The CCC and State Parks
BY JAMES J. McENTEE,
Civilian Conservation Corps.
. . . The work of the Corps in State park
conservation and development has been one of the most widespread and far
reaching in effect of all its projects in the last seven years.
Moreover, this particular activity has brought a most active and
encouraging response from both park administering agencies and the
I think that the CCC can lay claim, without risking
contradiction, to being responsible for a very large share in the
increase in State park acreage of practically 100 per cent since 1933.
Seven years ago this acreage totaled 965,057, exclusive of, the
Adirondack and Catskill State Forest Preserves of 2,345,634 acres in New
York. As of June 30, 1939, the last date for which definite figures are
available, the total State park acreage had increased to 1,918,863,
exclusive of the Adirondack and Catskill areas. In the last seven years
the number of State park areas has grown to some 1,400, representing an
increase of about 580 areas in 45 States. There can be very little
question that this growth has been due to the availability of Federal
aid for planning and development through CCC funds and manpower.
The spread of this work throughout the country has
been one of its best features. Last year, for example, we cooperated,
through the National Park Service, with 109 different State, county and
metropolitan park administering agencies, operating 237 camps on 423
areas to taling 1,040,342 acres. What these operations have meant to
people in all parts of the United States can be readily understood. In
the first place, of course, the CCC enrollees thus engaged, and the
members of their families have been helped materially and morally by
these projects. Secondly, the park areas have been conserved, protected
and developed for public use. Thirdly, thousands of people in need of
such means of outdoor recreation have been able to use areas and
facilities which, were it not for the CCC, would not have been made
available for years to come, if, indeed, ever at all. . .
As the CCC begins its eighth year, I want to call
attention to one of the most significant although little publicized
results of the CCC program. I refer to the awakened public interest in
conservation matters so apparent throughout the country. Today the
public has a better conception of conservation as a national problem.
This is due in part, to the fact that for the last seven years hundreds
of thousands of young men have been learning about conservation first
hand and passing the word back home. . . This increased interest in
conservation matters is a good sign for the future. It represents at
least an indication that the present generation plans to keep up the
good work that has been done in recent years in the development and
protection of our natural resources wealth. ---From an address delivered
May 16 before the National Conference on State Parks in session at
Spring Mill State Park, Indiana.