Rebuild Our Sierra is a grassroots fundraiser created and ran by the Shaver Lake Visitors Bureau. The Shaver Lake Visitors Bureau is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit organization comprised of 100% local Greater Shaver Lake Volunteers that serves the Greater Shaver Lake Area. The Greater Shaver Lake Area covers the zip codes 93602, 93605, 93664, 93634, and 93667.
We were formed over 10 years ago with the primary focus of promoting business and tourism in the greater shaver lake area with an emphasis on community gain. Most notably, we are responsible for putting on free-to-attend community events like the 4th of July Fireworks Show and the Christmas Tree lighting ceremony. We are a small community led organization with the narrow focus of promoting our area, businesses, and natural attractions.
On September 4th, 2020, the lives of our community were flipped upside down with the eruption of the creek fire. On September 5th, our organization and its members were evacuated from our beloved mountain leaving our primary residences, our livelihoods, and our life as we knew it behind. In just a few short days, we learned of the destruction and devastation we would all return to. Heartbreak does not begin to describe the pain we feel for the loss our friends, our families, our communities, and our mountain has suffered.
It was out of this heartbreak, out of this pain that Rebuild our Sierra was born. We felt the desire to help, to stand up for our community, to rebuild what we all lost, and to look to the future to ensure more memories are made for generations to come. It is to this end the Shaver Lake Visitors Bureau is immensely proud to announce the launch of Rebuild Our Sierra.
Rebuild Our Sierra is a grassroots fundraiser and rebuild effort focused on helping individuals and communities directly affected by the Creek Fire in the greater shaver lake area. Our mission is simple, Rebuild our communities and our Sierra into a stronger, safer, and more unified environment to ensure our area survives and thrives for generations to come. We want to help our community members rebuild so we can join and care for our forest to promote healthy regeneration.
Board Chairman Shaver Lake Visitors Bureau & Rebuild Our Sierra
Dylan was and still is the President of the SLVB prior to the Creek Fire. Up until the Creek Fire, the SLVB’s primary function and focus has been the promotion of tourism and events, as well as the much-needed development for public use infrastructure. Their largest most impactful event that you may be aware of is the long-standing community funded 4th of July fireworks show in Shaver Lake. When the Creek Fire broke out, Dylan, along with Kyle Lee (see below), mobilized and began to work on expanding the reach of their 501(c)3 and their bylaws so that they were poised to help. They knew there would be much work to do after the fire was put out and the emergency services left our mountain. Dylan’s parents met in Huntington Lake in the 70’s when his father Mike Johnson was carpenter/handyman for The Lakeshore Resort and his mother Arahmis Stone managed the Tamarack Lodge. 5 years ago Dylan returned with his wife Kaelin and started a small business called Shaver Lake Cabin Care, after two years they both joined the family business with Guarantee Real Estate and Kaelin’s parents, Jim and Heidi Huebner. Dylan's primary focus now is homesteading and helping the Greater Shaver Lake Community. Dylan and Kaelin have a home on Auberry Road, although they were evacuees their home was spared.
Board President of the Shaver Lake Visitors Bureau and Co-Chair of Rebuild Our Sierra
Kyle has worked side by side with Dylan leading this effort towards evolving SLVB. Like Dylan, Kyle and his family of five were evacuated. Kyle is a carpenter by trade and works on 65 acres of land in Shaver Lake. His home was spared but his shop and all his tools were reduced to ash. Kyle has three kids under 5 years old including two 6-month twins. Kyle has been spending the last several weeks trying to get his home ready for this family, but the smoke damage is requiring new flooring, sheetrock and paint work, new appliances and so much work to make the home habitable.
Marketing Committee Chair of the Shaver Lake Visitors Bureau and Rebuild Our Sierra
Michele Meisch grew up in our foothills near Tollhouse, where she attended Sierra Elementary and Sierra High School. She volunteered with the High Sierra Trail Crew, working in the high country for several years before starting a family.
Michele spent all her time with family and friends in the mountains. For the last 13 years she’s been camping at Huntington Lake with her family at least twice a season. On September 4, 2020, she was camping with friends at Huntington Lake when CalFire drove through their camp, alerting everyone over megaphones about a mandatory evacuation due to a rapidly spreading wildfire.
Distraught by the fire and the destruction, Michele felt a calling to start a non-profit – a way to help residents long after crews have put out the fire. Days after she had this idea, Shaver Lake Visitors Bureau coincidently reached out to her workplace (JP Marketing - a local marketing agency) to request help with their donation outreach campaign. It was at that point when Rebuild Our Sierra became a reality. Michele told Dylan and Kyle of her vision for creating a branded, long-term fundraising effort. And off we went.
Secretary of the Shaver Lake Visitors Bureau and Marketing Committee Member for Rebuild Our Sierra
Cari Salwasser's history of love for the mountains spans generations. Three generations on her fathers side would camp in the Sierra every summer. She grew up in Reedley but moved to Shaver in 2015. She spent almost six years living in Shaver Lake until her partner’s job took them elsewhere.
Their home in Dogwood Mountain was somehow spared from the flames; smoke and property damage was another story. Many of their friends and neighbors were not so lucky. After the fire, Cari received a call from Kyle to join Rebuild Our Sierra. She quickly said yes and became a marketing committee member for Rebuild Our Sierra, and later, the Greater Shaver Lake Visitors Bureau secretary. She knew she wanted to continue to help the area recover after the fire, and for years to come, even though they no longer call Shaver “home.”
They still live in the Sierra but on the Kings Canyon side now, at the ranch they have always dreamt of but, they say, nothing can compare to their time in Shaver. The friends they made in Shaver Lake and Shaver Lake's scenery cannot be matched.
Jim was born in Los Angeles but was raised in Fresno. He graduated Bullard High School in 1974 and got his History Degree from UC Berkeley in 1980. He married Heidi Kern and they have three beautiful daughters - Kaelin, Zoe & Hallie. Until 1993, Jim managed Huebner Sports and then he ventured into Commercial Real Estate at Pearson Realty. In 2002, he became the founder, Partner & Broker of Retail California. He transitioned to work as a Realtor with Heidi at Shaver Lake Guarantee Real Estate Office beginning 2011. And their love for the mountains solidified. Around 2011, they both designed (with the help of Heidi's mom Barbara) and built their home on Pine Ridge. Today, Jim is the owner of Knotty Pines Cabins in Shaver Lake and is an avid skier, snowboarder, cyclist, tennis and squash player. He also loves backpacking and fly fishing. Jim is a founder of the Shaver Lake Visitors Bureau where he’s served as President and Vice President. He also served as the Vice President of the Shaver Lake Chamber of Commerce. Today he is proud to still be a board member of the Shaver Lake Visitors Bureau and support the next generation to help the victims of the Creek Fire and help the Greater Shaver Lake Area prosper.