groundbreaking commenced and the camp was officially named “Inyo-Mono Conservation Camp”. In October 1963, the formal dedication and opening of the camp was held.

Between the years of 1963 and 1982, the operating agency of the camp varied between CDCR and the California Conservation Corps. Since January 1, 1982, the camp has been operated by CDCR in conjunction with CAL FIRE.

Camp 26 proudly serves the citizens of Inyo and Mono Counties and the State of California. Owens Valley Fire Crews have primary responsibility to provide inmate fire crews for fire suppression covering over 584,000 acres of SRA land. Crews also respond to wild land/brush fires and other natural disasters from ranging from Pearsonville to the Nevada border.

Camp participants at Owens Valley operate a canvas shop, supervised by CAL FIRE staff.

Hand crews also perform conservation and community service projects. CAL FIRE determines conservation projects.

Owens Valley assists with numerous community projects including beautification and community services within:

  • Bishop                                     
  • Lone Pine
  • Independence
  • Mammoth Lakes
  • Inyo County
  • Mono County
  • California Department of Fish and Game

Programs and Services

Just as in every CDCR prison, every conservation camp offers rehabilitative and educational services, including substance abuse programs, 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 the crew members for a successful integration back into their communities upon release.

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.