CCC about to be self-sufficient |

CCC about to be self-sufficient

Susan Wood, Tribune staff writer

Closing in on a yearlong struggle, plans are on tap to drill a well in April at the California Conservation Corps’ Echo Summit facility.

The drilling will start April 10 and take about 10 days, CCC Administrator Gary Ray said Tuesday. After the pipes, tanks and pump are installed, the CCC hopes the well will be up and running by May 1.

The spring on the grounds had all but dried up, forcing the work group to haul in water for the 60 corps members. At one point the facility almost shut down. But extensions were granted by the California Health Department to allow the facility time to get funding from the state.

For more than a year, the corps has paid about $10,000 a month for water to run the facility according to state regulations. The endeavor meant negotiating deep snow on the access road to bring in 2,500 gallons of water about every other day.

That wasn’t the only challenge.

The state is trying to fill in the gaps of a $36 billion shortfall and the CCC staff was concerned its budget allocation would fall to the wayside.

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The two phases to be completed by a Sonora contractor will cost about $178,000.

Ray attributes escaping the budget ax to the verbal diligence of the California Tahoe Conservancy and state parks department.

“They made a lot of noise about needing the Conservation Corps in the basin,” Ray said.

The CCC is seeking more money to move its Echo Summit facility to Meyers. Tahoe Keys Resort co-owner Alex Graf is willing to sell the 18 acres at the corner of South Upper Truckee and the Old Meyers Grade roads to the state or anyone who wants it for $5.5 million. The state has until June 30 to figure out what it will do.

Graf originally planned to develop the site into a conference center — and may still do so if a buyer is not found.

If the CCC moves, the U.S. Forest Service would keep possession of its 5 acres on the summit.

“Until that time, we’re not putting any energy into making any plans,” Forest Service District Resource Officer Cindy Oswald said from her Placerville office.

–Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at