Thanks to the efforts of the U.S. Forest Service staff at the Chippewa National Forest, the future of the Rabideau Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp National Historic Landmark (NHL) in north central Minnesota will be more certain with the pending completion of a Historic Preservation Plan. The CCC camp, remarkably unchanged since its occupation by the New Deal era enrollees, had suffered from years of neglect before the Chippewa National Forest focused its attention on this remote complex. With the foundation stabilization project complete at CCC, the Forest Service is turning its attention to establishing the groundwork for sensitive day-to-day management and long-term preservation for the entire camp.
The U.S. Forest Service’s Historic Preservation Plan will establish specific design guidance to be used by the Chippewa National Forest and permitted users of the camp. It will address acceptable rehabilitation and preservation treatment for all of Rabideau’s nationally significant buildings, structures and landscape, following the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Preservation of Historic Properties. It will also accommodate modern program needs under the U.S. Forest Service Special Use permit. Under these permits, the U.S. Forest Service will provide basic historic preservation treatment and overall long term maintenance, while the permittees provide enhancements to meet their program needs and ongoing facilities maintenance. Development of this plan involved a team of staff from the Chippewa National Forest, the National Park Service, the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office and other interested parties.
The Chippewa National Forest understands that the plan needs to be complete before the camp may become the dynamic resource it is expected to be. In keeping with its original intent and historic use, the vision is for a natural resource educational and training center for young people. To this end, the Chippewa National Forest has been actively seeking mechanisms and partners to help accomplish needed work at the NHL. The estimated total for full restoration is over one million dollars.
Originally published in "Exceptional Places" Vol. 3, 2008, a newsletter of the Division of Cultural Resources, Midwest Region. Written by Dena Sanford.