Island Lake Trail, Lamoille Canyon - Lamoille NV
Lamoille Canyon is the largest valley in the Ruby Mountains in northeastern Nevada. It is a spectacular glaciated canyon, known popularly as “Nevada’s Yosemite” and is surrounded by peaks rising over 11,000 feet. Lamoille Canyon lies mostly within the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, which extends in patches across all of Nevada.
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) established a camp in the lower canyon in 1933 and did extensive work there from 1933-1937, under the supervision of the US Forest Service. The CCC enrollees built the road up the canyon, built trails, and laid out two campgrounds in the canyon.
The large Thomas Canyon Campground lies along Lamoille Creek at an elevation of 7,200 feet, where Thomas Canyon joins Lamoille Canyon, and the much smaller Terraces Camp and Picnic Area is higher up at 8,200 feet. The present camp/picnic sites are standard Forest Service slab, table and metal stove; there are no obvious traces of CCC work.
There are several of trails in the canyon, including the Thomas Canyon trail and the Road’s End Trail at the head of Lamoille Canyon, part of what is now the Ruby Crest Trail, which continues the length of the Ruby Mountains.
The CCC men also built rustic cabins at Overland Lake in the Southern Ruby Mountains. They may well have built the water supply up Lamoille Canyon, as well.
Kolvet and Ford (2006) observe that:
“The Forest Service’s CCC program blazed new roads and trails into prospective campgrounds, existing mines, or susceptible fore zones. The Forest Service with its ample staff of engineers and natural resource specialists provided technical expertise for CCC projects. Similarly, the technical staff assisted the Soil Conservation Service by supervising construction activities on southern Nevada flood-control projects in the lower Moapa Valley, Panaca, and Caliente….
Nevada’s first Forest Service CCC camps were established in Lamoille Canyon and Berry Creek, both in northeastern Nevada, and at Kyle Canyon on Mount Charleston, near Las Vegas… [those] first Forest Service camps were predominantly filled with Nevada men….”
Renee Corona Kolvet and Victoria Ford, The Civilian Conservation Corps in Nevada: From Boys to Men. University of Nevada Press, 2006. Pgs. 120-121.
Wines, Claudia. The Hidden History of Elko County. Charleston SC: Arcadia Books (2008).
Denis Meyers, "How the New Deal built Nevada," Reno News & Review, May 15, 2008. https://www.newsreview.com/reno/how-the-new-deal-built/content?oid=664643
Diana Neef, "Civilian Conservation Corps, Elko County: 1933-1942," Quarterly of the Northeastern Nevada Historical Society, Winter 1984, pp. 16-24.
Project originally submitted by Renee Kolvet on June 19, 2012.
Additional contributions by Richard A Walker.
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