Category Archives: morrison camp

CCC and Morrison Camp in the News

In October, Colorado Public Radio published a new story asking “Is It Time For A 21st-Century Civilian Conservation Corps?” Our answer has always been a resounding “YES!” Reactivating a CCC-style program has long been on the agenda of alumni groups nationwide, and Denver’s Chapter 7 was active in supporting and promoting the concept.

The article by Sam Brasch includes his interview with DMP Ranger Gwen Ganow, who updated him on developments at the Mt. Morrison Camp (SP-13) where DMP is headquartered. Jacob Ware, chief of Elk Creek Fire Protection District near Conifer, provided further thoughts on how a new federal CCC-inspired program of national service could help with fire mitigation in his area.

AmeriCorps NCCC crew working in Red Rocks Park.

Denver Mountain Parks, whose extensive involvement with the 1930s CCC influenced most of its parks, has also continued partnering with organizations that have followed the CCC legacy. Since its inception in 1993, AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) teams have worked for Mountain Parks refurbishing historic buildings, thinning forests, building new structures and trails, and even pulling weeds. Locally based Mile High Youth Corps has also been actively involved in DMP projects over the years.

As the alumni groups have been telling us since the 1990s, it’s time to “Bring Back the CCCs”!


Rec Hall Mural at Mt Morrison Camp

Over the years, we and our visitors have puzzled over the mysterious mural behind the stage in the Recreation Hall at Camp SP-13, Morrison. Some of the mystery was resolved several years ago, when a friend connected us with John Stencel, who formerly served as president of the Rocky Mountain Farmers’ Union.

The Rec Hall/museum in 2009.

By 2008, Chapter 7 alumni were wrapping up their long use of the Morrison Camp, but wanted Denver Mountain Parks to continue hosting a display of artifacts they’d collected. The Rec Hall still houses their museum today. An Open House was held there on August 10, 2019, with about 500 people attending.

Mr Stencel writes:

The Red Rocks camp (CCC) brings back many wonderful memories. I attended Farmers Union Camp at Red Rocks as a boy in the 1950s. In 1959, National Farmers Union purchased the old Bailey Ranch and built their own facility, now known as the Farmers Union Education Center, near Bailey, Colorado. Starting in 1960, I was a camp counselor at Bailey and then in 1964, I helped conduct camps at Bailey. Sorry for the side-bar, but it helps me with time frames.

I am not sure when Farmers Union started renting the facilities at Morrison, but I believe it was in the late 1940s. Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and National Farmers Union held camps at the old CCC facilities for more than 10 years, before moving the camps to Bailey. I attended Jr. and Sr. camps at Red Rocks from 1952 to 1959. These were Farmers Union Camps for Jr and Sr high school age children. I went to the National Farmers Union All-States Camp at Bailey in 1960. All-States is a national camp where high school graduates come from all over the country to attend a ten-day leadership training camp.

Closer view of the Farmers Union mural at the back of the stage. The stage is set up as it was for the Chapter 7 alumni meetings, with podium and chapter seal.

I remember the mural on the wall that you are talking about… Square and Round dancing was always a part of the evening activities. I can’t give you a date on when it was painted, but it had to be in the mid-1950s. I remember it appearing one year when I returned to camp in the mid ’50s, when I was in high school. We always had a co-op store where we sold candy and soda pop and souvenirs. Profits from the co-op were used to buy something for the camp. Perhaps the All-Staters decided to use their profits to paint the mural. I am just guessing this, but it is a possibility.