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Smokey Bear Run/Walk Returns To Bass Lake

BASS LAKE – The Smokey Bear Run / Walk returns to Bass Lake on Saturday, Sept. 26, and now is the time to register to get the early bird discount by June 30.

This is an annual event held in the transition period between summer and autumn, and this fall, organizers are celebrating the 28th year of the race.

The Run is also a Pro Race Series points event and Valley Runner of the Year Series Event.

There are all types of activities that will fit you or your family’s fitness level. There is a 2-mile walk, a 2-mile run, a 10K run (6.2 mi.), and races for kids.

The Smokey Bear Run / Walk is a fundraiser that has healthful benefits not only in the race itself, but the practice leading up to each year’s event. This year’s proceeds will benefit Cal Fire and USFS Fire Prevention Programs, Madera County Search & Rescue, Madera County Sheriff Explorer’s Post 104, and the Yosemite High School (YHS) Cross Country Teams.

“If you are considering joining us for the upcoming event, we know you will feel the personal gratification that comes from contributing to your community,” say organizers. “That is one of the purposes of our event, the other is your good health.

Posing for a photo with Smokey - photo by Gina Clugston“We are proud Smokey Bear has lent his name to our race and we will continue to stress fire safety at every event. As representatives of our mountain community, and because we have the benefit of using the good name and outstanding reputation of ‘Smokey Bear,’ we stay committed to stressing fire safety and awareness.”

The Smokey Bear 10K and 2 Mile Run / Walk takes place along the south shore of beautiful Bass Lake, about 50 miles north of Fresno, Calif., and just 15 miles south of Yosemite National Park.

The start and finish line is at Recreation Point. The course is on pavement and hilly out and back. The 2-mile Run / Walk turn-around is 100 yards south of Pine Slope Campground. The 10K Run turn-around is a tenth of a mile past the Lakeside Picnic/Day Use Area.

The races take place at an elevation of 3,300 feet with weather mostly clear and comfortable. Mornings tend to be chilly.

Please come early, as Road 222 will close from 7:15 – 9:40 a.m. towards The Forks and Miller’s Landing. If you must leave the race early, please park on the north end; this will allow you a means to exit prior to the road reopening.

The Mountain Area Runners group greatly appreciates any assistance in promoting, participating or helping to provide the Smokey Bear Run/Walk event. We also have a beautiful handmade “Bear” quilt circulating Oakhurst area business that will be offered up as a raffle prize this year. Tickets are available where you see the quilt or by contacting us at 559-683-1770 or at

Race History

The first Smokey Bear Run was held on May 17, 1986, at the Pines Resort in Bass Lake. The original organizers were four US Forest Service Employees, Brian Curtis, Craig Pinkerton, Danny Jones and Patrick Lyng. The race was to promote fire safety and awareness with the help of Smokey Bear.

The Sierra Track Club was formed to handle the monies and coordinate the event. At that time, all proceeds went directly back into the race. Ken Takeuchi of Prorace Group in Fresno was the race director then and still is today.

In 2002, several friends and runners decided to revive the Smokey Bear Run / Walk after the original organizers no longer wished to operate such a time-demanding event. So after a couple years’ absence, the new committee took on the organization of the 15th Smokey Bear Run / Walk at Bass Lake.

“We have been fortunate to continue partnering with USFS (United States Forest Service) and CAL FIRE (formally California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection CDF) in addition to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), California Land Management (CLM) and Madera County Sheriff’s Department,” say organizers. “It has been our privilege to host the Smokey Bear Run / Walk and we look forward to continuing the mountain tradition for many more years.”

In 2014, a transition began once again for the organizers of the Smokey Bear Run/Walk. Many of the Run committee members were reaching retirement and would no longer be able to continue the time-demanding duties of organizing the event. The USFS and CAL FIRE have assumed the lead role with continued assistance and support from the Madera County Sheriff’s Office, CHP and CLM.

For a race entry form, click here.

CHECK-IN & REGISTRATION: Between 6:45 – 7:35 a.m. at Recreation Point. Please allow sufficient time for parking and packet pick up.

“Early Bird” Registration

Kids 5-8 years girls in pink - photo by Gina Clugston$20 – Early Bird Rate – from now until June 30

$25- Normal Rate – from July 1 until Aug. 31

$30 – Late Rate – Sept. 1 through packet pickup

$35 – Race Day Rate

Adult entry fee: $35 on race day.

Kids entry fee: $10 on race day.

First race begins 7:45 a.m. sharp

7:40 a.m. Special Event – Clancy’s Run*

7:45 a.m. Kids’ Race 1/2 mile (Ages 9-12)

7:55 a.m. Kids’ Race 1/4 mile (Ages 5-8)

8:05 a.m. Kids’ Race 1/8 mile (Ages 2-4), parents allowed

8:30 a.m. 10K Run (NO WALKERS)

8:35 a.m. 2 Mile Run / Walk

Wheelchairs will start one minute ahead of runners

Please note change in race times.

* In memory of Clancy Shea-Schweikert 2002-2014

Packet Pick-Up Locations:

Valley Area Packet Pick-Up

Thursday, Sept. 24, from 4 – 7 p.m.

Fleet Feet Sports, 9447 N. Fort Washington #106, Fresno, CA


Mountain Area Packet Pick-Up

Friday, Sept. 25, from 3 – 7 p.m.

Oakhurst Form Fitness, 40041 Highway 49, Oakhurst, CA


Photos taken will be available for viewing and purchase at

Online registration is available here.

The Mountain Area Runners organization is a non-profit 501(c)(3) group and your donation is tax-deductible. Our Federal Identification number is 27-2734062.

2014 Race Wrap-up:

Beth Tademy of Reedley won the Smokey Bear 10K race at Bass Lake women’s division with a time of 42:13.

Winning the men’s 10K was Benjamin Madrigal of Madera with a time of 33:16.

In the 2-mile Run, Artemio Villegas of Madera was the men’s overall winner with a time of 12:33. Nanette Beaumont of Coarsegold won the women’s overall, coming in at 15:13.

For information about this year’s race email or call 559-683-1770

Check us out on our Smokey Bear Run Facebook page, or contact Race Director Ken Takeuchi at 559-275-6318 or email

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