Saturday, May 19, 2012

An Idea Whose Time has Returned

Almost everywhere I go hiking or backpacking or camping in our National Parks, National Forests, or State Parks I generally encounter the work of the old Civilian Conservation Corps. Everyone who enjoys our wild and rural lands tends to know what the CCC was. But a lot of folk don't know.

The CCC was implemented by the Franklin Roosevelt administration to provide work for the vast numbers of unemployed men in the USA during the Great Depression. And it was the kind of work that would create infrastructure for our parklands that would last, quite frankly, for many, many decades. It has now been almost 100 years since the start of work by those CCC boys and the trails and walls and ponds and shelters and buildings that they constructed are still with us and still in use.

It would  be nice to see the CCC reconstituted and people put to work again doing the kinds of things that were done in those desperate years of the 1930s and early 40s. It was socialism at its finest and it worked well for all. And this is why it will likely not be put into operation again; not as long as corporate interests run our nation. But maybe some day.

Here are some photographs of a building constructed in Florida by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It's still in use and can be seen in O'Leno State Park.


Think of the dances!
The kind of finishing touches only folk in the CCC thought about.


Kent Tankersley said...

I've always had high regard for the CCC, maybe because my father worked in the corps and always talked so highly of it. One of his brothers was also in the CCC and worked with the civil engineer who laid out the route for the road up Tatter Patch -- and it's still in great shape. Like you say, they did a lot of good work, one of the New Deal's biggest success stories.

HemlockMan said...

One of the main reasons it worked out so well is because they had such fine engineers working for the CCC. I assume they were mainly guys who were just out of college and couldn't find work...or maybe they were idealistic fellows who just wanted to contribute to a great outfit.

Hardly a month goes by when I don't hike on a trail, drive a road, or visit a structure built by the CCC.

Michele said...

I think they could easily do something like this again. One of the hardest hit sectors of the economy since the fall of 2008 has been housing, so there are tons of fine unemployed architects, builders, construction workers, etc.

HemlockMan said...

They could and they should. But they won't.

For a while, back in the 1970s there was something called the YCC--Youth Conservation Corps. They didn't pay the kids, mainly teens, who took part. But they sent them off to cool places to work in parks and wild lands and taught them how to use tools and learn a little engineering. I applied...I think it was my junior year of high school...but it was really tough to get in. I wasn't offered a position.

Not sure if they still have that.