Cow Hollow Park is situated in rural Malheur County, Oregon near the city of Nyssa. The address of the Park is 1030 Janeta Avenue, Nyssa. The Park is 20 acres and includes twenty- one (21) RV sites with electricity, playground equipment, cement restroom facility with bathrooms and showers, tennis court with basketball hoop, baseball/softball fields and a horseshoe pit.
Cow Hollow Park is located just southwest of the National Historic Oregon Trail and is located within ½ mile of the South Alternate Route of the Oregon Trail. Pioneers not wanting to cross the Snake River took the safer South Alternate Route that met up with the Oregon Trail after it crossed the river between Adrian and Nyssa, where the trail meets Cow Hollow. “Cow Hollow” refers to the range of cows that would congregate at that location.
In October 1935, this area became the location of the Civilian Conservation Core Camp (CCC) BR-43. During this Depression Era, when unemployment affected the Nation, hundreds of New Jersey boys and CCC enrollees were housed at CCC Camp BR-43 at Cow Hollow. These Bureau of Reclamation CCC forces were engaged in rehabilitating irrigation systems and carrying out other water-related projects. There were eight barracks, a headquarters and recreation hall, a mess hall and kitchen, an officer’s quarters, a technical service quarters, an infirmary, a bathhouse and laundry, an educational building, two portable garages, a latrine, a bake- shop and various small ancillary buildings. The camp was visited by President Roosevelt in 1936.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, CCC Camp BR-43 was turned over to the Farm Security Administration and the area became known as the Nyssa Japanese-American Interment Camp. The Amalgamated Sugar Company and state officials convinced President Franklin D. Roosevelt to allow an evacuation exception, providing Japanese internees the choice of working in Malheur County in order to solve an acute agricultural labor shortage in Malheur County. In early May 1942, several hundred Japanese families moved to the FSA camp. The Amalgamated Sugar Company, which owned a sugar beet factory in Nyssa, paid their wages and living expenses.
“Movement of evacuees into the sugar beet field started on May 20, 1942, when a small contingent of 15 recruits from the Portland Assembly Center arrived on farm lands controlled by the Amalgamated Sugar Company near Nyssa, Oregon. The movement of evacuees to the beet fields continued during May and June, slacked off slightly in midsummer and then resumed in preparation for the fall harvest. Altogether, approximately 10,000 evacuees left War Relocation Authority centers during 1942 for seasonal work primarily in Idaho, Utah, Montana, Colorado and eastern Oregon. By conservative estimates, the evacuees probably saved enough beets to make nearly 250,000,000 pounds of sugar.” Source: U.S. Department of Interior, War Relocation Authority, Story of Human Conservation pp. 31-32.
Before the war ended, many of the Japanese moved to the farms where the worked.
In May 1963 the North Board of Control Irrigation District requested the Bureau of Reclamation to turn Cow Hollow Park over to it for the purpose of providing for recreation in the area and other purposes. From the 1960s to the 1990s the North Board of Control entered into a formal lease agreement with the Cow Hollow Park and Recreation Association for administration of Cow Hollow Park. At that time, baseball diamonds, a tennis court and undeveloped camp-sites were developed.
In 2004, Cow Hollow Park became the responsibility of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) when the Secretary of Interior revoked the Park’s status as “withdrawn” federal public domain land. The BLM, however, determined the land be unsuitable to return to the public domain. Cow Hollow Park was declared surplus Government property and available for disposal.
In February 2010 the National Park Service, U.S. Department of Interior, donated Cow Hollow Park to Malheur County for public recreational uses through the Federal Lands to Parks Program. Under a contract with Malheur County, the Park is, one again, being managed by the Cow Hollow Park and Recreation Association, a private and non-profit corporation.