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American Innovation: The New Deal and the Civilian Conservation Corps


Written By: Christine Dantz

March 2016

On March 31, 1933 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Federal Unemployment Relief Act into law. The act, a part of the New Deal, enrolled unmarried, unemployed, healthy young men between the ages of 18 and 23, regardless of race, creed, or political affiliation, with the goal of providing room, board, and a small wage for working in America's natural resource conservation.

During the first five days after the act was signed, 25,000 men from 16 cities signed up to participate. Camp Roosevelt was the first camp to open under the Federal Unemployment Relief Act of 1933 on April 17, 1933 in Alexandria, Virginia.



The New Deal and the Civilian Conservation Corps
(Construction at the Civilian Conservation Corp Camp at Rock Creek, California)


By July 1, 1933 the program has 34,000 participants spread through 172 camps in 35 states. Two months later that number ballooned to 1,468 camps.



The New Deal and the Civilian Conservation Corps
(Civilian Conservation Corp wash room camp at Rock Creek, California)


The camps were run by the U.S. Army and civilian supervisors.



The New Deal and the Civilian Conservation Corps
(Lt. Col. Arnold, Capt. Page, and Lt. Dulligan at the Civilian Conservation Corp camp in Millwood, California)



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Like a military camp, everyone had a job.



The New Deal and the Civilian Conservation Corps
(A Civilian Conservation Corp camp kitchen at Camp 17 in California)


During the summer of 1934, the U.S. Park Service estimated the value of the work completed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in all the State Parks at more than $27 million in just the first two years of its existence. Later the determined the work done had advanced forestry and development in the parks by nearly two decades.



The New Deal and the Civilian Conservation Corps
(Civilian Conservation Corp employee cutting out dead wood at the Sequoia National Park at Camp Wolverton, California)


The New Deal and the Civilian Conservation Corps
(Members from the Third Corps Area working on a Poultry Raising project in Jonesville, Virginia, 1933)



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The New Deal and the Civilian Conservation Corps
(Workers building a road in 1933)


The New Deal and the Civilian Conservation Corps
(Civilian Conservation Corp workers drilling rock on a road at Camp Wolverton, the Sequoia National Park, California)



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The New Deal and the Civilian Conservation Corps
(Worker using a compressor and jack hammer to prepare the area for demolition at the Lassen National Forest in California in the 1930s)


The New Deal and the Civilian Conservation Corps
(Civilian Conservation Corps crew are planting red pine trees in furrows using planting bars for reforestation at the Hiawatha National Forest in Upper Peninsula, Michigan)


The New Deal and the Civilian Conservation Corps
(The Civilian Conservation Corps camps in Michigan (first picture); Barracks built by the army contractors for the program's participants at Camp Newberry in Michigan (Second picture); a white fence placed around the entrance to Camp Au Sale in Grayling, Michigan during the 1930s)


The New Deal and the Civilian Conservation Corps
(The men from the Milford, Utah camp using picks and shovels to build a road in Utah between Milford and Beaver in November, 1936)


Doesn't it make you just want to get out and visit a state park for a picnic, go swimming or hiking, or just take a scenic drive through one of the thousands of roads that wind through North America's vast amount of mountains with spectacular views…just take in the beauty of America's protected lands.

 

~~~~~

Other Articles of Interest:

The Amazingly Long History of Bowling

Vintage Cigarette Ads: Crazy Ads that Encouraged Smoking

The Early Days of Amputation in America

Elizabeth Jennings Graham: The Rosa Parks of 1855

The New Deal and the Civilian Conservation Corps**

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