John M Nelson Conservancy
John M Nelson Conservancy

April 2024

A vintage bell has been acquired by the Conservancy and will be installed at the Conservancy Yard. Here is the story of how the bell came to Camp Nelson and eventually to the Conservancy.
This story of the bell is written by Glenn Bayless.
“The bell was purchased by Jay and Mary Ellen Bayless in the late ‘70s. I believe it was found in an antique mall in or near Independence MO. His original plan was to find the necessary parts and pieces and install it at our off grid cabin and 40 acres on Redwood Mountain. The property didn’t remain in the Bayless family and Jay and Mary Ellen purchased their vacation home in Camp Nelson.
The same intent to equip and install the bell at their Camp Nelson home was never achieved because of the missing mounting hardware. This was well before the convenience of internet searches to locate the missing pieces. The bell was stored in their basement until it was donated to the J M Nelson Conservancy in March of 2021 by Glenn and Krista Bayless. Thank you Dan and Brenda for your research and locating the missing parts. The Bayless family is very grateful that the mountain
community can enjoy its completion. We’re excited to hear its ring echoing through the community.” The history of bells started with advancements in metallurgy in ancient China. In more modern times, a formula of melted bronze, copper and tin is referred to as “bell metal”. These
metals are cast into the bell shapes and produce a bright ring tone when the clapper strikes the skirt of the bell. Bells have been used for making alerts, signals, music, announcing time of day, etc.
Some typical uses are church bells, school bells, city/town bells, ship bells, factory bells, farm bells, and other. Our bell is 15” in diameter and most likely categorized as a farm/ranch bell that was used to “call” workers back from the fields when supper is ready.
The first community event this year will be the All-Mountain Community Spring Picnic on Saturday May 18 th , 12noon to 3pm at the Conservancy/Museum Yard, 388 Smith Drive. Bring your
food and drink; tables & chairs will be provided. Also in May is the Camp Nelson Volunteer Fire Department Annual Pancake Breakfast. Sunday May 26 th at the fire station, 1500 Nelson Drive.
Exciting improvements, expansion and projects are planned for 2024 at the conservancy yard and meadow. We have already started preparing our new parcel of land adjoining the conservancy yard by moving fences and a storage shed, as well as bringing fill dirt to level-out the new lot. The
Conservancy will expand the grass lawn and infrastructure behind the Conservancy Museum and a couple of structures (including public bathrooms) are in the planning stages.
The Meadow Trail begins at the gate by Nelson Drive and Smith Drive. Go inside the gate and follow the signs around the meadow for a half mile stroll. There is a bench at the high side of the trail for your comfort.
The JMNC Live Streaming Webcams with views of the meadow and conservancy yard can be accessed on the Conservancy website.
We invite you to check the current weather conditions in real time by using the Weather Underground app on your smart phone or go to on your computer. Our station’s designation is “KCACAMPN10”.
The Camp Nelson RV Park is open. If you have friends or relatives that enjoy RVing/camping, invite them to make their reservations for the upcoming months. Call 559.542.2471 for information.
The USFS Belknap and Coy Flat campgrounds are still closed, but anticipate their opening by Memorial Day weekend.
It has been a slow time for the community businesses due to road closures. When cabin and property owners are on the mountain, we encourage you to visit the local businesses. Thank you.
Visit our website to volunteer, make a donation, read the monthly Conservancy Article, buy a memorial brick, or purchase a copy of “The Tule River Middle Fork and its People” written by Malcolm Sillars. Read about the Tule River communities on the middle fork and see for yourself the history of

this wonderful mountain home for many people. Here is an excerpt from Chapter Eight of the book for your enjoyment:
Chapter Eight; Nellie Marshall, Les Bailey and Cedar Slope.
“Although Paul Gordeuk did the actual work, Bailey made the decisions on the cabins he built.  His construction methods were suspect with floor joists laid on decomposed granite at one corner and a cedar stump at the other. Septic tanks were fifty-gallon gasoline drums or two lengths of cement pipe. There were few regulations for summer cabins then except for electricity and even
those were limited. In the early cabins junction boxes were unheard of, for instance. The galvanized plumbing was usually hung on the outside of the cabin with many unions for easy repair. These cabins were intended for summer use only set in a wilderness environment. They were not expected
to last long or be used in the winter (the water system was disconnected for the winter). That has all changed; all those cabins have gone through significant remodeling. Interestingly, only the Zumwalt
cabin suffered major damage in the winter of 1968-69. All the other cabins survived very well, which can’t be said of a number of cabins in the Tule River watershed that were not “Bailey Built.” Many
more cabins have been built in Cedar Slope that are well done mountain homes though not as large or elaborate as are some in other mountain communities.” Page 117.
As members of the conservancy, our common interests include the Meadow, Conservancy Yard, buildings and RV Park. It takes the dedication of volunteers who serve willingly to insure that we preserve and maintain these areas for the enjoyment and use of the community and visitors.
Thank you to everyone that continuously serves. If you are interested in helping, contact any JMNC Board Member.
Such purposes for why our corporation was organized are to acquire, preserve and maintain for public enjoyment those natural and historic features of the Upper Tule Region of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We work closely with the Communities of the Giant Sequoias, the Volunteer Fire
Department, Camp Nelson Ambulance Association, Camp Nelson Women’s Club, Camp Nelson Chapel and the local businesses to promote the communities. Please support your Conservancy and Museum. Donations from community members are one of our sources of funds. The John M. Nelson
Conservancy is a California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation and your donations are tax deductible. We want to express our sincere thanks to all those who have donated to the
Conservancy and thank you for your continued support. You may send your contribution to 801 Highway 190, Box 110, Springville, CA 93265 or log-on to the JMNC website. Thank you.
For more current information and events, you can follow us on Facebook at
We invite you to attend our monthly Board meetings on the second Saturday of each month at 8:00AM in the Conservancy building; 388 Smith Drive, Camp Nelson. The next meeting will be April 13.
Check-out the web page at;
Mailing Address is; 801 Hwy 190, Box 110, Springville, CA 93265
Respectfully Submitted, (April 2024)
Dan McFadzean, Director; JMNC
Email; phone.661.978.4679

The Board meets on the second Saturday of the month, 8 a.m., in the Conservancy Museum. Requests and payments should be received before the next meeting for consideration.

For more information, please call us at +1 559 542-2822 or fill out our contact form.


John M Nelson Conservancy

801 Highway 190

Box 110

Springville, CA 93265

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