2007 Nevada Field School

Surveying the CCC Historical Site - Week 1

Among our projects this summer, we will construct a map of the CCC camp. This will help the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in their management of the site, and in some small way repay them for their logistical assistance (they provide us with a trailer and portable toilets). The only mapping aid we have is a 1937/8 panoramic photograph of the CCC camp. Our first task was to find the location from which the picture was taken. We hiked up to a nearby ridge until we found the location, which we identified by the way the ridges lined-up across the horizon. There, we re-photographed the area and briefly stopped to record the find in our field notebooks. These notebooks are the permanent record of our field activities and will eventually be housed in the Nevada State Museum.

After arriving back in camp, we split into several groups. Each group mapped a different quadrant of the historic site, using compasses, meter measuring tape, GPS units, and common sense. The GPS units were a bit "jumpy" and did not give us convincing x-y coordinates. So we turned to the "old fashioned" mapping techniques using compasses to establish the bearings of rock-lined paths and building foundations, and tapes to measure distances. We soon realized that the site had incredibly complicated footpaths that were difficult to map, so we marked them with yellow tape, and will return to the site later this week to get more accurate measurements with an EDM Total Station.