Caples Lake Resort survives Caldor fire


RENO, Nevada (KOLO) – Is there anything more soothing than the sound of the waves hitting the beach?

This is what visitors to Caples Lake Resort can hear every day from their cabins or rooms on the property. There is also the view of the lake and the mountains.

Owner Joe Voss says it’s a good job if you can get it.

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

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

The destination is not for those who want five star accommodation. WIFI is spotty. Non-existent cell coverage.

You can canoe or take a motorboat or paddle board on Caples Lake. Play horseshoes, look for wildflowers, or simply take in the view.

Forty years of operation, the place was threatened last August.

“Then the Caldor fire started and we kind of got the idea that it might be a bit more than a fire in the foothills,” says Voss. “We received an order from the forest service because we have a permit. I think it was August 18 or 19 to cease operations, close the business. They are closing the El Dorado National Forest,” he says.

Just look across Hwy 88 and it’s easy to see how close the fire has come to the station.

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

While Voss came back here every few days or so to check solar panels, septic tanks and other utilities, he says there were days when things weren’t going well. ‘

Yeah. there were two nights, I think it was a Sunday and a Monday night, where I was crouched in front of the computer looking at the fire maps, Voss said. “In touch with some people I know who work in the fire business and wondering if I’m going to call the insurance company on Tuesday morning?” he says.

The timing couldn’t have been worse.

He says the station had survived COVID and was making a comeback. He found himself canceling reservations daily, returning deposits and losing two months of business. In October, the calendar let him know it was time to close for the season.

What would 2022 bring?

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

“In my little world, I specifically hope your place stays safe,” one client wrote. “We have all been thinking and praying for all of you and your team,” wrote another longtime client. “Fingers crossed here in New York that the station overcomes this peril,” another annual visitor emailed.

Voss has tears in his eyes just talking about it.

“It meant a lot that a lot of people just hit bases with us,” he says. “Hey you need something, how are you up there?”.

Definitely a testament to his customer service and attention to detail and the friendships he has accumulated along the way.

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

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

He remains optimistic and crosses his fingers.

Cabin 7

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