The Regional Review

Volume V - Nos. 2 & 3

August-September, 1940

The Regional Review

Vol. V August-September, 1940 Nos. 2 & 3


The admirable achievement of the Civilian Conservation Corps in improving the general physical standard of the vast majority of the 2,300,000 youths who have spent six months or longer in its park and forest camps (see page 24) merits within itself a generous measure of public commendation.

There is no need for recourse to the expansive generalities of wishful rhetoric. It is necessary to consider only the great body of coldly impersonal statistics amassed over a seven-year period by the staff of the Surgeon General of the Army. The official figures provide a precise mathematical measure of the national dividends in adolescent health. Their social and economic implications are, of course, of far-reaching and utmost significance.

The tabulations show clearly what the Corps has done for the health of youth, but they are not concerned with some of the immeasurably valuable contributions which have been made to the self-confidence, the ability to perform useful work, the many intangible qualities of balanced development that every young American is entitled to receive. Nor is the report concerned with the contributions which the youths themselves have made to the nation.

Some of the latter are described in the annual report which the National Park Service has just transmitted to the Corps. In keeping with the issues which now claim the first attention of the country, it summarizes CCC operations in the nation's parks as a three-fold contribution to national defense.

"Park work first accomplishes the protection and conservation of forest, water, and other important natural resources present in these area," said the report. "Second, it develops these areas for the types of outdoor recreation chiefly valuable for building up and maintaining the physical well-being and morale of the American people. Finally, through its park work, the Corps finds extensive opportunities for training CCC men not only in the habits of work and orderly living, but also in basic skills of many different trades and professions."

The 310 CCC camps working in national, state, and local parks and allied recreational areas during the 1940 fiscal year provided additional facilities for millions of American citizens. Since the inception of the CCC in 1933, however, there has been a total of 198 camps established in 94 national park and monument areas, and 697 camps in 881 state, county, and metropolitan parks.

Their total physical contributions may be measured mathematically by reference to great record books citing aggregate quantities of linear feet of this, cubic yards of that, and miles of another thing. The different types of work performed total 109 and range from the control of tree diseases to the rescue of lost persons. Yet these serried figures, like those of the Surgeon General, calculate only the visible, physical achievements.

Statistical data accumulated so painstakingly over the years since 1933 are needful and desirable. But they cannot measure the CCC. The method would be equivalent to describing a home as a house having rooms in it. The record of the CCC is yet to be written.


Human to a fault, The Review beams and shifts shyly from foot to foot when a kindly correspondent sends in a pleasant word. That agreeable experience came recently when Ormond S. Danford, instructor in the Fenton (Michigan) High School, graciously informed us:

"The Regional Review is making history real to us. Our greatest ambition is to finance some day a class tour of the eastern historical monuments."

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Date: 04-Jul-2002