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Antiquities Act Centennial Celebration
National Public Lands Day

CCC Ponds

Martin Hudson and Bill Gunderman install a new trail sign.
Martin Hudson and
Bill Gunderman
install a new trail sign.

The Pinedale Field Office will host its National Public Lands Day this year at the CCC Ponds, located 2½ miles northeast of Pinedale, WY. Last years’ event was also held at this site, which has interesting historic significance. The ponds are named for the Civilian Conservation Corps, a New Deal program created by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930’s to create jobs for young men and women following the Depression. The focus of the CCC was on the preservation of natural resources through various construction and improvement projects to increase access and enjoyment of public lands.

Camp Fremont, based out of Pinedale, was situated at the south end of Fremont Lake. This was one of the first camps to be deployed in the country. One of the many projects they completed in the area was to construct the CCC Ponds, which are a series of ponds with water diverted from the lake flowing through the ponds and re-entering Pine Creek, which flows out of Fremont Lake. The ponds were constructed to create accessible fishing ponds and improve habitat for wildlife. Other projects they did in the area include repairing or building telephone lines, electrical lines, drift fences, bridges, campgrounds, insect control, stream improvement, constructing buildings for the Forest Service, and fighting forest fires.

Pinedale Middle School students and BLM employees cut back overgrown vegetation along a trail.
Pinedale Middle School students and
BLM employees cut back overgrown
vegetation along a trail.

Over decades of neglect, the water flow system quit working properly. In the early 1990’s, a cooperative group consisting of the Sublette County School District #1, the Sublette County Conservation District, the Sublette County Commissioners, Sublette County Road and Bridge, Trout Unlimited, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the Town of Pinedale, US Forest Service, and the BLM, worked together to revive the ponds and make them functioning once again. Ponds were given specific themes to provide for various wildlife species: the Fish Pond, Duck Pond, Beaver Pond, and Frog Pond. A walking path was added to enable public access, as well as the installation of benches, interpretive signs and a parking lot. Over the years the area has seen increasing recreation use from natives and visitors alike in the form of fishing and non-motorized activities such as walking and bird watching.

A group of volunteers readies to set up a bat box.
A group of volunteers
 sets up a bat box.

Last year, the NPLD activities ranged from trail maintenance and construction to bat box installation to the monitoring and GPS’ing of blue bird boxes. This year we are planning on installing more bat boxes and constructing and installing new blue bird boxes. Through those projects, we will improve upon the GPS skills taught last year. We have some additional trail construction work to do to make some new trail loops. We also expect to do some rehabilitation of existing motorized trails to eliminate their presence in this area closed to vehicle access. More public participation would be welcomed with open arms.