The Former Camp San Luis Obispo is located five miles northwest of the city of San Luis Obispo, California. In 1928, the California National Guard established the Camp San Luis Obispo on 5,800 acres and it was originally named Camp Merriam. During World War II, the Department of Defense expanded the camp to 14,959.16 acres. Infantry, small arms, artillery, mortar, rocket and grenade training were conducted on 27 ranges and at 13 training areas at the camp from 1943 to 1946.
After World War II, a portion of land was returned to former private owners. As the government was preparing to relinquish the remaining land, the Korean conflict began and the camp was reactivated from 1951 to 1953 for signal corps training. During that time, training with pistols, rifles, grenades and rockets was conducted at the camp. Following the Korean War, the camp became inactive until 1965 when the Army relinquished the camp. The California National Guard retained the original 5,800 acres while the remaining property was transferred to private entities and California Polytechnic University and Cuesta College for educational purposes.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began investigating the former camp in 1986 through the Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) Program. Since that time two Time-Critical Removal Actions to identify and remove munitions have been performed within portions of the former camp to reduce an immediate threat posed by munitions and explosives of concern to people who use the area.
The Army Corps of Engineers has divided the Former Camp San Luis Obispo property into nine project areas for investigation purposes.