Built by the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s as a Recreation Demonstration Area, the Mendocino Woodlands State Park was established to introduce the public to the wonders of nature through recreation and conservation. The campgrounds were created to retire submarginal agricultural and other lands, and repurpose them for recreational use. The entire park has continued to serve this original purpose without interruption since opening in 1938. The Mendocino Woodlands State Park is located within the traditional Pomo Indian territory, near the village site of bu’ldam.
The Mendocino Woodlands showcases this as the largest and most intact state park development undertaken by the Park Service in California. Camp One opened at Mendocino Woodlands in 1938. Construction continued, however, on dozens of buildings. Water and sewage systems were under construction, as was a telephone system, swimming facilities, foot bridges, and “landscape naturalization” around the completed construction projects. By 1943, all three group camps had been completed.
Originally, the Woodlands consisted of 5,425 acres. In 1976, Senate Bill 1063 split that parcel of land, reducing the camp to approximately 700 acres in a narrow corridor along the river, and transferred it to the State Department of Parks and Recreation. Since 1949, the Mendocino Woodlands Camp Association, a 501(c)(3) non-profit public-benefit organization, has managed and maintained the park and facilities.
In 1997, the Mendocino Woodlands was honored to become the first Recreation Demonstration Area within the California State Park system to receive National Historic Landmark status due to the exceptional architectural value of the structures as well as the site’s incredible significance as part of the history of the United States.
Join HistoriCorps crew this Fall to perform much-needed maintanance to Camp 2 cabins in the park. After all, the Mendocino Woodlands was given to the people of California with the mandate that it be used for recreation and environmental education. This means the cabins are used by thousands of people, year after year. What better work is there–historic preservation–to ensure this park maintains this mission for generations of park visitors?