A walk and a talk at Mt. San Jacinto State Park

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A 1930s food storage cabinet built by Civilian Conservation Corps workers at Mt. San Jacinto State Park. If the park needs to replace a cabinet, it must be rebuilt to the exact specs used during the 1930s to meet specific heritage classification standards. Photo by Susan Monroe

It was a beautiful morning for a walk, a talk and a history lesson at Mt. San Jacinto State Park with Mark Hudgens, who is sector supervisor for the park, a job he has held since August 2016.

Since becoming supervisor, Hudgens has been involved in adding six electrical hookups at Stone Creek, a project finished just in time for the public’s summer reservations.

At the Long Valley Discovery Trail, staff and volunteers have been working to make the trails and campgrounds in the wilderness more accessible. There is also a new sign plan to help visitors find their way around the park more easily.

With the help of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, park staff and community volunteers, visitors requiring assistance have been helped.

Also in the works, is a plan to upgrade campgrounds in the Civilian Conservations Corps 1930s sector. The CC was a U.S. public work-relief program from 1933 to 1942. President Franklin D. Roosevelt started this program April 5, 1933, during The Great Depression.

Mt. San Jacinto State Park is on the historic registry under National Registry PRC 5024. So, when repairs are made to the historic sector, they must be made in accordance and compliance with historic preservation rules and guidelines. For instance, if the park repairs the rock wall from the Roosevelt era, it must use the same recipe for masonry that was used at the time it was built. In 2019, the park will hold a spring class that deals with historic masonry.

Hudgens took this reporter on a walking tour of campsite 20 to view a diablo campsite stove and a food storage cabinet the CCC made. Both pieces are still useful to campers today.

Hudgens said we must not forget the Native American tribe that once lived here, the tribe of Cahuilla. He showed me a rock that district archeologist Larrynn Carver says was a grinding stone the Cahuilla women used to crush acorns.

Hudgens said he has a “good career in public safety” and that “this park belongs to the people. We want to keep it pristine, open and as accessible as we can.” The park has more than 50 miles of hiking trails and 14,000 acres in wilderness.

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  1. The San Jacintos have a great mix of state park, county park, federal wilderness, and forest service lands to enjoy.

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