Camp Rabideau, located within the Chippewa National Forest of northern Minnesota, is a remarkable example of preservation and curation. It was constructed in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal initiative to combat the Great Depression by employing young men in public lands projects across the country. Initially intended as a temporary camp, it has withstood the test of time for almost ninety years, unlike many similar camps of its time. After World War II, the buildings at Camp Rabideau were no longer in use and fell into disrepair due to a lack of maintenance. In 1946, the University of Illinois began using the camp for its engineering and forestry schools, but by the early 1970s, it became clear that the structures were not built to last, and the university moved on. Over the next 20 years, the camp further deteriorated, with only thirteen of the original 25 buildings still standing. In 1991, the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota intervened to help preserve this fading landmark of the New Deal. By 1999, the Chippewa National Forest initiated restoration efforts, leading to a sustained push for more preservation work at the camp. In 2006, the camp was designated as a National Historic Landmark, and by 2010, it was repurposed as the Rabideau Conservation Academy and Learning Center. It now offers year-round youth programs for kids and young adults from nearby counties. This legacy of providing opportunities to young individuals sets Camp Rabideau apart from many other disheveled CCC camps and recreation areas across the country. If you’re keen on getting hands-on experience in preserving a truly historic place that will continue to serve others, this opportunity cannot be missed.