“As a Division of Grazing camp, [Camp Bonanza] project work was planned and supervised by DG personnel. The basic mission for the project work was to construct infrastructure in the Bonanza Grazing District to allow orderly management of the public rangelands.
Rangelands of the Bonanza Grazing District are located on the high plateau east of Langell Valley, known today as the Gerber Block. The north and east boundaries are the Fremont National Forest and the south boundary is the Oregon-California state line and the Modoc National Forest. Most of the lands were federal public domain managed by the Division of Grazing for livestock production. The work completed by the CCC at Camp Bonanza was impressive, both for the number of projects, and for the quality of workmanship.
Surveying to establish property boundaries was often the first work needed in a project area. It was especially important when locating fencing and road projects. One example is the south boundary fence along the state line. Squared wood posts with scribing were set at property corners, and many are still in place today.
Construction of access roads was a major activity for Camp Bonanza. These roads were needed to facilitate movement of cattle and allow for fire patrol and suppression. The Yokum Valley (now Willow Valley) road connected the south end of Langell Valley with the Fremont and Modoc National Forest road systems. Cinders were mined from the Rock Creek pit and spread on the Stateline road for all weather access. A north-south road through the middle of the grazing district was built to connect the Stateline road with the Forest Service’s Barnes Valley road and the rest of the Bly Ranger District’s road system. Today’s CCC road mostly follows this original route. Other existing roads were repaired of maintained by Camp Bonanza crews, including Gerber County road. Velma Evans recalled that when her husband Ed was foreman of the camp’s road crew, they found a rattlesnake den along Gerber road near the top of Goodlow Rim. The rattlesnakes were no match for the road crew’s dynamite supply.
Telephone lines were constructed from Langell Valley, along the Stateline road, and branched to the Grohs (or Rimrock) Ranch in California, and to the range rider cabin at Antelope Flat. Juniper poles were set in the ground and braced by rock jacks at the base. Many of these poles can still be seen today, some with the telephone wire still hanging from them.”
“The range projects completed by the CCC men from Camp Bonanza (especially fencing, roads and water developments) became the infrastructure that allowed the orderly management of the then-depleted rangelands to begin. This in turn resulted in the stabilization and eventual improvement in rangeland condition in the following decades.”
–“Camp Bonanza: A Division of Grazing Camp on the Public Rangelands”
Bill Johnson, “Camp Bonanza: A Division of Grazing Camp on the Public Rangelands” in We Can Take It: The Civilian Conservation Corps in the Land of the Lakes, The Shaw Historical Library, Oregon Institute of Technology, 2006. Pg. 111-116.
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