Caples Lake Resort survives Caldor Fire

Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 2:51 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Is there anything more calming than the sound of waves hitting the beach?

That’s what visitors at the Caples Lake Resort can hear from their cabins or rooms every day on the property. There’s also the view of the lake, and the mountains.

Owner Joe Voss says it’s nice work if you can get it.

“I love the area love the people,” says Joe Voss, owner of Caples Lake Resort. “Love to interact. I get with the guests, and share what I know about the area with them. and learn to love it also,” he says.

Built in the 1940s Voss’s family has owned it since the 1982.

The destination is not for those who want five-star accommodations. WIFI is spotty. Cell coverage non-existent.

You can canoe or take a motor-powered boat or paddle board out on Caples Lake. Play horseshoes, look for wild flowers or just take in the view.

Forty years of running the place was all threatened last August.

“Then the Caldor Fire broke and we kind of had an inkling this might be a little more than fire in the foothills,” says Voss. “We got an order from the forest service because we are a permitee. I think it was August 18 or 19 to cease operations, close the business. They are closing the El Dorado National Forest,” he says.

Look just across Highway 88 and it is easy to see just how close the fire got to the resort.

Once Voss and his staff evacuated, the place was used for staging and structure protection. The lake was used by air crews who needed the water to douse the flames.

While Voss would return here every few days or so to check on solar panels, septic, and other utilities, he says there were days it wasn’t looking good. ‘

Yep. there were two nights I think it was a Sunday and a Monday night where I was hunkered down in front of the computer watching the fire maps, Voss says. “In contact with some people I know that are in the fire business and wondering if, am I going to be calling the insurance company Tuesday morning?” he says.

The timing couldn’t have been worse.

He says the resort had survived COVID and was making a comeback. He found himself canceling reservations daily, returning deposits, and losing two month’s worth of business. By October the calendar let him know it was time to shut down for the season.

What would 2022 bring?

Nothing but reservations, emails, and inquiries from patrons who have come to the resort for decades and wondered about the people who faced near ruin.

“In my small world I specifically hope that your place stays safe,” wrote one patron “We’ve all been thinking & praying for all of you & your crew,” another long-time customer wrote. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed here in New York that the resort makes it through this peril” another annual visitor sent via email.

Voss gets teary-eyed just talking about it.

“It meant a lot that many people just to touch bases with us,” he says. “Hey, you guys need anything how are you doing up there?”.

Certainly a testament to his customer service and attention to detail and friendships he amassed along the way.

His father who bought the place in the 1980s and died in 2016 would be proud.

Voss says the resort is booked through July. But he suspects those making reservations are worried about August and the recent fires that historically have broken out during that month.

He remains optimistic and has his fingers crossed.

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