CPS Unit Number 036-01

CPS Unit Number 036-01

Camp: 36

Unit ID: 1

Operating agency: BSC

Opened: 6 1942

Closed: 4 1944

CPS Camp No. 36, a Forest Service base camp located near Santa Barbara, California and operated by the Brethren Service Committee, opened in June 1942 and closed in April 1944. The men fought fires and worked in fire prevention activities.
Santa Barbara, California, United States
Location Description:

CPS camp No. 36 was one of the ten Forest Service base camps operated by the Brethren.  Santa Barbara, which opened in June 1942, was the first of two located in California. 

Camp staff:

Director: D. C. Gnagy

The people:

In Brethren camps, the men when entering CPS tended to report a mix of religious affiliations, with about half citing the Brethren denomination. 


Men in Brethren camps also reported on entry into CPS a variety of occupations.  On average, they had completed 12.22 years of education, with nearly forty percent having enrolled in or graduated from college, or enrolled in graduate or postgraduate work. (Sibley and Jacob p. 171-72)

The work:

The men fought fires and performed fire prevention activities.  They learned to maintain and operate portable two-way radio sets, and to repair telephone lines.  They served on fire watch crews.  After the height of fire season, the men also built and maintained forest lookout systems and worked in reforestation of areas burned out by earlier fires.  The camp operated until April 1944 when it was moved to Belden, California as CPS Camp No. 134.

Camp life:

In Brethren camps, men were expected to take initiative in parts of the camp program, and were usually organized into committees based on interests.  In the area of religious life, the Brethren stressed interdenominational understandings in a program called “My Credo”.  Different groups of men shared from their faith experiences. 


Assignees also participated in action and service projects, often in neighboring communities.


Beginning in July 1942, the men published a camp newspaper Manana.  The final issue came out in April 1944.


One of the campers, poet William Stafford, published his CPS memoir Down in My Heart in 1947.


For more information on work and life in Brethren forest service camps see Leslie Eisan, Pathways of Peace: A History of the Civilian Public Service Program Administered by the Brethren Service Committee. Elgin, IL:  Brethren Publishing House, 1948, pp. 74-84, 112-187.


For general information on CPS camps see Albert N. Keim, The CPS Story: An Illustrated History of Civilian Public Service. Intercourse, PA: Good Books 1990. 


For information on peacemaking in CPS camps, see also Mulford Q. Sibley and Philip E. Jacob, Conscription of Conscience: The American State and the Conscientious Objector, 1940-1947. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1952, Chapter IX, pp. 166-199.


See also William E. Stafford, Down in My Heart. Elgin, IL: Brethren Press, 1947.


Swarthmore College Peace Collection, Camp periodicals database.