Our first camping trip as adults was at St. Croix State Park in 2006. One of the most popular state parks in Minnesota, it was a favorite camping destination for my family when I was a kid. A relatively short drive from home with lots of hiking, bike and canoe rentals, and interpretive activities, they also had a little store in case you forgot anything. We decided this was the perfect location to test our camping skills and eagerly hit the road for the weekend with our borrowed gear.
Located on the Minnesota shoreline of Lake Superior, Tettegouche State Park is home to High Falls, Shovel Point, historic campgrounds, and stunning vistas. We were there on a warm spring day and hiked along the Baptism River, across the old suspension bridge, and down to the bottom of High Falls – the second highest waterfall in Minnesota. With the roar of the rapidly moving water and the sun on our faces, we stopped often along the trail to breath in the heavy smells of pine trees.
The stock market crash of October 1929 sent the United States spiraling into the deepest economic downturn in history. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office on March 4, 1933, nearly half of the country’s banks had collapsed and between 13 and 15 million Americans were unemployed. FDR called the Congress into Emergency Session five days later and proposed the Emergency Conservation Work (EWC) Act, more widely known as the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Considered a “peacetime army,” the goal of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was to recruit unemployed young men and “have them do battle against the destruction and erosion of America’s natural resources.” Originally targeted to men 18-23, the program was eventually expanded to include men 17-28. The men lived together in camps run by the U.S. Army and the program provided them with food, shelter and clothing. In exchange for their service, they received $30 a month, $25 of which had to be sent home to their families. A subgroup of the CCC program was specifically for veterans of WWI, their group was called the Veterans Conservation Corps (VCC).
In 1935, the Veterans Conservation Corps #1785 arrived in New London, Minnesota to “build” Sibley State Park. The state park had been established in 1919, but until the VCC arrived, development within its boundaries was limited. Over the next three years, approximately 200 men built roads, buildings and trails within the park. Granite buildings still stand as a reminder of their handiwork and most are on the National History Register.
The Civilian Conservation Corps program came to an end in 1942 with World War II and the dwindling need for work relief. The legacy of the program can be seen across the country through the nearly 3 billion trees they planted to help reforest America, in the more than 800 parks they built, the upgrades they made to existing parks, the updated forest fire fighting methods they helped implement, and through their building of service structures and roadways in remote areas. More than three million young men were involved in the CCC, it has been described as the most popular experiment of the New Deal.
This post marks the end of our first scamping season. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been the proud owners of our bouncing, baby Scamp for six months already! We spent more time camping this year than we have in any other in any other season, but still, all good things must come to an end. Before the snow flies, we had one final outing and then put her in storage for the long, Minnesota winter.
The sun was shining when we arrived at Sibley State Park:
We were so happy to be outside, especially Danny. He doesn’t look like he minds riding shotgun, what do you think?
Sometimes referred to as Minnesota’s last true wilderness, Big Bog State Recreation is home to the largest peat bog in the lower 48 states. It is larger than the state of Rhode Island.
We haven’t had an outdoor adventure in far too long, sadly work schedules and other commitments have been taking their toll on our scamping adventures. Getaway plans are on the horizon, but in the meantime I have been looking back at outings we had in the spring until we once again find ourselves in the woods slapping mosquitoes.
This week I was looking back to our stay at Crow Wing State Park in the beginning of May. It was a beautiful weekend and our first trip out in our shiny, new Scamp. I hope you enjoy my walk down memory lane.
In 1868, the Ojibwe were relocated to the White Earth Indian Reservation. And in 1871, railroad magnate James J. Hill decided to route his Northern Pacific Railroad over the Mississippi in Brainerd, 10 miles north of Old Crowing.
Today, Crow Wing State Park is on the National Register of Historic Places.