Mendocino Woodlands was one of forty-six campgrounds (including Camp David) created by the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Its rustic wood-and-stone buildings, built by the WPA are surrounded by second-growthredwood forest. Like the other campgrounds, Mendocino Woodlands was originally planned as a site for youth summer camps in which the participants would be introduced to the wonders of nature. However, Mendocino Woodlands is the only one of the campgrounds that has been continuously used for public camping.
As originally formed, the campsite occupied a property of 5,425 acres (22 km2). However, when the campsite was conveyed to the California State Park system by Senate Bill 1063 in 1976, the size of the property was reduced to approximately 700 acres (2.8 km2), with the remaining area left in the control of the California Department of Forestry. In 1997, the Mendocino Woodlands Recreation Demonstration Area was designated as a National Historic Landmark.