Most of the structures at Clear Lake Education Center were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930's. Our lodge, dining hall, and cabins have all been maintained to reflect original and historic construction but updated to include modern amenities. The camp was originally dedicated for recreation, but has seen many different uses in the intervening years.
The Civilian Conservation Corps was part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal, designed in large part to combat the economic and ecological disasters of the Great Depression. The first CCC enrollee was selected in April of 1933, and though the maximum enrollment at any point in time was 300,000, over the course of its nine years of operation around three million young men participated in CCC programs. In Michigan alone, over 100,000 men participated. Through those years, they constructed thousands of miles of trails, fought dozens of wildfires, constructed 222 buildings, and planted 484 million trees - more than any other state.
Construction at Clear Lake began in June of 1935. For more information about the CCC in Michigan, click here.
In the 1960's one of Clear Lake's major functions was as a retreat for Escanaba Public High School's marching band. Music students practiced in the very same amphitheater that we use today for classes and campfires. The main dock at Clear Lake was built in this period as well.
Through the 1970's Clear Lake's facilities were used to host Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) crews as both a home base and a work site. The YCC was first established in the late 1960's and was based off of the CCC model that combined public service with individual, gainful employment. YCC crews often took part in projects similar to those of the CCC; conservation and public land maintenance were major focuses.
Inexplicably, Clear Lake Education Center's grounds and facilities were primarily used in the 1990's as a computer science camp. Certainly it must have been an interesting progression of discussions and decisions that led to a remote and nearly pristine natural area being designated for an area of scholarship that intrinsically requires being indoors.
Since the late 1990's, Clear Lake Education Center has primarily served as a center for outdoor science education. In the spring and fall seasons, scheduled residential school groups visit for one to three days and participate in our STEM-based classes, high ropes challenge course, and varied recreational activities. During the summer, we host private rental groups at the camp; winter months are dedicated to travel programs and new program development.