MORRISON, Colo. (CBS)– Looking for something unique to do this summer? Why not roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty at Red Rocks!

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Volunteers are needed to help preserve a special and important piece of history – the Civilian Conservation Corps camp located below the iconic amphitheater. The Red Rocks CCC camp was built in the 1930s during the Great Depression in an effort to create work and jobs training for young men.

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“There were approximately 4,500 [CCC camps] throughout the entire country. There were about 100 of them in Colorado,” Shannon Dennison, Cultural Resources and Outreach & Education Administrator for Denver Mountain Parks, explained. “Men worked on everything from trail construction to forestry work, to building roads and bridges. This camp here was responsible for building Red Rocks Amphitheater, which is one of the reasons why it’s really special.”

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Another reason, Dennison said, is that the CCC camp in Morrison is one of the last two standing CCC camps in the entire country. The buildings at the camp, now owned by the city and county of Denver, have been mostly empty for decades. Now, with the help of bond money, Denver Mountain Parks is working to restore and preserve the historic landmark.

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“We’re going building by building doing adaptive reuse,” Dennison told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “We are working on a larger vision for the entire camp and hopefully make it accessible to the people of Denver.”

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Yet, to bring the decades-old camp back to life will take a lot of work. Park staff have rehabbed some things, but adult volunteers are needed to help fix and restore busted windows on 14 buildings.

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“The windows are in really bad shape,” Dennison said. “It’s a really big task. Each of these buildings has 28 windows. We really need volunteers to help us put in new glazing putty, set the panes, oil and paint the windows. It’s a lot of hands-on work and it takes a lot of effort and a lot of time, so volunteers are critical.”

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This project will likely take months, according to Dennison, so volunteers are asked to sign up for the shifts every other Saturday starting next month, possibly through the fall.

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“We’re also looking for skilled carpenters,” Dennison added.

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It’s a special opportunity for volunteers to get a rare look into a rare site, too.

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“One of the great things about being able to volunteer here is that this site is typically closed to the public,” Dennison said. “It’s been closed since the 1940s.”

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On top of that, volunteers will lend a helping hand to conserving Colorado history.

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“The CCC was all about bringing people from the community to a place to work together and that’s what we’re trying to recreate here,” explained Dennison. “Giving people an opportunity to come to Red Rocks, give back, be involved and making sure it’s here for the long run.”

LINK: Red Rocks CCC Camp

Kelly Werthmann

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