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Recreation in the Redwoods: Civilian Conservation Corps Heritage Adventure in the North Coast Redwoods

Take a Tour Through Time. 75 years later, the work of the CCC lives on in California State Parks.Camp 1 Recreation Hall, Mendocino Woodlands
(Camp 1 Recreation Hall, Mendocino Woodlands)

Russian Gulch and Van Damme CCC Heritage Tour
Humboldt Redwoods and Richardson Grove CCC Heritage Tour
Mendocino Woodlands CCC Heritage Tour

Outdoor recreation became increasingly popular in the first decades of the 1900s. Local, state and national park systems grew in response to the growth in demand. In California, thanks to a state park bond passed by voters in 1928, the number of state parks more than tripled between 1929 and 1934. The state only had funds to buy park land, not to develop it. Without the CCC, the public would have waited many years to use the new state parks. The Civilian Conservation Corps developed recreation facilities in virtually every one of the new parks, and built, expanded, and improved facilities in the older parks.

Besides increasing recreation options for others, the enrollees also enjoyed their own recreation activities at the CCC camps. Most camps had a recreation hall for indoor activities. The "rec halls" at the state park camps did double-duty: the architects designed them to serve park visitors after the CCC boys had moved on. Three of the five parks on this tour had recreation halls of this type, and two are still in use as visitor centers. Mendocino Woodlands was developed as a "Recreation Demonstration Area," part of a nationwide effort to make more outdoor recreation available to city-dwellers. (It was mainly developed by Works Progress Administration workers, with some road and trail work by the CCC.)

Seventy-five years later, the work of the CCC is still in use--enjoyed by park visitors throughout California.

Location: Mendocino and Humboldt counties
Tour Length: About 70 miles, one-way (in order suggested below)
Tour Time: Two days (without suggested sidetrips or hikes)
Suggested Order: The towns of Mendocino and Fort Bragg are good starting points for this tour. On day one, visit Russian Gulch, Van Damme, and then Mendocino Woodlands. On day two, travel up to Humboldt County and the Avenue of the Giants to tour Richardson Grove and then Humboldt Redwoods.
Google Maps and Directions:
From Russian Gulch to Van Damme to Mendocino Woodlands
From the town of Mendocino to Richardson Grove and Humboldt Redwoods

To discover more about the Civilian Conservation Corps work in California State Parks, click here.