It’s like the Civilian Conservation Corps, but instead of earning a salary, participants are compensated with free food, camping, and historical restoration knowledge.
The US Forest Service is partnering with the nonprofit HistoriCorps to perform much-needed maintenance on the historic buildings at Crescent Moon Ranch this fall. HistoriCorps associates volunteers of all levels with experts in historical preservation to carry out the maintenance of old buildings, mainly on public lands, across the country.
Crescent Moon Ranch runs along Oak Creek near Red Rock Crossing and offers stunning views of Cathedral Rock. Project volunteers will camp in their own tents, trucks or motorhomes [no RVs or trailers permitted] at the ranch while they work on the project in weeklong sessions in September and October.
There are still places available for the sessions September 19-24 and September 26-October 1, which surprised Kaibab National Forest archaeologist and staff officer Jeremy Haines, who helped organize collaboration with HistoriCorps. The two October sessions are sold out.
Haines suspects that COVID-19 is still having an impact on the volunteer pool.
He said he heard about HistoriCorps when he took part in a project in his spare time in 2014. He was impressed by the group’s marriage of expertise with volunteers and said he learned a lot about it. philosophy of historical preservation work, which is different from ordinary construction. . There were other advantages as well.
“There are campfires in the evening,… the food is generally very good,” Haines said. “You leave with a new group of friends.”
He has since worked on several other projects.
The Crescent Moon Ranch project is HistoriCorps’s first in the Red Rock Ranger district.
The site is mostly popular for picnics and swimming in Oak Creek, but it is also home to several notable buildings that tell the story of what Haines calls Sedona “pre-vortex” – the agricultural period before WWII when Sedona’s main industry supplied Jerome and other bustling Arizona towns with fresh produce.
The ranch’s oldest building, a barn, dates from the 1890s, and “it’s just in desperate need of repairs,” Haines said. Other buildings the volunteers will work on include a forge, a well and a water-powered electric generator.
For Haines, the Crescent Moon Ranch project is important because the work will help protect buildings that “connect people to our history, to our stories, to our community,” he said.
Learn more about the project at historicorps.org/crescent-moon-az-2021.