The Civilian Conservation Corps was a government agency that operated from 1933 – 1942; and was part of the New Deal. The agency was created to provide jobs for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families (unemployment compensation), between the ages of 18–25. The agency had a focus on conservation and the development of natural resources on rural land owned by federal, state and local government. During the CCC’s short existence, members planted nearly 3 billion trees, constructed more than 800 parks and upgraded most state parks, and built public roadways in remote areas.
Valley of Fire was one of the earliest locations to be enhanced by the CCC; the stone cabins were constructed in 1934 for tourist traveling through to have a place to stay. The cabins are constructed with native sandstone. Along with the cabins, the CCC constructed a dam, and a good desert road.
One year later, in 1935, the Nevada State Park Commission was formed, and Valley of Fire was named Nevada’s first State Park. Five years later, it’s State Park status would be revoked due to it’s remoteness and “lack of recreational value.” In 1955, it was reinstated.
Although one may no longer stay in the stone cabins, you can still walk through them and admire their classic craftsmanship. A picnic area has been established nearby, keeping with the original CCC idea of making people traveling comfortable.
For more information of The Civilian Conservation Corps, visit the CCC Legacy website.
Behind the cabins there are several large panels of Native American petroglyphs.
The Gypsum People were the first known inhabitants of Valley of Fire, they visited here 4000-1800 years ago (2000 B.C.-200 A. D.). Theses people were nomadic hunter-gather people. It is believed that they didn’t live in the Valley of Fire, but rather traveled here for ceremonial and religious purposes.
Later groups of native people who would spend time in and around the Valley of Fire include the Basket Makers, the Anasazi Pueblo People that farmed in nearby Moapa Valley, and later in historic times, the Southern Paiute.
None of these groups of people lived full-time in the Valley of Fire, as there are no water sources; with the exception of water that may have collected in natural stone tanks (like Mouse’s Tank) after a good rain.
It is very likely that the Valley of Fire petroglyphs had been created over a period of roughly 3,000 years, by members of each of these cultural groups.