(CCC), established in 1933 by the
U.S. Congress as a measure of the New Deal program. The CCC provided work and vocational
training for unemployed single young men through conserving and developing the country's
natural resources. At its peak in 1935, the organization had more than 500,000 members in
over 2,600 camps. These were usually operated by the War Dept., but the men were not
subject to military control. In 1939 the CCC was made part of the Federal Security Agency.
Beginning in 1940, greater emphasis was placed on projects aiding national defense.
Against President Franklin D. Roosevelt's request, Congress abolished the CCC in 1942.
The CCC, the first Franklin Delano Roosevelt New Deal project, was
instituted on March 21, 1933 when the president asked Congress for unemployment relief.
The year following FDR's election, 1933, was also the year of America's highest
unemployment rate: 24.9 percent.
At that time, America was experiencing
the first stages of the Great Depression. Banks closed down, unemployment rates soared,
and financial needs were great. The CCC brought about significant changes within American
society, and alleviated much of the country's unemployment.
During this time of high unemployment
and uncertainty, the CCC played a dual role in America. It encouraged the nurturing of the
environment and it helped the economy. Throughout the duration of the CCC program, 2.5
million out-of-work, physically fit, unmarried, young men aged 18 to 25 found employment.
These workers received a weekly $30 salary, but were obligated by contract to send $25 to
their families in order to ensure the workers' dependents would be provided for.
Members of the CCC planted trees to
encourage reforestation and fought tree diseases. They also pruned and harvested trees for
state, municipal, and private forests. The men took part in various recreation projects,
such as beautifying picnic, camping, and park areas. Their efforts resulted in promoting
three times the number of visitors to state parks in 1936.
To help the economy, CCC workers
across the country constructed 41,000 bridges and built 44,475 buildings. They also
constructed 3,982,000 dams as a form of erosion control, and devoted full time to soil
conservation work on 4 million acres in 31 states. The men made shelter belts, fire lanes,
trails, and rural roads
The Appalachian Trail and the Pacific
Crest Trail are examples of some CCC projects that are still around today. The Appalachian
Trail is a hiking trail about 2,159 miles long which was started in 1937. It runs from
Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain, Georgia. The Pacific Crest Trail is another similar
CCC project that runs through California.
In addition, the CCC built thousands
of campsites in various parks which are still in use. It also built the Blue Ridge
Parkway, a highway which runs from Virginia to Tennessee. These projects were completed in
association with other crews which were part of the New Deal, such as the Public Works
Administration (PWA) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
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