Former Tuolumne Grove CCC camp F-388 - Yosemite National Park CATwo NatureBridge utility buildings
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a major presence in Yosemite National Park from 1933 to 1942, helping to improve the park for public use. CCC enrollees carried out a wide range of projects throughout the park, from forestry to construction. More than seven thousand young men and 24 companies cycled through the park during the life of the program (a 25th company arrived just before the program ended, according to Broesamle 2022).
The two hubs of CCC activity were Camp Wawona at the south end of the park and Camp Cascades at the foot of Yosemite Valley (see separate pages for those sites). Eight other seasonal camps with full companies were set up in order to carry out particular projects located at a distance from the hub camps; the number of those varied from year to year, with no more than four in any year. There were also what was known as stub or spike camps, which were of shorter duration and held fewer men. Both were tent camps, while the hub camps had more permanent wooden barracks and structures suitable for year-round occupancy.
The number of seasonal camps varied from year to year. In 1935, for instance, there were two, at Crane Flat and Merced Grove. In 1937, no seasonal camps opened, but 1939 and 1940 saw seasonal camps at Crane Flat, Middle Fork of the Tuolumne Tamarack Flat, and Empire Meadow.
Stub camps were also needed, perhaps a dozen overall. One example was located near Half Dome to work on the climbing cable. Another was at Ranger Camp, located near the administrative area in Tuolumne Meadows.
A good example of a stub/spike camp is the Tuolumne Grove camp, F-388, established in October 1939 to house part of CCC company 911. In recent years, the site has been occupied by NatureBridge, a program of summer environmental courses for high school students (NatureBridge has recently moved to another site). According to a NatureBridge camp staffer interviewed in 2017, this CCC camp was used for Blister Rust control (removing wild current bushes). There is an abandoned section of the old camp on the hillside that includes a concrete foundation, some concrete rubble with rusted rebar, a rusted metal cover, a deteriorated asphalt camp road, and a few sections of terraced hillside probably used for long tent barracks. The NatureBridge staffer thought that some remaining buildings are CCC in origin, but that has not been verified.
Interview with staff member of Nature Bridge camp, 2017
Project originally submitted by Andrew Laverdiere on October 23, 2017.
Additional contributions by Richard Walker.
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