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Civilian Conservation Corps

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families as part of the New Deal. Originally for young men ages 18–23, it was eventually expanded to young men ages 17–28.[1] Robert Fechner was the head of the agency. It was a major part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal that provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state and local governments. The CCC was designed to provide jobs for young men, to relieve families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression in the United States while at the same time implementing a general natural resource conservation program in every state and territory. Maximum enrollment at any one time was 300,000; in nine years 3 million young men participated in the CCC, which provided them with shelter, clothing, and food, together with a small wage of $30 a month ($25 of which had to be sent home to their families).[2]

The American public made the CCC the most popular of all the New Deal programs.[3] Principal benefits of an individual's enrollment in the CCC included improved physical condition, heightened morale, and increased employability.[4] Implicitly, the CCC also led to a greater public awareness and appreciation of the outdoors and the nation's natural resources; and the continued need for a carefully planned, comprehensive national program for the protection and development of natural resources.[5]

During the time of the CCC, volunteers planted nearly 3 billion trees to help reforest America, constructed more than 800 parks nationwide and upgraded most state parks, updated forest fire fighting methods, and built a network of service buildings and public roadways in remote areas.[6]

CCC workers constructing a road, 1933.
CCC camps in Michigan; the tents were soon replaced by barracks built by Army contractors for the enrollees.[7]

The CCC operated separate programs for veterans and Native Americans.

Despite its popular support, the CCC was never a permanent agency. It depended on emergency and temporary Congressional legislation for its existence. By 1942, with World War II and the draft in operation, need for work relief declined and Congress voted to close the program.[8]


  • Founding 1
  • US Army 2
  • Early Years, 1933–1934 3
    • Enrollees 3.1
    • Camps 3.2
    • Work classifications 3.3
    • Minorities 3.4
    • Indian Division 3.5
    • Program Expansion, 1935–1936 3.6
    • Change of Purpose, 1937–1938 3.7
    • Conservation to Defense, 1939–1940 3.8
    • Decline and Disbandment 1941–1942 3.9
  • Legacy and memory 4
    • Civilian Conservation Corps Museums 4.1
    • CCC notable alumni 4.2
    • Legacy 4.3
  • Media Reception 5
  • The CCC model 6
    • Student Conservation Association 6.1
    • California Conservation Corps 6.2
    • Texas Conservation Corps 6.3
    • Montana Conservation Corps 6.4
    • Washington Conservation Corps 6.5
    • Minnesota Conservation Corps 6.6
    • Vermont Youth Conservation Corps 6.7
    • Southwest Conservation Corps 6.8
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
    • Indian Division 9.1
    • Primary sources 9.2
  • External links 10
    • Civilian Conservation Corps by state 10.1
    • Individual camps 10.2
    • Images 10.3
    • Movies 10.4


As governor of New York, Roosevelt had run a similar program on a much smaller scale. Long interested in conservation,[9] as president, he proposed to Congress a full-scale national program on 21 March 1933:[10]

I propose to create [the CCC] to be used in complex work, not interfering with abnormal employment, and confining itself to forestry, the prevention of soil erosion, flood control and similar projects. I call your attention to the fact that this type of work is of definite, practical value, not only through the prevention of great present financial loss, but also as a means of creating future national wealth.

He promised this law would provide over 9000 young men with meals, housing, uniforms, and medical care for working in the national forests and other government properties. The Emergency Conservation Work (ECW) Act was introduced to Congress the same day and enacted by voice vote on 31 March. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 6101 on 5 April 1933 which established the CCC organization and appointed a director, Office of Education and Veterans Administration participated in the program. To end the opposition from labor unions (which wanted no training programs started when so many of their men were unemployed)[11] Roosevelt chose Robert Fechner, vice president of the American Machinists Union, as director of the corps. William Green, head of the American Federation of Labor, was taken to the first camp to demonstrate that there would be no job training involved beyond simple manual labor.[12]

US Army

Reserve officers from the U.S. Army were in charge of the camps, but there was no military training. General

  • YouTube Video: "The Great Depression, Displaced Mountaineers in Shenandoah National Park, and the Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.)"
  • Film, The March of Time: Youth Jobs Program (CCC) During Great Depression
  • Film: President Visits Foresters (CCC), Roosevelt 1933/08/14
  • NARA film: Recreation Resources, 1935 West Virginia
  • NARA film: A Nation-Wide System of Parks 1939
  • NARA film: Alabama Highlands 1937 Alabama State Parks
  • NARA film: Down Mobile Way, 1935 Alabama State Parks
  • NARA film: The Cradle of the Father of Waters, 1938 Minnesota State Parks, Lake Itasca State Park
  • NARA film: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 1936
  • NARA film: Land of the Giants, 1935 California
  • Film: American Experience: The Civilian Conservation Corps PBS's American Experience 2009 Production Year
  • Movie: The East Side Kids (Pride of the Bowery) Leo Gorcey - Bobby Jordan, 1941.


  • Images of the Civilian Conservation Corps on the Oregon State University Archives Flickr Commons page.
  • CNY Heritage Digital Library, featuring images of Civilian Conservation Corps members constructing Green Lakes State Park in Central New York (1929–1948).


  • Henderson, James D. "Lost in the Woods–The Legacy of CCC Camp Pelican" (2009).
  • Siuslaw National Forest; History Department; Portland State University. "Camp 56: An Oral History Project: World War II Conscientious Objectors and the Waldport, Oregon Civilian Public Service Camp". Center for Columbia River History. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 

Individual camps

  • CCC History in Massachusetts
  • Rosentreter, Roger L. "Roosevelt's Tree Army: Michigan's Civilian Conservation Corps", with photographs
  • Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, "Civilian Conservation Corps"
  • A New Deal for Texas Parks - interactive web album of CCC activities in Texas
  • CCC camps map, guide to projects in Washington State, with rare photographs. Great Depression in Washington State Project

Civilian Conservation Corps by state

  • Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Legacy A merged non-profit foundation of the former National Association of CCC Alumni (NACCCA) and the Camp Roosevelt CCC Legacy Foundation
  • National Archives & Records Administration: Records of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)
  • The Corps Network (formerly known as NASCC)
  •, grassroots non-profit to reestablish the USCCC, based in St Petersburg, FL
  • Bandelier National Monument Virtual Museum Exhibit and Lesson Plans, from National Park Service
  • Life in the Civilian Conservation Corps Primary Source Adventure, a lesson plan hosted by CCC in Texas
  • Top 10 New Deal Programs
  • James F Justin Civilian Conservation Corps Museum, Online CCC Biographies Stories Photographs and Documents

External links

  • CCC, "The Civilian Conservation Corps, What It Is and What It Does" (June 1940)

Primary sources

  • Gower, Calvin W. "The CCC Indian Division: Aid for Depressed Americans, 1933–1942," Minnesota History 43 (Spring 1972) 7-12
  • Parman, Donald L. The Navajos and the New Deal (1969)
  • Parman, Donald L. "The Indian and the CCC," Pacific Historical Review 40 (February 1971): p. 54ff.

Indian Division

  • Patel, Kiran Klaus. Soldiers of Labor. Labor Service in Nazi Germany and New Deal America, 1933–1945, (2005), ISBN 0-521-83416-3. online review
  • Salmond John A. The Civilian Conservation Corps 1933–1942: a New Deal case study. (1967), the scholarly history of the entire CCC complete text online
  • Salmond, John A. "The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Negro," The Journal of American History, Vol. 52, No. 1. (Jun., 1965), pp. 75–88. in JSTOR
  • Sherraden, Michael W. "Military Participation in a Youth Employment Program: The Civilian Conservation Corps," Armed Forces and Society, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 227–245, April 1981, pp. 227–245; ISSN 0095-327X available online from SAGE Publications
  • Sommer, Barbara W. Hard Work and a Good Deal: The Civilian Conservation Corps in Minnesota (2008).
  • Sommer, Barbara W. "' We Had This Opportunity': African Americans and the Civilian Conservation Corps in Minnesota" in The State We're In: Reflections on Minnesota History, Annette Atkins and Deborah L. Millers, eds. (2010) pp 134–157.
  • Steely, James W. "Parks for Texas: Enduring Landscapes of the New Deal" (1999), detailing the interaction of local, state and federal agencies in organizing and guiding CCC work.
  • Waller, Robert A. "The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Emergence of South Carolina's State Park System, 1933–1942*South Carolina Historical Magazine Volume: 104#2 2003, p. 101ff.
  • Wilson, James; "Community, Civility, and Citizenship: Theatre and Indoctrination in the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s" Theatre History Studies, Vol. 23, 2003, pp. 77–92
  • Ryan Winkle 4/25 BSTB Headquarters{STP-21-1-SMCT: Maneuver Support Center Directorate of Training-ATTN: ATZT-TDD-E 320 MANSCEN Loop, Suite 270,Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri 65473-8929:Joint-Engineer-Operations:Field-Manual:5-34]]-Environmental Consideration.

Press, 2008) 242 pp, with cd of oral interviews

  • American Youth Commission. Youth and the Future: The General Report of the American Youth Commission (1942)
  • Bass, Melissa. The Politics and Civics of National Service: Lessons from the Civilian Conservation Corps, Vista, and AmeriCorps (Brookings Institution Press, 2013)
  • Brandimarte, Cynthia, and Angela Reed Brown. Texas State Parks and the CCC: The Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps (2013)
  • Clancy, Patrick. "Conserving the Youth: the Civilian Conservation Corps Experience in the Shenandoah National Park" The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography Volume: 105. Issue: 4. 1997. p. 439ff. online
  • Colen, Olen Jr. The African-American Experience in the Civilian Conservation Corps (1999)
  • Heller, Charles E. "The US Army, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and Leadership for World War II, 1933—1942." Armed Forces & Society (2010) 36#3 pp: 439-453.
  • Helms, Douglas. "The Civilian Conservation Corps: Demonstrating the Value of Soil Conservation," Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 40 (March–April 1985): 184-188 online
  • Hendrickson Jr.; Kenneth E. "Replenishing the Soil and the Soul of Texas: The Civilian Conservation Corps in the Lone Star State as an Example of State-Federal Work Relief during the Great Depression" The Historian, Vol. 65, 2003
  • Hill, Edwin G. In the Shadow of the Mountain: The Spirit of the CCC. (1990). ISBN 978-0-87422-073-5
  • Holland, Kenneth, and Frank Ernest Hill. Youth in the CCC (1938) detailed description of all major activities
  • Jolley, Harley E. "That Magnificent Army of Youth and Peace": The Civilian Conservation Corps in North Carolina, 1933-1942 ((Raleigh: Office of Archives and History, 2007) 167pp.
  • Leighninger, Robert D., Jr. Long-Range Public Investment: The Forgotten Legacy of the New Deal (2007), providing a context for American public works programs, and detailing major agencies of the New Deal: CCC, PWA, CWA, WPA, and TVA.
  • Maher, Neil M. Nature's New Deal: The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Roots of the American Environmental Movement (2008). excerpt and text search
  • Mielnik, Tara Mitchell. New Deal, New Landscape: The Civilian Conservation Corps and South Carolina's State Parks (University of South Carolina Press; 2011) 201 pages; CCC built 16 state parks in SC between 1933 and 1942.
  • Otis, Alison T., William D. Honey, Thomas C. Hogg, and Kimberly K. Lakin The Forest Service and The Civilian Conservation Corps: 1933–42 (United States Forest Service FS-395, August 1986) online
  • Paige, John C. The Civilian Conservation Corps and the National Park Service, 1933–1942: An Administrative History. (National Park Service, 1985) OCLC 12072830 online
  • Pasquill, Jr., Robert. The Civilian Conservation Corps in Alabama, 1933-1942: A Great and Lasting Good (University of Alabama

Further reading

  1. ^ PBS Timeline of CCC
  2. ^ John A. Salmond, The Civilian Conservation Corps 1933–1942: a New Deal case study (1967)
  3. ^ Perry H. Merrill, Roosevelt's Forest Army, A History of the Civilian Conservation Corps (1981) p. 196
  4. ^ Feb. 6, 1939 onlineTime"Conservation: Poor Young Men,
  5. ^ Robert Allen Ermentrout, "Forgotten Men: The Civilian Conservation Corps," (1982) p. 99
  6. ^ CCC Legacy Web site 13 July, 2014
  7. ^ Rosentreter, Roger L. "Roosevelt's Tree Army". Michigan History Magazine. Retrieved May–June 1986. 
  8. ^ Wirth, pp. 105, 142-144
  9. ^ John A. Salmond, The Civilian Conservation Corps 1933–1942: a New Deal case study. (1967), ch. 1 online edition
  10. ^ "Message to Congress on Unemployment Relief. March 21," The Presidential Papers of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933 (1938)
  11. ^ Neil M. Maher, Nature's New Deal: The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Roots of the American Environmental Movement (2009), p. 79
  12. ^ On the formation see Frank Freidel, Franklin D. Roosevelt: Launching the New Deal (1973), pp. 255-266
  13. ^ Darby, Jean Douglas. MacArthur, Twenty-First Century Books, 1989, p. 47
  14. ^ Imparato, Edward T., editor Effect of the Civilian Conservation Corps Project upon Army Activity and Readiness for Emergency General MacArthur Speeches and Reports 1908–1964 Turner Publishing Company, 2000, p. 58
  15. ^ Charles E. Heller, "The U.S. Army, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and Leadership for World War II, 1933-1942," Armed Forces & Society (2010) 36#3 pp 439-453 online
  16. ^ [3]
  17. ^ "Timeline. Surviving the Dust Bowl. American Experience . WGBH - PBS". Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  18. ^ Ermentrout, p. 15
  19. ^ a b c  
  20. ^ Wirth, Conrad L. (1980). Parks, Politics and the People. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 94–99.  
  21. ^ a b Ermentrout, Robert Allen (1982). Forgotten Men: The Civilian Conservation Corps. Smithtown, NY: Exposition Press. p. 17.  
  22. ^ "Your CCC, A Handbook for Enrollees" Happy Days Pub. Co., Inc. (1940) pp. 8–13
  23. ^ Ermentrout, pp. 16, 76-77
  24. ^ "United States Army Civilian Conservation Corps. Company 114th," Francis P. Waversak, Stone Walls, Spring 1990 p. 23
  25. ^ Merrill, Perry H. (1981) Roosevelt's Forest Army, A History of the Civilian Conservation Corps, p. 9
  26. ^ "Your CCC, A Handbook for Enrollees", Happy Days Pub. Co., Inc. (1940) p. 9
  27. ^ Gower, Calvin W. (1976). "The Struggle of Blacks for Leadership Positions in the Civilian Conservation Corps: 1933–1942". Journal of Negro History 61 (2): 123–135.  
  28. ^ Gower, Calvin W. (1972). "The CCC Indian Division: Aid for Depressed Americans, 1933–1942". Minnesota History 43 (1): 3–13. 
  29. ^ Bromert, Roger (1978). "The Sioux and the Indian-CCC". South Dakota History 8 (4): 340–356. 
  30. ^ Hanneman, Carolyn G. (1999). "Baffles, Bridges, and Bermuda: Oklahoma Indians and the Civilian Conservation Corps-Indian Division". Chronicles of Oklahoma 77 (4): 428–449. 
  31. ^ Roosevelt message to Congress, 21 March 1933
  32. ^ Ermentrout, p. 33
  33. ^ Public Opinion, 1935–1946 ed. by Hadley Cantril and Mildred Strunk 1951. p. 111
  34. ^ Civilian Conservation Corps, "Standards of Eligibility and Selection for Junior Enrollees," United States Dept. of Labor, Office of the Secretary, 1 August 1938
  35. ^ Ermentrout, pp. 48–49, 51
  36. ^ Ermentrout, pp. 55, 62, 64
  37. ^ Wirth, Conrad L., Civilian Conservation Corps Program of the US Dept. of the Interior, March 1933 to 30 June 1942, a Report to Harold L. Ickes, January 1944
  38. ^ "Civilian Conservation Corps," Densho Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  39. ^ "CCC Statues." National New Deal Preservation Association. Retrieved on August 22, 2009
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^ Another Author: Book Review: HITCH - Making Good In Hard Times. (2012-02-19). Retrieved on 2013-08-12.
  45. ^ The American Experience
  46. ^


See also

SCC hires young adults ages 14 to 25 and organizes them into crews emphasizing the completion of conservation projects on public lands. Corp members work, learn and commonly camp in teams of six under the supervision of two professional crew leaders.

The Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC) is a non-profit employment, job training, and education organization with locations in Durango and Salida, Colorado, and Tucson, Arizona.[46] SCC formed as a merger of the Southwest Youth Corps and the Youth Corps of Southern Arizona.

Southwest Conservation Corps

The Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) is a non-profit, youth service and education organization that hires Corps Members, aged 16–24, to work on high-priority conservation projects in Vermont. Through these work projects, Corps Members develop a strong work ethic, strengthen their leadership skills, and learn how to take personal responsibility for their actions. VYCC Crews work at VT State Parks, U.S. Forest Service Campgrounds, in local communities, and throughout the state's back country.

Vermont Youth Conservation Corps

Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa provides environmental stewardship and service-learning opportunities to youth and young adults while accomplishing conservation, natural resource management projects and emergency response work through its Young Adult Program and the Summer Youth Program. These programs emphasize the development of job and life skills by conservation and community service work.

Minnesota Conservation Corps

The Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) is a sub-agency of the Washington State Department of Ecology. It employs men and women 18 to 25 years old in a program to protect and enhance Washington's natural resources. WCC is a part of the AmeriCorps program.

Washington Conservation Corps

The Idaho, Wyoming, and North and South Dakota. All regions also offer MontanaYES (Youth Engaged in Service) summer programs for teenagers who are 14 to 16 years old.

Montana Conservation Corps

Established in 1995, Environmental Corps, now Texas Conservation Corps (TxCC), is an American YouthWorks program which allows youth, ages 17 to 28, to contribute to the restoration and preservation of parks and public lands in Texas. The only conservation corps in Texas, TxcC is a 501(c)3 non profit corporation based in Austin, Texas, which serves the entire state. Their work ranges from disaster relief to trail building to habitat restoration. TxCC has done projects in national, state, and city parks.

Texas Conservation Corps

In 1976, Governor of California Jerry Brown established the California Conservation Corps. This new program had many similar characteristics - residential centers, high expectations for participation, emphasis on hard work on public lands. Young adults from different backgrounds were recruited for a term of one-year. Corps members attended a training session call the Corpsmember Orientation Motivation Education and Training (COMET) program before being assigned to one of the various centers. Life at CCC centers is rigorous, starting with early morning exercises, breakfast, roll call and a full day's work. After hours include education, life skills workshops, community meetings, volunteerism. Project work is also similar to the original CCC of the 1930s - work on public forests, state and federal parks.

California Conservation Corps

The CCC program became a model for the creation of team-based national service youth conservation programs such as the stewardship of the environment and communities by engaging high school and college-age volunteers in hands-on service to the land. SCA program is active nation-wide in the USA, including national and state parks, forests, wildlife refuges, seashores and historic sites. SCA National Headquarters is located in Charlestown, New Hampshire with regional offices across the country.

Student Conservation Association

Another similar program is the National Civilian Community Corps, part of the AmeriCorps program, a team-based national service program in which 18- to 24-year-olds spend 10 months working for non-profit and government organizations.

The CCC program was never officially terminated. Congress provided funding for closing the remaining camps in 1942 with the equipment being reallocated.[45] It became a model for conservation programs that were implemented in the period after World War II. Present-day corps are national, state and local programs that engage primarily youth and young adults (ages 16–25) in community service, training and educational activities. The nation's approximate 113 corps programs operate in 41 states and the District of Columbia. During 2004, they enrolled more than 23,000 young people. The Corps Network, known originally as the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps (NASCC), works to expand and enhance corps-type programs throughout the country. The Corps Network began in 1985, when the nation's first 24 Corps directors banded together to secure an advocate at the federal level and a repository of information on how best to start and manage a corps. Early financial assistance from the Ford, Hewlett and Mott Foundations was critical to establishing the association.

The CCC model

Hitch - Making Good In Hard Times by Jeanette Ingold is a novel about how a teenager learns life lessons, skills for work and develops a character for himself[44] in CCC camp.

Pride of Bowery,[42] the fourth movie in the East Kid Series is a movie about friendship, trouble and boxing[43] at a Conservation Corps Camp.

The American Experience[40] being a series showcasing documentaries on American history well portrayed the Life in Civilian Conservation Corps in Episode 1, Season 22.[41]

Media Reception

In several cities where CCC workers worked, statues were erected to commemorate their presence.[39]

Statue of CCC worker in Santa Fe, New Mexico


CCC notable alumni

Civilian Conservation Corps Museums

Legacy and memory

A CCC pillowcase on display at the CCC Museum in Michigan

Some former CCC sites in good condition were reactivated from 1941 to 1947 as Civilian Public Service camps where conscientious objectors performed "work of national importance" as an alternative to military service. Other camps were used to hold Japanese, German and Italian Americans interned under the Western Defense Command's Enemy Alien Control Program, as well as Axis prisoners of war.[38] After the CCC disbanded, the federal agencies responsible for administration of public lands organized their own seasonal fire crews, modeled after the CCC, which performed a firefighting function formerly done by the CCC and provided the same sort of outdoor work experience for young people. Approximately 47 young men died while in this line of duty.

Although the CCC was probably the most popular New Deal program, it never became a permanent agency. The program had been reduced in operations as the Depression waned and employment opportunities improved. Fewer eligible young men were available after conscription commenced in 1940. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 all federal programs were revised to emphasize the war effort. Most CCC work, except for wildland firefighting, was shifted onto U.S. military bases to help with construction. The CCC disbanded one year earlier than planned, as the 77th United States Congress ceased funding, causing it to conclude operations formally at the end of the federal fiscal year on 30 June 1942. The end of the CCC program and closing of the camps involved arrangements to leave the incomplete work projects in the best possible state, the separation of about 1,800 appointed employees, the transfer of CCC property to the War and Navy Departments and other agencies, and the preparation of final accountability records. Liquidation of the CCC was ordered by Congress by the Labor-Federal Security Appropriation Act (56 Stat. 569) on 2 July 1942; and virtually completed on 30 June 1943.[37] Liquidation appropriations for the CCC continued through 20 April 1948.

Decline and Disbandment 1941–1942

In 1939 Congress ended the independent status of the CCC and transferred control to the Federal Security Agency, along with other agencies such as the National Youth Administration, U.S. Employment Service, the Office of Education and the Works Progress Administration. About 5,000 Reserve officers for the camps were affected, transferred to Civil Service and military ranks and titles were eliminated. Despite this loss of an obvious military leadership in the camps by July 1940, with war in Europe and Asia, an increasing number of CCC projects focused on resources for national defense, developing infrastructure for military training facilities and forest protection. By 1940 the CCC was no longer wholly a relief agency, rapidly losing its non-military character, and becoming a system for work-training as its ranks had become increasingly younger, with life-inexperienced enrollees.[36]

Conservation to Defense, 1939–1940

On 28 June 1937 the Civilian Conservation Corps was legally established, transferred from its original designation as the Emergency Conservation Work program. Funding was also extended for three more years by Public Law No. 163, 75th Congress, effective 1 July 1937. Congress changed the age limits to 17–23 years old, and changed the requirement that enrollees be on relief to "not regularly in attendance at school, or possessing full time employment".[34] The 1937 law mandated the inclusion of vocational and academic training for a minimum of 10 hours per week. Another change allowed for those in school to be enrolled during (summer) vacation.[35] During this period, the CCC was called in to help with disaster relief following 1937 floods in New York, Vermont and the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys, and response and clean-up after the 1938 hurricane in New England.

Change of Purpose, 1937–1938

Responding to favorable public opinion to alleviate unemployment, Congress approved the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935, on 8 April 1935, which included continued funding for the CCC program through 31 March 1937. The age limit was also expanded to 18-28 to include more men.[19][31] From 1 April 1935 to 31 March 1936 was the period of greatest activity and work accomplished by the CCC program. Enrollment had peaked at 505,782 in about 2,900 camps by 31 August 1935, followed by a reduction to 350,000 enrollees in 2,019 camps by 30 June 1936.[32] During this period the public response to the CCC program was overwhelmingly popular. A Gallup poll of 18 April 1936 asked "Are you in favor of the CCC camps?"; 82% of respondents said yes, including 92% of Democrats and 67% of Republicans.[33]

Program Expansion, 1935–1936

IECW differed from other CCC activities in that it explicitly trained men to be carpenters, truck drivers, radio operators, mechanics, surveyors, and technicians. With the passage of the National Defense Vocational Training Act of 1941, enrollees began participating in defense oriented training. The classes were paid for by the government and after course completion and a passed competency test, automatic employment in the defense work was guaranteed. A total of 85,000 Native Americans were enrolled. This proved valuable human capital for the 24,000 alumni who later served in the military and the 40,000 who left the reservations for city jobs supporting the war effort. [30] and Daniel Murphy, the director of the CCC-ID, both centered the basic goals of the program around Indian self-rule and the restoration of tribal lands, governments, and cultures. In Collier's words, "no previous undertaking in Indian Service has so largely been the Indians' own undertaking". Education programs also trained participants in gardening, stock raising, safety, native arts, and some academic subjects.Commissioner of Indian Affairs the federal John Collier (PWA), the Indian Division built schools and operated an extensive road-building program in and around many reservations. The mission was to reduce erosion and improve the value of Indian lands. Crews built dams of many types on creeks, then sowed grass on the eroded areas from which the damming materials had been taken. They built roads and planted shelter-belts on federal lands. The steady income created an improved sense of self-worth for participants who used the funds to improve their lifestyles. Public Works Administration With grants from the [29] were employed by the CCC-ID.South Dakota reservations in Sioux The CCC often provided the only paid work in remote reservations. Enrollees had to be between the ages of 17 and 35. For example, during 1933 about half the male heads of households on the [28] The CCC operated an entirely separate division for members of federally recognized

Indian Division

The separate Indian Division was a major relief force for Native Americans. No women were ever enrolled though they were employed in supportive roles and also could join the she she she's [1].

A total of 200,000 African-Americans were enrolled; they generally served in segregated camps and received equal pay and housing. Black leaders lobbied to secure leadership roles.[27] Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes pressured Director Robert Fechner to appoint prominent African-Americans to supervisory positions such as education directors in the 143 segregated camps.


Approximately 55% of enrollees were from rural communities, a majority of which were non-farm; 45% came from urban areas.[26] Level of education for the enrollee averaged 3% illiterate, 38% less than eight years of school, 48% did not complete high school, 11% were high school graduates.[21] At the time of entry, 70% of enrollees were malnourished and poorly clothed. Few had work experience beyond occasional odd jobs. Peace was maintained by the threat of "dishonorable discharge". "This is a training station; we're going to leave morally and physically fit to lick 'Old Man Depression,'" boasted the newsletter, Happy Days, of a North Carolina camp.

The responses to this seven-month experimental conservation program were enthusiastic, and on 1 October 1933 Director Fechner was instructed to arrange for a second period of enrollment. By January 1934, 300,000 men were enrolled. In July 1934 this cap was increased by 50,000 to include men from midwest states that had been affected by drought. The temporary tent camps had also transitioned from tents to wooden barracks. An education program had been established emphasizing job training and literacy.[19]

  1. Structural improvements: bridges, fire lookout towers, service buildings
  2. Transportation: truck trails, minor roads, foot trails and airport landing fields
  3. Erosion control: check dams, terracing and vegetable covering
  4. Flood control: irrigation, drainage, dams, ditching, channel work, riprapping
  5. Forest culture: planting trees and shrubs, timber stand improvement, seed collection, nursery work
  6. Forest protection: fire prevention, fire pre-suppression, firefighting, insect and disease control
  7. Landscape and recreation: public camp and picnic ground development, lake and pond site clearing and development
  8. Range: stock driveways, elimination of predatory animals
  9. Wildlife: stream improvement, fish stocking, food and cover planting
  10. Miscellaneous: emergency work, surveys, mosquito control[25]

The CCC performed 300 possible types of work projects within ten approved general classifications:

Work classifications

Each CCC camp was located in the area of particular conservation work to be performed, and organized around a complement of up to 200 civilian enrollees in a designated numbered "company" unit. The CCC camp was a temporary community in itself, structured to have barracks (initially Army tents) for 50 enrollees each, officer/technical staff quarters, medical dispensary, mess hall, recreation hall, educational building, lavatory and showers, technical/administrative offices, tool room/blacksmith shop and motor pool garages. The company organization of each camp had a dual-authority supervisory staff: firstly, Department of War personnel or [24] Each section had an enrollee "senior leader" and "assistant leader" who were accountable for the men at work and in the barracks.


The typical CCC enrollee was a U.S. citizen, unmarried, unemployed male, 18–25 years of age. Normally his family was on local relief. Each enrollee volunteered and, upon passing a physical exam and/or a period of conditioning, was required to serve a minimum six-month period with the option to serve as many as four periods, or up to two years if employment outside the Corps was not possible. Enrollees worked 40 hours a week over five days, sometimes including Saturdays if poor weather dictated. In return they received $30 a month with a compulsory allotment $22–25 sent to a family dependant, as well as food, clothing, and medical care.[20] Following the second Bonus Army march on Washington D.C., President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 6129 (11 May 1933) to amend the CCC program, to include work opportunities for veterans. Veteran qualifications differed from the junior enrollee; one needed to be certified by the Veterans Administration by application. They could be any age, and married or single as long as they were in need of work. Veterans were generally assigned to entire veteran camps.[21] Enrollees were eligible for the following "rated" positions to help with camp administration: senior leader, mess steward, store keeper and two cooks; assistant leader, company clerk, assistant educational advisor and three second cooks. These men received additional pay ranging from $36 to $45 per month depending on their rating.


The legislation and mobilization of the program occurred quite rapidly. Roosevelt made his request to Congress on March 21, 1933; the legislation was submitted to Congress the same day; Congress passed it by voice vote on 31 March; Roosevelt signed it the same day, then issued an executive order on April 5 creating the agency, appointing its director (Fechner), and assigning War Department corps area commanders the task to commence enrollment. The first CCC soil erosion control camps was opened, in Clayton, Alabama.[17] By 1 July 1933 there were 1,463 working camps with 250,000 junior enrollees (18–25 years of age), 28,000 veterans, 14,000 American Indians, and 25,000 Locally Enrolled (or Experienced) Men (LEM).[18][19]

A blue-grey map of a road, covered with assorted lines
A CCC map of the planned route of a parkway in Texas, drafted in 1934. The Corps worked in numerous parks throughout the state during the early 1930s, constructing everything from benches to highways.

Early Years, 1933–1934


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