Big Basin State Park Visitors Center
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) installed a camp at Big Basin, California’s first state park (1901), and built a variety of facilities for public recreation.
Big Basin was saved through the efforts of Sempervirens Club (now Fund), as one of the last and largest groves of giant coast redwoods left in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
CCC men built the park headquarters (1936), an amphitheater of redwood logs, campgrounds, other park buildings and miles of trails, and probably roads and water lines, as well. For 75 years, those facilities remained virtually unchanged (one footbridge across the creek was replaced in the early 2000s), to the delight of millions of visitors.
In mid-August 2020, a wildfire started by lightning burned through the park and destroyed most of the old facilities.
https://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/735/files/interpretive%20facilities%20with%20icons.pdf; Family archive of Kate Guenther.
Rogers, Paul. 2020. "Wildfire destroys historic buildings at Big Basin State Park, fate of redwoods unknown," San Jose Mercury News, August 20.
Yaryan, Willie, Denzil Verardo and Jennie Varardo. 2000. The Sempervirens Story: A Century of Preserving California's Ancient Redwood Forest, 1900-2000. Los Altos: Sempervirens Fund.
Walker, Richard. 2007. The Country in the City: The Greening of the San Francisco Bay Area. Seattle: University of Washington
Project originally submitted by Shaina Potts on June 19, 2010.
Additional contributions by Richard A Walker.
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