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As It Was: Hundreds Attend Grand Opening of Gasquet Picnic Ground

The Crescent City Chamber of Commerce and the Siskiyou National Forest promoted new parks by inviting everyone in Del Norte County to the grand opening in June 1936 of a picnic ground in Gasquet, Calif.

Despite threatening weather, 200 people came to the event at the old ranger station site across the Smith River from the main section of Gasquet.  The recently cleared property, equipped with tables, rock stoves, teeters and swings, horseshoe courts, and piped water made it an ideal place to assemble large groups with pure water, good sanitation, and pleasant surroundings.

In the late morning, a caravan toured picnic and camping areas being developed nearby, including Patrick’s Creek Park and the Madrona and Cedar campsites.

The afternoon featured a sack lunch, smoke-cured coffee, and a baseball game between Hobbs-Wall Timber Co. employees and the U.S. Foresters team.  Hobbs-Wall won the game and shared its huge sheet-cake prize with everyone.

Many years later, Congress acknowledged the 305,337-acre Smith River National Recreation Area to protect its scenic value, natural diversity, cultural and historical attributes, wilderness, wildlife, fisheries, and the Smith River watershed’s clean water.

Sources: Ruffell, Marcia. Smith River National Recreation Area - Gasquet Ranger District History. Part 2- The 1920's ed., 1995, pp. 173-176; "Forest Picnic To Be Annual Event." Del Norte Triplicate, 19 June 1936.

Laurel earned a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from Humboldt State. Her research efforts as a volunteer for the Curry Historical Society produced numerous newsletter articles and exhibits and earned her a reputation as a seasoned local history buff. Laurel is the author of "Renderings from the Gold Beach Pioneer Cemetery", a 50-page booklet containing a walking tour and snippets about the lives and times of folks buried there. She is also a contributing writer to Oregon Coast Magazine.