Crystal Lake Nature Center
NHAL State Forest Visitor's Guide, 2017, pp. 13A-14A
Lakeland Times
Original Date

The text of the historical section of the article is available under "Full Text" on this site. It seems to imply that the structure moved by the Wisconsin Conservation Corps was from the old CCC camp. However, I am quite sure that the structure, while from the location of the CCC camp, was built by and for the Boy Scout Canoe Base, long after the CCCs left.

Also, the history omits the fact that in the last days of operation by the Boy Scouts of America is was changed from a Region 7 Canoe Base to part of the national Boy Scout Adventure Camping program. It was in that status when it was closed.

  • Bookwood Historical Collection, Star Lake

Nestled in the hear of the Northern Highland American Legion, Wisconsin's largest State Forest, is a popular visitor designation--Cyrstal Lake Nature Center.

Historically, the nature center holds a unique connection to our passt. In 1933 a Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) camp planned for the shores of Crystal Lake was, for some reason, developed instead on White Sand Lake to the north. Called "Camp Crystal," 154 men stationed there pioneered in forestry and conservation work. They established a tree nursery, plantged trees by the thousands, fought wildfires, maintained fish hatcheries and rearing ponds and constructed roads, bridges, and phone lines to link the fire towers.

The CCC camp fell idle during the years surrounding World War II but later found life as the Region 7 National Boy Scout Canoe Base from 1940 to 1983. At full capacity 250 boys from throughout the Midwest practiced outdoor skills at the camp. In the late 1980's, following a life-time of use, most well-worn, half century old buildings were removed.

During the mid-1990's, as a fitting tribute to "Camp Crystal," a Wisconsin Conservation Corps crew rescued a remaining, but more recently built structue from the old CCC camp. It was carefully deconstructed, then transported and re-assembled timber by timber at Crystal Lake for public use as the Crystal Lake Nature Center....