Grizzly Peak Airfield is now open at Disney California Adventure park, and it’s already a hit with guests. This expansion of Grizzly Peak takes guests into California’s High Sierras for a taste of what life was like for the brave men and women who fight wildfires in our California forests in the middle part of the last century. One popular destination in this newly reimagined area is Smokejumpers Grill … which has quite a story of its own.
As the story goes, the grill was established by a local Sierra Nevada couple Herb and Millie Madera. A former WWII pilot and parachutist, Herb helped recruit and train the Bearpaw Basin Smokejumpers when the crew was first getting established. His wife, Millie, supplied delicious meals to the men after their long, exhausting days. But one summer day, Millie and her neighbors found themselves and their homes threatened by a raging forest fire. Herb and his smokejumpers sprang into action, rescuing their friends and worked into the night to suppress the rest of the blaze.
The heroism of the Bearpaw Basin Smokejumpers moved Herb and Millie to do something special to repay them. They converted the old hangar at the edge of Grizzly Peak Airfield into Smokejumpers Grill, and soon pilots and firefighters from miles away were flying in to enjoy this new Bearpaw Basin tradition.
Visitors inside the restaurant today can find relics of the grill’s history, through the mementos and photographs that cover the walls like children’s letters to the courageous smokejumpers, handwritten postcards to the grill’s owners and insignia patches from other firefighting units.
So the next time you “drop in” for one of those delicious Smokejumpers Grill burgers, take a look around and discover the restaurant’s story for yourself!