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Rebirth of Honey Run Covered Bridge nears full sight

Sunday will mark two years since the Camp Fire roared through Butte County. One of the county's crown jewels was destroyed by those flames.

Posted: Nov 5, 2020 9:49 AM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. – The rebirth of the Honey Run Covered Bridge is in full sight.

This week Action News Now Anchor Debbie Cobb had a chance to meet with the people responsible for rebuilding the iconic structure and shares a close-up look at the progress.

The sound of construction at the sight of the old Honey Run Covered Bridge is like the sound of music to Robert Catalan.

"You can see we have the abutments on each side, the concrete has been poured, and the framing will be coming off, and we have new pillars on each side, bolts will be fastened when the floor comes across sometime in April," shared Robert Catalan-President, Honey Run Covered Bridge Association.

It's a big difference from just one year ago, it was still a dream on paper. Before the 2018 Camp Fire, the bridge built in 1886 spanned 240 feet across the majestic Butte Creek.

Walt Schafer is vice president of the Honey Run Covered Bridge Association. He's in charge of fundraising. His heart is into this project as he's lived in the area for 42 years and knows what the bridge means to this community.

"We have seen many people come by to the ruins, heartbroken and in tears. People have had weddings here, celebrations of various kinds," said Schafer. "We hear lots of stories from people who have vivid memories here."

Schafer knows new memories will be made again. The new covered bridge will be as close as historically possible to the old one with a few modifications to bring it to modern design standards. They also have to work within an environmental window, because of the salmon in the creek below. So phase two will begin in the Spring.

"Our schedule is hopefully, we'll have the floor and the bridge up by end of next summer, money permitting. Then phase three will be the covering of bridge and redesign of the park and we hope to be done with that by the end of summer of 22," explained Catalan.

This $2.8 million project is truly a labor of love. It is paid for by donations. With donations ranging from $10 to $250,000.

The Honey Run Covered Bridge Association has raised $1.1 million. $1.7 million is needed to complete the project.

Mike Fitzsimmons is the treasurer for the Honey Run Covered Bridge Association. He says, "It's overwhelming the checks we get checks in from all around the country. It is just mind-boggling the support we've gotten."

This week the Butte County Board of Supervisors voted to hand over the right of way and the piece of land to the left of the bridge, a bridge that represents both hope and good will.

"So this is not just a bridge being built, it's a symbol of the community coming back," said Catalan. "And it will never be the way it was. There will be some changes. But this will be an icon, it always has been. It will be a gathering place for all the people in the area. And it will be in the pictures like it used to be. And It will be as grand."

Some people on the committee to rebuild the bridge also lost their own homes in the Camp Fire and were rebuilding their homes at the same time. They were inspired by the generosity of locals and businesses. If you’re interested in helping with the effort to bring back the covered bridge or making a donation, Click Here or write P.O. Box 5201, Chico, 95927.

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