Clear Lake Picnic Shelter, OR 2021
Clear Lake Picnic Shelter, OR 2021

Clear Lake Picnic Shelter, OR 2021

Clear Lake Picnic Shelter, OR 2021

Clear Lake,  formed by lava flows three thousand years ago, boasts crystalline waters with visibility up to one hundred feet deep. The natural beauty of this area has inspired people for generations. The lake’s nearby picnic shelter, constructed by the CCC of local natural materials, is the focus of this HistoriCorps project.

PROJECT PARTNER:  Willamette National Forest

SESSION DATES:  August 8-13, August 15-20, August 22-27

Project Site Description & History

Located high in the Cascades, Clear Lake was formed by lava flows three millennia ago. Historically, this lake was on Mollalla and Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Nations land (learn more). Today, it is ringed by Douglas fir, Western Hemlock, Oregon grape, wild rose, beargrass, blackberries, ferns, vanilla leaf, and more. Native cutthroat trout call the lake home, although other trout varieties have made their way here as well. By the 1880s, Euro-American settlers were using trails and the Santiam Wagon Road to access the crystalline lake for recreational purposes. Not too long after, the Forest Reserve system (precursor to today’s USDA Forest Service) reserved land along the lakeshore; and in the 1910s, two companies filed official permits to build hydroelectric power infrastructure in the area. Only one permit was granted, and the fortunate company began to build a variety of cabins and outbuildings near the lake in preparation for the project. However, the hydroelectric plans were never realized, and the Forest Service revoked the permit.

In the decades following, tourists – now armed with motor vehicles and a more developed road system – expanded their recreational exploits. The Forest Service promoted outdoor recreation through permitting individuals to build recreational cabins, motor lodges, and related infrastructure. Outdoor recreation was, and still is, seen as a strong American value. To that end, just a generation later, during the Great Depression, the CCC constructed a humble, yet well-built, picnic shelter that is still in use today. The Civilian Conservation Corps was a Depression-era poverty relief program of the U.S. Government which put young men to work on public benefit projects, especially on public lands. Corps members would receive three square meals per day, and $30 per month – $25 of which was given directly to their families.

The Clear Lake Picnic Shelter is constructed of local, natural materials; those familiar with CCC-constructed buildings and structures will recognize the distinctive rustic style. Today it is still in use as a picnic shelter, as well as a warming hut in the winter for hunters and cross-country skiers.

Our campsite at Fish Lake Remount Depot is fascinating. The first structure at Fish Lake was a roadhouse built in 1867 by the Willamette Valley and Cascade Mountain Wagon Road Company to accommodate travelers along the Santiam Wagon Road. It became a Forest Service outpost in 1905. Activities at the site now focus on interpretation, historic preservation and landscape restoration. Learn more here. Volunteers on this project will experience beautiful natural surroundings while honoring the history of this incredibly special place.

The picnic shelter’s logs, stone fireplace, and shingle roof are in need of repair and replacement.

Clear Lake offers superb sightseeing and recreational opportunities. Anglers may enjoy fishing this lake as well, but be sure to get your permit and check local conditions!

The CCC built iconic, rustic-style structures like this one across the country.

Location and Logistics

PROJECT PARTNER: Willamette National Forest

SESSION DATES: August 8-13, August 15-20, and August 22-27. Please plan to arrive at our campsite no earlier than 6pm and no later than 8pm on the first day of your session.

We are delighted to partner with Northwest Youth Corps on later project sessions here!

SITE INFORMATION:    Tent camping only  Site is RV/trailer accessible

We will camp just 2.5 miles away and commute to the jobsite daily. Tent campers, truck campers, and those with small-to-medium RVs/trailers can access this campsite. However, there are no hookups and the ground may not be perfectly level.


ABOUT VOLUNTEERING: HistoriCorps projects are free for volunteers! HistoriCorps will provide all meals, tools, training, and equipment, and a campsite. Volunteers are responsible for their own transportation to the campsite, sleeping equipment, work clothes and boots, and other personal gear.

Scope of Work


HistoriCorps is committed to educating and training volunteers in preservation skills, with an overarching mission of inspiring a preservation ethic in all those involved. Learning and working alongside expert HistoriCorps field staff, volunteers and youth conservation corps members (across different work sessions) will learn the traditional skills necessary to preserve and restore elements of the Clear Lake picnic Shelter. Volunteers should expect to work on scaffolding occasionally as well as assist with lifting logs.

  • Remove and replace cedar shake roof:  40%
  • Repair and replace log walls and roof structure:  40%
  • Repair and repoint stone chimney:  20%

Please note: Tasks vary by day and by week, depending on a variety of factors including: weather, project priorities, previous groups’ work, and more. Though it is likely you will get to learn and practice most or all of the above tasks, it is not guaranteed. The higher percentage of the scope a particular task is, the more likely you will get to practice it.

Sign Up!

We’re thrilled this project has inspired you to volunteer! Choose your session and register below:

You will know your registration was successful when you receive a confirmation email. Contact for assistance.

HistoriCorps does not charge for its volunteering projects. HistoriCorps relies on donations to continue engaging volunteers to save significant historical sites across America for generations to come. Your donation of any amount will make an incredible difference! Increase your impact – make a generous gift today.

Volunteer Logistics, Policies, and Advice

We’re so glad you’re interested in joining this project! If you’re new to our community, review the Volunteer FAQ first! Please note the following logistics and policies:

  • Review our COVID protocols here
  • Volunteering with HistoriCorps is free! We will provide all meals, tools, training, equipment, and a campsite or shared indoor lodging. Dinner is not provided on the first night.
  • Volunteers are responsible for bringing their own gear, sturdy work clothes and boots, and appropriate sleeping equipment. Check the average temperatures before you start packing – the nights and mornings may be colder than you anticipate! Then, read this advice about how to stay warm when tent camping in colder places.
  • Campsite accessibility varies by project. Some projects can accommodate tents only; others can accommodate small RVs. Please review the project site description above for more information, and if you’re still not sure, email for help.
  • If this project does not offer showers, you might want to consider bringing a solar shower or research other methods to clean up after the work day.
  • Volunteer crew sizes generally range from 4-8 volunteers, with two HistoriCorps staff that lead and train volunteers in the work.
  • Safety is one of HistoriCorps’ top priorities, and volunteers can contribute to a safe working environment by ensuring their physical fitness is adequate for the work. See above for this project’s scope of work and difficulty level. Please, call us if you are not quite sure if a project is a good fit for your skills or fitness level. We may be able to suggest a project more suitable and enjoyable for you.
  • Dogs are generally allowed to accompany their humans in project campsites (actually, we love having dogs join us around the campfire!). Dogs are not permitted on the job site for everyone's safety. HOWEVER: HistoriCorps also follows the rules and regulations of our project partner. If the project partner does not permit dogs onsite then HistoriCorps is no exception. Please ask HistoriCorps or the project partner directly if you have any questions about whether Fido is welcome.