Sly Guard Station & Harvey West Cabin, CA 2021
Sly Guard Station & Harvey West Cabin, CA 2021

Sly Guard Station & Harvey West Cabin, CA 2021

Sly Guard Station & Harvey West Cabin, CA 2021


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

SESSION DATES: Sly Guard Station:  May 30 – June 4, June 6-11;  Harvey West Cabin:  June 13-18

Project Site Description & History

History is everywhere around us, we just have to learn how to see it. Though both the Sly Guard Station and Harvey West Cabin are today available to the public as overnight lodging, they both have 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 (we also heard that a swimming hole isn’t too far from the cabins!). Both cabins are in need of some HistoriCorps TLC so they can continue to serve the public. Register today for this stupendous project!

Location and Logistics

PROJECT PARTNER: Eldorado National Forest


  • Sly Guard Station work: May 30 – June 4 and June 6-11
  • Harvey West Cabin work: June 13-18

Please plan to arrive at our campsite no earlier than 6pm and no later than 8pm on the first day of your session.


SITE INFORMATION:    Tent camping only     Tent and truck campers only. Our campsite will be near the Sly Guard Station for Sessions 1 and 2, and at the nearby China Flat Campground for Session 3, where we’ll be working at the Harvey West Cabin.


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.

Above: Enjoy a shady worksite while restoring the Harvey West Cabin

Above: The Sly Guard Station, once home to forest rangers, today is a welcoming respite from the everyday for overnight guests.

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 learn the traditional skills necessary to stabilize these two cabins:

  • Repair or replace V-groove rustic siding (35%)
  • Scrape and paint exterior (35%)
  • Repair or replace log slab siding (20%)
  • Repair or replace wood sill and trim around windows and doors (10%)

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. HistoriCorps is committed to keeping our volunteers, staff, and project communities safe. Beginning with projects starting 9/29/2021, all volunteers will be required to affirm that they will be fully vaccinated from the Covid-19 virus by the time their project begins.
  • 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.