Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Camp Desert Center
(Desert Center Division Camp)
US Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District History (1993)

The Desert Center Division Camp consisted of a total of 34,000 acres, acquired through transfer and permit. On 24 April 1942, the Department of the Interior transferred 16,400 acres by Use Permit to the War Department. The War Department acquired an additional 12,960 acres from the Department of the Interior by Public Land Order (PLO) No.1 dated 20 June 1942. The 4,640 acres in lessor interests were acquired through a permit agreement between the United States and the Southern Pacific Company, dated 11 February 1942.

The Desert Center Division Camp was used by the U.S. Army for maneuver purposes and campsites. The installation included an encampment area with temporary housing structures, an evacuation hospital, and a maneuver area associated with the surrounding Desert Training Center.

The entire site was declared surplus in 1944. The 12,960 acres covered under PLO No. 1 were relinquished back to the Department of the Interior on 16 December 1944, and revoked by PLO No. 342 dated 13 January 1947. The Use Permit for 16,400 acres was relinquished and retransferred to the Department of the Interior in 1949. When this acreage was relinquished, all government improvements had been removed and no additional restoration was considered necessary. Furthermore, the lands were examined and found to be clear of explosives or explosive objects reasonably possible to detect by visual inspection. Permit acreage was due to be returned to the Southern Pacific Company, but that action was suspended on 12 March 1952 pending the completion of dedudding and clearance activities.
On 16 January 1956 the permit for 4,640 acres was terminated. The release document contained the provision that in receipt of the sum of one dollar and other valuable considerations, the Southern Pacific Company remissed, released and forever discharged the United States of America from all manner of actions, liability, and claims against the United States, particularly arising out of the said agreement and the occupation by the United States of the property. Approximately 28,700 acres of the former Desert Center Division Camp are currently under the control of the Bureau of Land Management. Approximately 5,300 acres are under private ownership and devoted to mining and grazing uses. A small portion of the Colorado River Aqueduct passes through the southern portion of the site.
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