In a heartbreaking turn of events, the Sustainable EcoVillage, a dream project led by Dan Schultz up Little Jones Creek Rd, has fallen victim to the ravaging flames of the Kelly Fire, a component of the Smith River Complex fires that have devoured approximately 76,000 acres across Del Norte County.
Schultz is now grappling with the profound loss, not only of his vision but also of numerous farm animals that perished on the property.
“It was my first experience with fire and hoping it will be my last. It all happened very fast, and there was virtually no time to prepare, only to evacuate,” Schultz recalled. The devastation that befell the EcoVillage was profound. Precious memories, including family photographs and mementos, were obliterated by the relentless Kelly fire, ignited by a lightning strike.
The Sustainable EcoVillage project, which was conceived in 2007, was envisioned as a communal effort. Schultz emphasized that developing the EcoVillage was never intended to be a solitary endeavor. Hundreds of volunteers dedicated thousands of hours to contribute to the realization of the Sustainable EcoVillage. Schultz praised the volunteers, stating, “Our combined synergies made a beautiful, healthy example of living in harmony with nature.”
A significant portion of the materials utilized in the project was sourced from recycled and donated materials that might have otherwise ended up in a waste disposal facility. Mosaics and ceramic tiles, for instance, were salvaged from trash dumpsters, demonstrating the project’s commitment to sustainability and resourcefulness.
The village became an internet sensation when it was featured on Kirsten Dirksen YouTube page, where the video saw nearly 2 million views:
The road to rebuilding the Sustainable EcoVillage will undoubtedly be challenging, but with the support of the community through the GoFundMe campaign, Schultz and his team hope to resurrect this vision that once thrived in harmony with nature.
Here is a video of the damage done by the fire: