Remembering Camp Vista

A section of Vista off Sycamore Avenue that’s known today as Green Oak Ranch was, from 1935 to 1941, the location of Camp Vista. The camp was part of a nationwide network of facilities operated by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The corps, known more familiarly as the CCC, was one of the first programs instituted by the administration of President Franklin Roosevelt to relieve massive unemployment in the depths of the Great Depression.

At its height the camp was home to 200 enrollees, unemployed young men between the ages of 17 and 28 who were put to work on projects involving soil conservation, tree planting, preservation of wildlife habitat and road building.

Here’s a photo of Camp Vista’s enrollees taken around 1940, courtesy of the Vista Historical Society:

It wasn’t just “busy-work” that those young men performed. One report published in the pages of the Vista Press newspaper in March 1936, just five months after the camp had opened, noted that enrollees had constructed  “47 permanent dams, over 4,500 feet of diversion ditches, one mile of terraces, and 70 permanent terrace outlet structures” on local ranches. During that same period, the camp workers planted “over 2,600 soil-holding, drought-resistant trees…to protect gully banks and eroding hillsides.”

That’s some history worth remembering.

Sources for this post included the archives of the Vista Historical Society and the book, The Tree Army: A Pictorial History of the Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942.

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