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Research Library at The Museum of Ventura County
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Canvas: Camping in the Backcountry

Signs in the backcountry indicate the increase in people camping

Keene cooking food at a campfire

The years between 1880 and 1930 are described by some as the Golden Age of Camping. Naturalist John Muir and President Theodore Roosevelt helped to popularize camping during this time, making it mainstream.

Peter Fish, Editor-at-Large for 
Sunset magazine, says they encouraged Americans “to get out into the wilderness for the preservation of their sanity and their souls.”

With the increase in population, and the advent of the car, more people were entering the backcountry in Ventura County. And while camping was rustic, there were still many comforts close to what today's car campers enjoy. Makeshift kitchens were erected with wooden tables and cast iron skillets, as well as shade tents.  

Canvas: Camping in the Backcountry