The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

 

Learn and Explore

"In about anything they needed as extra manpower, they always relied on the CCC…. I mean, you can just see the results. I don’t think they would have a lot of things today if they hadn’t had the CCC working on these, you know a lot of this rock cribbing and river work and the trail work and just things like that. They got a lot done. It makes the park…I’ll say."
-Fred Brueck, Former Zion and Bryce National Park Ranger 1934-1941 and Zion National Park Chief Ranger 1953-1973, interviewed September 18th, 1989.

Introduction

The Emergency Conservation Work Agency was established on April 5, 1933, just one month into Franklin D. Roosevelt's Presidency. The ECW program, commonly known as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), was one of the most successful programs of President Roosevelt’s New Deal policies.

 
This image from the January 1938 Narrative Report details road work leading up to Mt. Carmel Tunnel
ZION 15455: CCC Narrative Reports describe general camp life and often include images of work in progress. This image from the January 1938 Narrative Report details road work leading up to the Mount Carmel Tunnel. Today, millions of visitors travel over this switchback on their journey through Zion National Park.
 
Two images: Left is the cover of a handbook with green writing "Your CCC handbook for enrollees" and the right is a red and green triangle patch that says US CCC with a pine tree.
Left image, ZION 7088: "Your CCC Handbook for Enrollees" was supplied to every enrollee and contained information about the CCC program, expectations, camp life, and other useful topics. Included on the final pages is the CCC Oath of Enrollment.

Right image, ZION 10660: The men of the CCC wore military-like uniforms in either denim or olive green. This shoulder patch insignia belonged to Norman Pierce Crawford, who served in the CCC at Zion.

New Deal programs strove to stimulate the economy during the difficult times of the Great Depression. The purpose of the CCC was to implement new conservation projects and to provide financial relief to unemployed young men and their families. CCC enrollees traveled across federal and state lands to complete a wide range of projects including, but not limited to, road construction, flood and erosion control, firefighting, and planting millions of trees. In addition to monetary compensation, participants received hands-on training and education. This assisted them in finding permanent employment or preparing them to enter the military. Overall, more than 3 million young men participated in the program throughout its nine-year existence.

As for the name, due to the popularity and dominating use of the term CCC by the press and public, the ECW was officially renamed the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1937.

 
The Civilian Conservation Corps, Safety Regulations provides "…in one small compact volume, safety instructions and information to cover practically all phases of Civilian Conservation Corps work which can be readily used by all administrative personnel."
ZION 12177: The Civilian Conservation Corps, Safety Regulations is a 177-page book that provides "…in one small compact volume, safety instructions and information to cover practically all phases of Civilian Conservation Corps work which can be readily used by all administrative personnel." This copy was marked as received in October of 1938 by Company 962, which was located in Zion National Park at Camp NP-4, Bridge Mountain.
 

Sources used on our CCC webpages are collected in this Reference Document (PDF).

To learn more about oral history projects, including interviews collected during a reunion of Zion CCC enrollees in 1989, check out the Oral History at Zion page.

For further information on the museum and archive program, check out the Zion Human History Museum.

For more CCC images, please explore the Civilian Conservation Corps Museum Collection on the Digital Archive NPGallery.

 

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    Last updated: December 12, 2021

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