Sly Guard Station and Harvey West Cabin, CA 2022
Sly Guard Station and Harvey West Cabin, CA 2022

Sly Guard Station and Harvey West Cabin, CA 2022

Sly Guard Station and Harvey West Cabin, CA 2022

This two-in-one project in Northern California is in a forest strewn with wildflowers, encompassing majestic mountains and towering trees. Experience and preserve the history of the U.S. Forest Service by restoring these cabins for public benefit.

PROJECT PARTNER:  Eldorado National Forest



CREW LEADER: Amelia Best

Project Site Description & History

History is everywhere around us, we just have to learn how to see it. Built on land originally inhabited by the Nisenan people, both the Sly Guard Station and Harvey West Cabin are today available to the public as overnight lodging. They have each played a significant role in the history and evolution of the U.S. Forest Service. The USFS was established in 1905, and the Eldorado National Forest was founded just five years later. In the span of a generation, Forest Rangers were found on every forest, charged with protecting and managing natural resources – including working with logging and mining companies to manage these resources responsibly while contributing to economic growth in the region. The two buildings we are working on tell different sides of the same coin.

The Harvey West Cabin was built by the Sacramento Box and Lumber Company in the early 1930s, during the Great Depression. It was later bought by successful timber businessman and philanthropist Harvey West to be used as a summer retreat for his family. It was acquired by the Eldorado National Forest in the 1970s. The Sly Guard Station, sitting 3,600 feet above sea level, was constructed ten years later, in the early 1940s, and served as a home for forest rangers who worked to ensure the legality of mining and logging activity there. Both buildings now serve the public as overnight rentals for forest visitors.

Today, visitors enjoy hiking, mountain biking, gold panning, and picnicking. There’s even a great swimming hole near the campsite! Both cabins are in need of some HistoriCorps TLC so they can continue to serve the public. We are excited to return to Sly Guard Station and Harvey West Cabin and we hope you’ll join us in completing this multi-season project!

Location and Logistics

SESSION DATES: June 5-10. Please plan to arrive at the campsite no earlier than 5pm and no later than 7pm on the first day of your session.

LOCATION:  We will camp onsite at Harvey West Cabin.

·       MAP to CAMPSITE (same as project site)

ACCESS:    Tent camping only 

Tent and truck campers only. No RV spaces will be provided and the ground may not be perfectly level. There will be restrooms and potable water onsite.

WEATHER:  Anticipate highs in the 80s and lows in the mid 40s. Weather conditions may be rainy, cloudy, or sunny. Volunteers are responsible for checking weather conditions before their session begins, and packing appropriately.

ABOUT VOLUNTEERING: HistoriCorps projects are free for volunteers! HistoriCorps will provide all meals, tools, training, equipment, and a campsite. Volunteers are responsible for their own transportation to the campsite, sleeping equipment, work gloves, 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 will use traditional skills necessary to restore the Harvest West Cabin exterior by replacing vertical log slab siding and repairing the wooden sash windows of the Sly Guard Station.

  • Produce and install vertical log slab siding at Harvey West Cabin (80%)
  • Repair wood sash windows of Sly Guard Station (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:

  • HistoriCorps is committed to keeping our volunteers, staff, and project communities safe. All volunteers will be required to affirm that they will be fully vaccinated from the Covid-19 virus by the time their project begins. Read our Covid protocols here (updated October 2021).
  • 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, work gloves, 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.
  • Hard hats, eye protection, ear protection, gloves are standard personal protection equipment (PPE) required on all projects. Hard hats must be worn at all times on the project site, unless working in a designated safe space. Field staff will train volunteers on correct use of PPE.
  • 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.