Civilian Conservation Corps

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The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a public work relief program in the United States for unemployed men age 18-25, providing unskilled manual labor related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state and local governments from 1933 to 1942. As part of the New Deal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR), the CCC was designed to provide relief for young men in relief families who had a very hard time finding jobs during the Great Depression while implementing a general natural resource conservation program on public lands in every state and territory. Maximum enrollment reached 300,000 and in nine years some 2.5 million young men participated. The U.S. Army was in charge of operations, but there was no military training nor uniforms.

The CCC became the most popular New Deal program among the public.[1] Principal benefits of an individual’s enrollment in the CCC included improved physical condition, better morale, and increased employability. Of their pay of $30 a month, $25 went to their parents.[2] 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.[3]

During the time of the CCC, volunteers planted nearly 3 billion trees to help reforest America, constructed more than 800 parks nationwide that would become the start of most state parks, developed forest fire fighting methods, a network of thousands of miles of public roadways, and constructed buildings connecting the nation's public lands.[4]

The CCC also operated separate programs for veterans and Indians.

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 the war industruies booming and the draft in operation, there was no more need and Congress voted to close the program down.[6]

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