The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a federal project that had a significant presence in Arizona during the early 20th century. In addition to the employment of 41,000 unemployed Arizonans, the CCC's civic work projects left a lasting physical impression on Arizona's landscape.
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was one of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal programs to combat the Great Depression. The program ran 1933-1942. Its purposes were to provide jobs, training, and educational opportunities to young, unemployed men and to improve the natural resources of the country. The CCC built roads, fought forest fires, developed recreational areas, strung telephone lines, battled soil erosion, and planted trees. Nearly three million men participated in the program. Every state in the nation had CCC camps, with a total of 4,5000 camps during the duration of the program.
The young men in this program (known as enrollees or the "CCC boys") voluntarily enrolled for 6-month periods. They lived in camps of approximately 200 men, run by the U.S. Army. When they weren’t working, they participated in sports; took classes in the camp’s educational program; went to nearby towns for dances, religious services, and visits; wrote for the camp newspaper; and played checkers and ping-pong in the camp’s recreational hall.
Supervisors from federal and state agencies—such as the National Forest Service, Soil Conservation Service, State Park Service—oversaw the work projects. The boys worked 5 days a week and made $30 a month, of which $25 went home to help support their families.
The CCC worked all over Arizona, including the Grand Canyon and South Mountain Park in Phoenix. In southern Arizona, the CCC worked at Tucson Mountain Park, Colossal Cave, Chiricahua National Monument, and Coronado National Forest. They also worked on ranches throughout the area fighting soil erosion. Over 41,000 men from Arizona were enrolled, and more than 52,000 men served here, with an average of 31 camps a year operating. The total financial obligation within the state was more than 58 million dollars.
Purposes: Provide jobs to young men and improve the nations's natural resources.
Duration of program: 1933-1942
Total number of camps: 4,500
Number of Enrollees in U.S.: 3 million
Number of Enrollees from Arizona: 41,000
Monthly wage: $30 for enrollees; assistant leaders and leaders made $36 and $45; monthly money sent home to enrolle's family, $25
Total cost to U.S.: $3 billion
Total cost to Arizona: $58 million
Cohen, Stan. The tree army: a pictorial history of the Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942. Missoula, Mont.: Pictorial Histories Pub. Co., 1980.
Audretsch, Robert W and Sharon Hunt. The Civilian Conservation Corps in Arizona. Charleston, South Carolina : Arcadia Publishing, 2014.
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