Cathedral Gorge State Park Improvements – Lincoln County NV


“Lincoln County was not far behind Clark County sites in terms of federal funds spent on park developments. The county received approval for a fair share of state-operated recreational facilities that’s to the collective efforts of the county commission, the Caliente Chamber of Commerce, state senator L.L. Burt, and Congressman Scrugham. Lincoln County was anxious to promote its little-known natural attractions, including the intense red spires and erosional features at Cathedral Gorge. After purchasing park properties with federal Public Works appropriations funds, Congressman Scrugham and Senator McCarran secured a CCC camp for Panaca to build new parks. A full company from Camp Overton was transferred to Panaca from the Lake Mead area to work at Cathedral Gorge, Kershaw Canyon, and Beaver Dam. The camp also worked on long-needed drainage and flood control projects.

Before the Lincoln County parks could be built, however, better access roads and a reliable source of water were needed. At Cathedral Gorge, a windmill encased in a forty-foot rock tower was built over an existing well sunk years earlier by local ranchers. For safety reasons, access roads leading from the Pioche-Caliente Highway (U.S. Highway 93) required straightening and resurfacing. Lincoln County obtained funds from the state highway system to improve roads from the Panaca Highway (State Route 317) to the Kershaw-Ryan State Park. The CCC redesigned existing roads and built new roads, parking areas, fire pits, and trails. Beaver Dam was quite a distance from the Panaca camp, so a spike camp with fifty enrollees was established on-site. Another spike camp was established at Lehman Caves National Monument, 145 miles to the north, after the U.S. Forest Service transferred the park to the National Park Service. The spike camp was tasked with improving the recreational facilities at the limestone cave and surrounding attractions. Nevada wasted no time in promoting its new recreation and park facilities. The attractions were featured in Chamber of Commerce pamphlets, newspapers and magazines, and The WPA Guide to 1930s Nevada, published in 1940.”

–The Civilian Conservation Corps in Nevada

Source notes

Renee Corona Kolvet and Victoria Ford, The Civilian Conservation Corps in Nevada: From Boys to Men. University of Nevada Press, 2006. Pgs. 102-104.

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Location Info

Cathedral Gorge State Park

Coordinates: 37.82756320000001, -114.4143613

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