Friday, March 13, 2015

The Civilian Conservation Corps

At Acadia National Park headquarters off Eagle Lake Road on Mount Desert Island, ME, in front of its visitor center is a small plaque on a rock that states:
CCC memorial-Acadia NP
This plaque was dedicated by Chapter 111 Alumni by former members of the Civilian Conservation Corps in memory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the members, who served at this post and other C.C.C. camps in Maine and throughout the United States between the years of 1933 to 1942. Dedicated September 12, 1992

The CCC was established in 1933 by President Roosevelt to provide jobs to unemployed and poverty-stricken men aged 18 to 25 (later changed to 17 to 28) and to conserve the country's natural resources. Almost immediately some 275,000 young men were put to work in forests, parks and public lands across the United States. They were paid $30 monthly for their five-day workweeks during their six-month tours. Of that, $15 was sent home to their dependents, $7 was put into their CCC savings account, and they were paid $8 in cash. They could re-enroll for a maximum term of two years. Promotions and higher pay were possible. They lived in U.S. Army-run camps supervised by the U.S. Forest and National Park Services. Reveille was at 6:00 am and taps at 10:15 pm Monday through Friday for their work projects. Saturday morning was for work in their camps. Leisure occurred on Saturday afternoons and Sundays, when they could, with permission, go home or visit nearby communities. Voluntary religious services were held on Sunday at the camps, but enrollees could attend them in their local communities.

George B. Dorr, Acadia NP’s superintendent, saw the usefulness of the CCC and succeeded in getting its help. Three camps were established in the Park. One was the Eagle Lake Camp, 154th Company, located in Bar Harbor at the current site of Park headquarters. The second was the Great Pond Camp, 158th Company, located in Southwest Harbor near Long Pond (formerly Great Pond). The third was formed from a CCC camp in nearby Ellsworth and set up on the Schoodic Peninsula north of the U.S. Navy’s radio station (now Acadia NP’s Schoodic Education and Research Center). These camp workers completed hundreds of park projects, including helping to construct roads and bridges, clearing brush and fallen trees and planting new shrubs and trees, as well as building the Blackwoods and Seawall campgrounds. They also constructed and repaired trails, among them the Ladder and Perpendicular Trails and the Ocean Path on Mount Desert Island, and the Anvil and Schoodic Head Trails on the Schoodic Peninsula. The two main camps were among the country’s 100 camps that lasted the nine-year duration of the CCC program. The Schoodic Peninsula camp ran from 1934 to 1937.

The demands of WW II brought an end to the CCC in 1942. Over three million individuals across the country had served in the program.

CCC memorial-Oconee SP
 Recently I came across a CCC memorial in Oconee State Park in western South Carolina.*1 It states:
"The promptness with which you seized the opportunity to engage in honest work, the willingness with which you have performed your daily tasks, and the fine spirit you have shown in winning the respect of the communities in which your camps have been located merit the admiration of the entire country. You, and the men who have guided and supervised your efforts, have cause to be proud." President Franklin D. Roosevelt

This monument is dedicated to the honor and memory of over three million members who served in the Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942. And to the members who built South Carolina's State Park System -- Oconee State Park -- Dedicated September 2001

In fact, the CCC built 16 state parks in South Carolina, Oconee SP among them. Twenty-six miles northeast of this memorial in Table Rock State Park is the CCC-built lodge overlooking Pinnacle Lake at the base of 3,157' Table Rock Mountain.*2 Eight miles north is the CCC-constructed Walhalla trout hatchery.*3 Fourteen miles west of the Oconee SP memorial, in the Chattahoochee National Forest of Georgia, is a CCC fish rearing pool.*4 A sign reads: The Civilian Conservation Corps built the trout rearing facility at this site. The tanks held fish to restock trout in local streams which was accomplished by hauling the fish in backpacks.

Lodge-Table Rock SP
Walhalla hatchery

Fish pool-Chattahoochee NF

Fish pool-Acadia NP
Fish rearing pools were among CCC undertakings in Acadia NP as well.  The remnants of one can be found at the south end of Long Pond on Cold Brook.*5 It is unmarked and about 200 feet south of the Cold Brook Trail. Just outside the Park boundary, it likely was on the site of the former CCC camp in Southwest Harbor.

It is interesting to note there is an identical CCC memorial to the one pictured in Oconee SP on the state capitol grounds in Augusta, Maine. It was dedicated on April 24, 2001. So far, 62 of these CCC memorial worker statues have been dedicated across the country.*6

The CCC was a remarkable program. Its men and achievements merit our remembrance.

1 Oconee SP CCC memorial coordinates: N34° 51' 55.632"  W083° 06' 19.110"
2 CCC-built lodge, Table Rock SP coordinates: N35° 01' 39.839"  W082° 41' 44.340"
3 Walhalla trout hatchery coordinates: N34° 59' 09.827"  W083° 04' 19.036"
4 Fish rearing pool, Chattahoochee NF coordinates: N34° 52' 57.599"  W083° 21' 02.967"
5 Fish rearing pool, Acadia NP coordinates: N44° 17' 56.700"  W068° 21' 02.637"
6 For information about them see